Rio Hondo College Faculty Association

December 2009

We had our second negotiations meeting on Friday, November 20th. Given that there were several pressing issues, ones that needed some resolution quickly, the Association started by presenting a proposed tentative agreement.  Included was a proposal to adopt the 2010-2011 schedule (with things pretty much the same as this current school year). We also proposed resolution for the 1.67% load factor. These two items were things that the District wanted.

For our part, we asked to once and for all settle the age of retirement issue by adopting the policy originally agreed to about five years ago (for people to be able to receive lifetime medical benefits so long as they had 15 years of service and without having to be 62). We also asked for retirement incentives, for the District to pay the total administrative costs for PayFlex, and to adopt revisions for the hourly workloads for counselors, librarians, and coordinators.

The District then took a two hour (yes, two hour) caucus and came back with a rejection of all our requests. [They did buy lunch however - Subway]. Perhaps the most entertaining was the rejection of the proposal for the District to pay the entire administrative fee for PayFlex, the health savings account. Last year, the District agreed to pay the administrative fee for the program, but the fee increased by $6 per year. We simply asked them to pick up the difference so that those enrolled in the plan would not be charged $0.60 (60 cents) per pay period. The District refused. Assuming that 50 people enroll, the District in essence rejected a $300 a year cost proposal. The Association has decided to be a little less sarcastic and biting in these updates, so please insert your own remark here __________ (hint: try a reference to the $1,800 per year increase in the president’s car allowance that was just granted).

The District did make a counter offer to the age of retirement issue, one that was so ridiculous that we rejected it.  We do not believe we should settle for anything less than what was agreed to several years ago.  We are going to take one last stab at getting this settled amicably during our next negotiations meeting. If that doesn’t work, we will seek redress using other channels. Also, the District outright rejected retirement incentives.

Finally, the District refused to budge on the counselor workload issue. Currently, the counselors see students for about 32 hours per week plus have to be on campus for 5 hours of “preparation and followup”. We proposed changing the 5 hours to reflect what the counselors actually do during these non-student contact hours. These include a whole range of tasks such as:

“writing letters of recommendation for students, researching transfer requirements for individual student needs, assisting students and making referrals to other student services, collaborating with faculty in selected academic disciplines as needed, collaborating with the campus community (faculty, classified, management and confidential, and the Board) in order to receive feedback and to give input regarding the functions of Counseling and Student Services, assisting students with other campus resources, reviewing counseling material and data related to improving the delivery of services at Rio Hondo College and keeping up to date with current counseling practices, assisting remote students via phone and online communication with various student needs as appropriate, reviewing counseling curriculum and researching material for possible expansion and additions to Counseling Department course offerings, preparing documents and/or reports required by the department and/or students served, conferring with other campus colleagues as needed regarding a student's specific need or concern, meeting and conferring with students on a walk-in basis, and reading and reviewing appropriate materials obtained at professional conferences (in order to be current w/latest changes or additions in requirements)”

We asked that the counselors be treated with the same respect as everyone else on campus and be allowed to do this work off campus if they so choose.  The District said that they did not want to revisit this issue.

To summarize, the District was pretty happy with the components of the proposal that suited them, but were unwilling to accept any of our proposals.  Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 4th. We hope to make some progress towards an agreement at that time.

For previous negotiations updates, click here.