Rio Hondo College Faculty Association
Negotiations got under way for two and a half hours on Thursday, November 12th. The Association team was disappointed a bit by the relative lack of preparation on the part of the District. We showed up with a six-page document, listing our common interests, providing details about what we were requesting, and giving ample backup material. The District did not even bother to supply copies of their forty-word (that included the fifteen or so words of their title) proposal to members of our team. They also showed up fifteen minutes late and had to be called back from a thirty-minute break during the session.
Nonetheless, the District felt no hesitation in pleading that they needed to have the calendar issue settled immediately. They had proposed some significant changes to the summer schedule a few months ago, ones that had been met with some concern by the Academic Senate. However, the District informed us at the negotiations meeting that they would simply go back to the old format (with two five-week sessions). When we asked to see the new proposal, they did not even have one prepared. We decided to hold off on a decision until our next meeting on November 20th.
The District asked for a few things. First, they wanted clarification of the various roles the District and Association would play in the peer review process. There was not much elaboration, but this appears to be an issue that can be resolved rather quickly. The other major concern they had was with sabbaticals. They believe that being required to offer five per year could result in less-than-acceptable quality applications. We will get more clarification at the next meeting.
The Association brought up several issues, many of them items that had slipped through the cracks or required clarification. For example, we asked that hourly employees (such as counselors working overload) be given sick leave like all other faculty members. We also proposed clarification for librarian and counselor work loads, and the age of retirement for lifetime medical benefits issue.
Part of our proposal included a request for a 0.78% raise for the 2009-2010 school year to be deferred until a time when the District has funds available. This was based upon calculation of the president’s raise that he received for this year. We believe that equity dictates that we be given a raise as well.
Although we ran out of time before we could propose a few items, they were included in the printed proposal we gave to the District, so can be discussed here. One important provision is to give retirement incentives. We believe this will free up funds for more classes to be offered to students. Perhaps the most important proposal is for binding arbitration.
A discussion of these issues and others will take place at out next Association meeting, scheduled for Thursday, November 19th.