Contract negotiations resumed on Wednesday, January 9, as AAFMCC met with the state-appointed mediator for the first time. During the session, which lasted from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., the mediator spent time individually consulting with AAFMCC and The College in order to learn about what has ensued at the bargaining table at the last few sessions and better understand the issues that have not yet resolved.
The Good News
It’s looking like The College is willing to grant AAFMCC our request for campus-wide seniority for online teaching. We did not thoroughly discuss the details or contract language that will reflect this change, but we hope to do so during our upcoming sessions.
The Bad News
The College is still unwilling to accept our requests for increased PTO and our proposal for course cancellation stipends (or our alternative Section 4 proposals for improving assignment and reassignment procedures).
The College is also maintaining its latest salary proposal, which is hardly competitive with current adjunct compensation at comparable community colleges (see November 30 blog post for more information about The College’s salary proposal).
Based on our interactions with The College at the first mediation session, AAFMCC is worried that that The College is using mediation as a tactic to make AAFMCC settle for what The College has offered us us.
Although it is the mediator’s goal to work with each party to persuade them to resolve their differences and enter into a mutually acceptable agreement, a mediator’s recommendations are non-binding, and ultimately, a mediator has no authority to compel a settlement.
If we are unable to solve our issues during mediation, the next step in the process is fact finding: a formal procedure where a state-appointed fact finder will conduct a hearing relating to all of the facts in dispute. According to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC), “the value of fact finding is that after a formal hearing, the parties receive an objective and professional evaluation of their bargaining positions.” Much like during mediation, the fact finder’s report is not binding, and the parties may accept the recommendations in whole or in part.
If a fact-finding hearing doesn’t facilitate an agreement between both parties, then the final step is arbitration. As published by MERC, “The majority decision of the arbitration panel is binding on the parties and enforceable in circuit court, if the conclusions are supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the overall record.”
This means that AAFMCC could spend several more months attempting to pass our proposals and several more months working without a contract or a raise without any guarantee that the arbitration panel will side in our favor.
Mediation and fact finding are both lengthy processes that must occur before arbitration. Ideally, mediation would facilitate the necessary collaboration and communication to settle our disputes, but since The College has indicated that they do not intend to move on the unresolved issues or increase their compensation package, it appears that The College is just going through the motions to either “starve us out” or push the process forward to arbitration in hopes that the arbitration panel will make a final decision that is favorable to The College.
MCC adjuncts deserve more than what The College is offering us. MCC needs to make it a financial priority to compensate adjuncts competitive wages that reflect the quality instruction that we provide to students.
AAFMCC is dedicated to upholding our mission:
The AAFMCC Bargaining Team needs to keep fighting.
AAFMCC members need to keep fighting, too.
We are crucial to this institution, and we can not settle for wages and working conditions that minimize our value!
We are the 76%, and we deserve better!
Our second mediation session is scheduled for February 14. Stay tuned for future updates.
The Bad News
On November 8 (prior to our last two bargaining sessions), The College requested a mediator.
As for the other 4 remaining unresolved issues, the College has informed us that they “are not moving” on our other requests.
Contract negotiations will reconvene in January, and a mediator will be joining us at the bargaining table.
Unresolved Issue #1: Paid Time Off
Unresolved Issue #2: Course Assignment, Cancellation, and Reassignment Processes (4.5, 4.10, and 4.11)
Unresolved Issue #3: College-Wide Seniority for Online Teaching
Unresolved Issue #4: Salary (Section 15)
At our last bargaining session on Tuesday, November 27, AAFMCC presented The College with a proposal package that targeted the 6 major contract issues that we still need to resolve:
The Good News: 2 Wins at the Table
After much discussion, collaboration, and compromise, we were able to come to an agreement on 2 of these 6 issues: Compensation for Committee Work and EAT.
Our next post will provide updates about the other 4 unresolved issues, so check back soon!
Win #1: Compensation for Committee Work
Highlights of Changes
Win #2: Engineering and Advanced Technology (EAT) Availability and Seniority Procedures (4.3)
Highlights of Changes
We realize that these changes do not reflect the totality of what we were hoping to accomplish for EAT faculty, but this compromise shows significant progress from The College’s initial position of “No Change” on the EAT issue.
Thank you to all the members who supported this cause and helped to facilitate this workable solution.
On Friday, AAFMCC--joined by AFT Michigan President David Hecker--spent a full day bargaining with The College.
