Archive for February, 2007

59) Take Down the “Settle Now” Signs

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

The Unity Negotiations Team met with Joe Rossi Tuesday February 27 at 5:00 pm in the President’s

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Conference room. The week before, the representatives of the four bargaining units went over the proposed contracts looking for errors and omission. There were a few small problems. Members of each unit and Don Nigro worked with Joe to straighten out the wording. Three of the contacts were signed Tuesday evening. The other unit asked for more time to discuss an item. That contact probably has been signed by now. The next step is for each unit to ratify the contract and for the Board to ratify the contract. Until that happens nothing is official. Each unit should hold a ratification meeting soon. I know you would like to know the details, but because some items need explanation, hold your questions until the meeting. Will Parsons,

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Coordinator for the ACCCEA Unity Negotiations Bargaining Team

In Unity there is strength.

58) Good News

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

The administration’s negotiations team, Joe Rossi, met with representatives of the ACCCEA’S four bargaining units 12:00 pm Tuesday February 20 in the Board Room at ACCC Mays Landing campus. After a few hours of negotiations, the four bargaining units made a “handshake” agreement with the College.

There is still significant work to be done. Nothing is official until the members of each unit ratify their contract and the Board members ratify their contract. This week each team will go over their understanding of what they have agreed to.

Next Tuesday February 27 at 5:00 pm, the Unity Negotiations Team will meet in the Board Room and compare their understanding of the agreements with Joe’s understanding. If the two forms of the contract coincide, then Joe Rossi and a bargaining unit representative will sign the agreement for that unit. The process is not over, however. There still could be problems Tuesday

If there are no problems and both sides sign, each contract will be presented to the membership for approval as soon as possible. Details of the contracts are not being released because some of the issues need explanation. At the bargaining unit meeting, members will have a chance to ask questions. If at the bargaining unit meeting people feel they understand the agreement and want to vote on it, there may be a vote. Or the ratification meeting may be held soon after that.

This is the best Negotiations Team the ACCC Education Association has ever had. There were no weak links. Everyone did a great job. It is a four year contract, but we are more than halfway through the first year. Negotiations start again in three years. There are a few of us that may not be here for that one. There are some young people at the Table, however, who have the skills to carry on. In addition, I know

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some of you have a better idea of what negotiations is like and how important it is. If you would like to be part of the Team next time, let your leadership know. Get involved. The payoff for me is feeling productive, helping others and sometimes having fun.

Will Parsons, Coordinator for the Unity Negotiations Team

57) On and on and on and on…

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

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he ACCCEA Unity Negotiation Team met with the administrative representatives for labor negotiations February 13 at 12:00 pm in the Board room on the Mays Landing campus. Negotiations ended at 9:00 pm. Both sides are very close to settlement. Both sides were close to settlement weeks ago. There are no major issues left. The reason we are not settling is that when Joe Rossi, Board negotiator, agrees to an item, he takes away another item. He says, “OK,

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I’ll agree to that, but it will cost you.” And he takes away something else. So, now there is another item on the table and the process goes

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on and on and on. Even though the major issues have been agreed upon, this could still go on for months. The ACCC Education Association has a table at the Gala. Get creative. Send me your suggestions. Will Parsons, Coordinator for the Unity Negotiations Team. wkparsons@comcast.ne

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56) At Least One Settlement Soon, Perhaps

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

The Unity Negotiations Team of the Atlantic Cape Community Education Association met with Joe Rossi for negotiations Tuesday February 4 at 1:00 pm. The negotiations occurred mostly in Joe’s office, but at 5:30, as I was leaving to teach, someone said Joe wanted to come to the table. We have not seen Karen Beckman or Cindy DeFalco for a while. I doubt that they played an important role anyway. There was no reason to have them sit there when they could have been doing something useful for the College. That same could be said for the people on our side. Negotiations lasted until 1:00 am. Both side got close, but there was no agreement. This has been the most protracted negotiations I have ever been involved in. There have been more man-hours wasted than in any other negotiations. The reason is that Joe Rossi wants some “wins” to put on his curriculum vitae. The next meeting is 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Tuesday February 13. Joe has something to do at 3:00. It is possible that we will continue negotiations again at 6:00 pm. No other college in New Jersey negotiates like we do. Dom

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Nigro our NJEA negotiator has suggested that for the next negotiations, the Team meet with the NJEA negotiator to decide on a “package” of proposals. The Team could then go home. The Negotiator would go to Joe’s office to deliver the proposal and to receive a counter proposal. Some days later, the Team and the NJEA negotiator meet again. That process would eliminate weeks of people sitting at the table chatting. On occasion Dennis or I try grading papers, but it is usually hard to concentrate. Sometimes people try working on the computer. Proposals can be grouped together as a package. They are presented on a take all or take none basis. That does not usually work very well, because once one side suggests proposal A, the other side knows that it is possible to get proposal A eventually. This negotiating team is the

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best functioning team we have ever had. In the past, we have had people with character disorders or loose tongues or just poor judgment. No weak links this time. There is a core of young skilled people who will be able to represent the membership well in the next negotiations. I am hopeful that next Tuesday we can get at least one contract settled. We are close.

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Will Parsons, Unity Negotiations Coordinator

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55) It is getting close to a year

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

The Unity Negotiations Team met with Joe Rossi on January 30 at 4:00 in the Board Room. I am told Joe met with Pete Mora Friday morning. They may have been deciding which issues were the most important for management. Monday Joe called Support Staff negotiators and Culinary Faculty negotiators for individual discussions of the issues to see where there could be agreement. Joe’s behavior indicates that he is serious about settling. That could change. During that Tuesday session, various contracts were discussed. I left early to teach in Cape May. I thought we might be settling the contracts that night. If that were true, I would have traveled back to Mays Landing to join the team. After class at 10:00, I called John Stratton on his cell phone. He was about to present the faculty proposals. John said he thought the session would end soon and it did. They ended at 11:00. My interpretation of the session was that we were getting closer, but other people are less optimistic. The goal is to get a fair contract that both sides can live with. If neither side is happy, it is probably a good settlement.

We began negotiations last March. One of these days, I may go back over my notes and count the number of man-hours spent in this process. When you compare the new contract with the old contract, you will not see major changes. We could have just agreed on the money issues and “rolled over” the old contact. That could have been done in one or two sessions.

The next session is Tuesday, February 6, at 1:00. I hope both sides are in a mood to settle and that it is a long session. This process is like a seduction that takes a whole year. When you get close, you have to make your move otherwise one party could get cold and it could take a few more months. Will Parsons, Coordinator for the Unity Negotiating Team