Archive for June, 2006

22) Fewer Postings to the Blog

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

There will be less frequent postings through the summer as the process of negotiations slows down. You are probably asking yourself, “How could it get slower?” If key people on either side are on vacation, we will not meet. Or you may be telling yourself, “Will has a bad attitude”. My wife says that often.

Actually my attitude is positive. We could settle all four contracts in one long negotiations session, if a lot of stuff fell off the table and if the money were about what other NJ community colleges are getting. Right now the College still does

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not know how much money the State will contribute. Apparently the legislators are still negotiating with themselves about how to get the funds and how these funds are to be distributed. The College is hesitant to negotiate money seriously until the financial picture is clearer.

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Part of this process requires trust. I follow Ronny R’s philosophy, “Trust, but verify”. We have a good Board of Trustees that I trust. However, we are beginning to form a Negotiations Action Squad in case the process really breaks down and we lose trust. Will Parsons, Coordinator for the United Negotiations Team

21) TLC Is UP , June 26

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

The negotiating teams for the union and the Board met June 26 in J 210 to discuss the working conditions for the faculty, TLC (Teachers, Librarians, and Counselors). The last time that contract was on the table was April 7. It was the ACCCEA’s turn to respond to the Board’s proposals. Members of the Unity Negotiations Team present were Michelle Bevan, Phil Cragg, Claire Farnum, Nick Ganaway, Dennis Huey, Dom Nigro, Will Parsons, Marsha Patrick, Jim Sacchinelli, John Stratton, and Jim Usilton. Karen Beckman, Cindy DeFalco, and Joe Rossi sat on the other side of the table.

Negotiations were scheduled for 2:00. The Unity Team met at 1:30 to review the proposals and to talk about where the negotiations

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process is headed. The Board’s team came in and Dom went over our proposals.

It usually takes 20 or 30 minutes for one side to make a presentation. Many years ago there were discussions during the proposals and members of the teams would get involved. Decades ago, on more than one occasion, Ken Thorp, personnel director, supported the union position and Don Hurff, union vice president, supported the Board’s position. I remember suggesting that Don sit on the other side of the table. Because of the size of the Unity Team and the personality and level of experience of the people involved, there is not much discussion at the table. There is some “acting out” on both sides, but events at the table now are more orderly and less interesting.

Usually not much happens “at the table”. The decisions are made during caucus or during committee meetings. One problem with public discussion

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like what we do in negotiations or what nations do or what our Board does is that there is not

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much room for flexibility or creativity. Once something is on the table, it is on the table. Joe Rossi likes to say his proposal is a “package”, “You either take the whole package or nothing”. There is nothing, however, to prevent side A from saying, “We will accept this, but not that”. And there is nothing that says side B has to agree. Once one part of a package is presented, however, the other side knows it can get it eventually.

I was present for much of two of the three caucuses, but because of other College responsibilities. I missed the presentations. It is safe to say, that there was some movement but that we will not have an agreement before the contract runs out tomorrow June 30. Will Parsons, Unity Negotiations Team Coordinator

19) Negotiation June 13 Support Staff and Culinar

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

The Unity Negotiations Team and Board representatives met to negotiate terms and conditions of employment at 11:30 on June 13 in J 202. Representing the Team were Michelle Bevan, Phil Cragg, Claire Farnum, Mitch Mischlich, Dom Nigro, Will Parsons, Marsha Patrick, Ed Perkins, Rhonda Petruzzi, Jim Usilton, and Penny Wells. Board representatives were Karen Beckman, Cindy DeFalco, and Joe Rossi.

Today it was the Board’s turn to respond to proposed changes in the SSAACCC’s labor contract. Joe Rossi seemed more focused today with fewer apparent mood swings. A caucus followed the Board’s response. During the caucus, Support Staff discussed the Board’s proposal. The Unity Team felt we were making some movement toward settlement, but that the rate is still on “SLOW”. The Team did not have time to finish discussing the Board’s SSAACCC proposal because some support staff team members had to leave at 3:00.

The team then switched to the Academy of Culinary Arts contract. At 3:45 Joe Rossi and Cindy DeFalco returned to react to contract issues. Joe keeps saying that he needs the culinary faculty to be more flexible in meeting the needs of the students, but he cannot show where this has ever been a problem. When asked for the business plan or model that the requested changes are based on, Joe says that it is “A work in progress”. When asked, “If Culinary switched to a forty or thirty-five hour fixed work week, will there be overtime pay?”, Joe’s response was, “Make a proposal.” Three courses that were in that Culinary Department have been moved to the Hospitality Management program. Hospitality Management has one faculty member. The Culinary Faculty want to know who will teach these courses. Joe’s response is, “Trust us. Management knows what it is doing”. My own opinion is that the Culinary Management has nothing but a vague idea about what it is doing. It appears to be “winging it” and with no input from the faculty who are to be teaching the courses.

Joe Rossi’s Position Paper for his doctorate degree was about “win-win” or “mutual gains bargaining”.

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What could be done is for Culinary management and labor to sit together informally to discuss problems and solutions and to work on a common vision for what the Culinary Academy is to become. Ideally that is what happens in mutual gains bargaining. It still could be done. It is just good management.

The next negotiations session is June 22, Thursday, 11:30, room in J TBA. The SSAACCC contract is the topic. We hope there will be time also to discuss the ACCCOSAP contract. Following that on Monday, June 26, at 1:30 there will be strategic planning by the team before negotiations at 2:00. the TLC contract will be the topic of negotiations. Will Parsons, Coordinator for the Unity Negotiations Team of the ACCCEA.

17) Proposed Changes in Culinary Contract

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

The Culinary contract was the topic for discussion today at negotiations. The Unity Negotiations Team met at 2:30 June 1 in J 202. Representing the four bargaining units were: Michelle Bevan, Phil Cragg, Renee DeAngleo, Dan Matt, Will Parsons, Marsha Patrick, Jim Sacchinelli, Jim Usilton, Penny Wells, and Dom Nigro. Karen Beckman, Cindy DeFalco, and Joe Rossi were on the other side of the table representing the Board. Joe handed out copies of proposed changes in the culinary faculty’s contract and went over the changes. After Joe, Cindy, and Karen left, the reaction of the team was similar to what happened after Joe’s proposed changes to the support staff contract. “What the Hell is going on?” “Where did this stuff come from?” For instance the proposal calls for a thirty percent increase in teaching time with no increase in salary. In culinary, there are three supervisors for thirteen culinary faculty. That would never be allowed in industry. That area is top heavy. These supervisors

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are scheduled for a 17% “adjustment” in salary and perhaps more to go with title changes. But, there is no money for the people that actually do the work and bring in the money. The team went through the proposed changes, trying to find items they could say “yes” to, but there weren’t many. After an hour of group therapy and contract analysis, the Team brought the Board’s representatives back to the table and went over the Board’s proposal.

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Dom explained that the culinary faculty have been very flexible in scheduling and in teaching noncredit courses and will continue to be flexible. He also explained that

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we might be able to agree to more if Joe could present the vision the administration has for the Culinary Academy and the business model these changes are based on. Joe’s response was, “We have to meet the needs of the students and contain costs.” This session ended at 5:00. The next negotiations session is scheduled for June 8, Thursday, 2:30 with ACCCOSAP, middle managers. Will Parsons, Unity Negotiations Team Coordinator