We made some progress with regard to committee compensation, seniority issues, and MCC tuition assistance for our spouses and dependents. We also saw some slight movement on salary.
The College recognized the need for more transparency and further conversation in order to better address the EAT issue, and we are looking forward to what administration brings to the table on this issue at the next bargaining session.
Unlike previous bargaining sessions up to this point, Friday’s session was rich with several productive conversations and opportunities for problem solving. Even though we still have several major issues that we need to resolve as we move forward, we hope that Friday’s session paved the way for more collaboration and compromise at the bargaining table.
The College informed us that they hope to finish up negotiations in time for the December 19 Board of Trustees’ meeting and agreed to meet with us for another bargaining session on Tuesday, November 27 (more info coming soon).
Thank you to all of our members who showed up in solidarity at Friday’s session. Your presence directly impacts what happens at the table, and we must continue to have a strong presence in order to facilitate positive change for MCC adjunct faculty.
At yesterday's 4-hour bargaining session, Macomb "countered" AAFMCC's most current salary proposal by giving us the same offer that we received on Sept. 11:
When Denise Williams, MCC's VP of Human Resources and Lead Negotiator for The College, presented us with this salary proposal, this is what she had to say:
All of my cards are on the table...We are very close to our last best offer."
A $48 per-credit-hour raise over the course of three years is no "best offer."
In addition to this current salary proposal, AAFMCC is also discouraged by how The College has rejected the majority of our other proposals in one of the following ways:
1. by completely dismissing them
2. by accepting selective portions of them (and dismissing the rest)
3. by agreeing to a few minor changes
The College would rather maintain the current contract language rather than engage in productive conversations and work with AAFMCC to find mutually-beneficial solutions to the many, serious problems that we have brought to their attention at the table.
The College informed us that they didn't anticipate making any major changes to the contract during negotiations, and even after acknowledging that we "did a really good job" of presenting our proposals and the problems that need to be addressed in our contract, The College has no interest in making the large-scale changes that our contract so desperately needs.
That The College is unwilling to put in the work to make MCC a better place for the majority of their employees demonstrates, once again, that WE are not a priority.
Come see for yourself.
Join us at the bargaining table on Friday, Oct. 5.
Center Campus, P-128
The College rejected 3 of our 5 Benefits Proposals:
The College countered 1 of our 5 Benefits Proposals:
The College accepted a portion of 1 of our 5 Benefits Proposals:
Finally, The College also rejected our Pay Rates proposal to add additional steps to our salary schedule.
The Problem with our 4-Step Salary Schedule
MCC adjuncts deserve a respectable living wage. We, like the other bargaining units, also deserve a multiple-step salary schedule that rewards our years of service.
We are worth more than $48.
We are worth more than 4 steps.
June 11—Session #8
June 23—Session #9
July 25—Session # 10
July 30—Session #11
As of June 4th, we’ve had 7 bargaining sessions with the college (and #8 is scheduled for June 10th). At the majority of our first few sessions, we presented a dozen or so proposals for Section 4 (Selection of Adjunct Teachers). Section 4 is really the heart of the contract as it outlines all the stuff about availability, course assignment offers, course cancellation, and reassignment procedures.
Our Section 4 proposals include the following goals:
So far, the college has been empathetic and recognizes that there are many problems that they need to address, but they haven’t offered any solutions (or been very receptive to the ones that we’ve offered in our proposals).
We have also presented several proposals for Section 13 (Service Committee). We suggested that the college commits to monthly meetings with AAFMCC so that we can regularly communicate and address our members’ issues and concerns. As of now, it looks as though the College will accept these proposals. This is good news.
At our last session, we began presenting our Section 3 (Board of Trustees Relationship) proposals. We'll share more info about this soon.
Today, AAFMCC's BT sat down with MCC's BT for the first time in order to discuss the ground rules and the schedule for contract negotiations.
The college informed us that they are unable to meet with us on the times/days that we are available in April (and wouldn't agree to granting us paid release time from our classes), so our first official bargaining session is scheduled for May 1.
Although bargaining is once again a bit delayed, May 1 is International Workers' Day or May Day, and what better way to celebrate the working class than by kicking off bargaining!
We submitted our letter of intent to bargain on January 5th, and we have spent almost two months trying to get the college to commit to a date for an introductory meeting between the two bargaining teams.
Today, the college has finally scheduled our meet and greet for April 3.
We hoped to start sooner, but at least we now have something on the bargaining calendar.