Contract Negotiation Updates

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LAST UPDATE: Fri Oct 11, 2013

vanguardSE

To: allncc
From: Charles Loiacono
Date: October 8, 2013
Subject: Response to Gardyn/Weiss October 3rd Missive

I felt a sense of pity as I read the most recent attempt by Gardyn and Weiss to defend the indefensible. It was pity that I sensed because there was a discernible difference in style that was indeed pitiable. Their first two missives were neurotic in style—an almost frantic use of dissembling. This latest attempt to excuse their earlier writing was like trying to follow a severe stutterer attempting to explain that the listener misunderstood his narrative because the listener had problems with his hearing.

I should be kind and let it go, because this latest missive is too poorly written to warrant a response. I graded it “D-” for style, construction, syntax, and vocabulary, and a resounding “F” for reasoning. Weiss and Gardyn made a fatal error when they thought they could hoodwink the members of the adjunct faculty with verbal sleight of hand. The members of the adjunct faculty are scholars — well educated, highly intelligent, well read, and adept at interpreting what they read. There is really no need for my pointing out the desperately awkward attempt at reasoning by these two, because the adjunct faculty gets it.

Nonetheless, pitiable though it is, allow me to spotlight their dissembling. I suggest that the reader refer to the October 3rd missive as I point to specific lines or paragraphs.

The first page says nothing! It’s devoid of any reason. It’s merely a rant.

On page 2, these two writers set out to enumerate arguments:
Their “First” shows an astonishing ignorance of the history of negotiations. The County Executive did not simply execute each successor agreement; he would intervene by bringing the parties together in his office, and assign a well-respected conciliator, who would actually do the negotiating. The County Executive would never leave the premises. We would negotiate all night long, because the County Executive would not allow anyone to leave until an MOA was signed by all parties. The record shows that the BOT and John Gross never completed negotiations for a successor agreement. It was always the County Executive using his good offices that saved the day. When the current contract was negotiated, the parties convened in a hotel where Martin Scheinman did the negotiating at the behest of the County Executive. The entire AFA Executive Board and Representative Assembly attended until the wee hours of the morning when an agreement was reached.  It was the County that paid the conciliator’s fee. While I understand that Weiss and Gardyn, being new to the college, could not possibly know the truth, that’s no excuse for signing their names to a revisionist account of the history of negotiations here at NCC. What they wrote in their “first” has no resemblance to the truth. They have been fed misinformation, and awkwardly have tried to fashion such misinformation into arguments.

Their “Second” on page 2 is an untutored attempt at syllogistic reasoning. .Since the premise is false, the conclusion is erroneous. Read what they actually wrote in their letter of September 27th:

“The County Ordinance does not give the college authority to negotiate. The Taylor Law of the State of New York bestows that authority. The County cannot repeal the ‘joint employer’ status of the County and College that is authorized by the Taylor Law.”

The first sentence is untrue. Everyone knows that. It is the very thing we want deleted from the Ordinance. That’s not sloppy writing, that’s a simplistic lie. By following that lie with the conclusion that the AFA therefore wants to “repeal the ‘joint employer status’” these writers employed faulty reasoning in an amateurish use of the “red herring” ploy. These two writers are not only new and unfamiliar with the college, they are engaging in shyster tactics that only serve to make them look dishonest, uninformed, desperate, and petty. Obviously, deleting the authority to negotiate from Ordinance 307, a local Ordinance passed by the County Legislature and signed by the County Executive, has nothing to do with the joint employer relationship. No one has suggested repealing that relationship. Only the “red herring” made that suggestion.

Their “Third” is an elongated non sequitur. To comment would be redundant.

In their conclusion which they refer to as “First,” (I guess they forgot that they used a first already) they repeat for a second time Newsday’s use of the word “insane” referring to a pay raise for the adjunct faculty. Weiss and Gardyn were so titillated by that, they repeated it twice. If they must cling to a loaded invective by a tabloid that ranks as a rag among literate journals, then I rest my case, because such a base reaction proves that their cause is indeed bankrupt.

They are trapped in the bankruptcy of their cause because the simple truth is verifiable. The record is there for all to see.

 

  • They have never completed negotiations without the intervention of the County Executive.
  • They have refused to negotiate with the AFA since they declared impasse in 2010.
  • Their intransigence provoked a strike.•At the September 18th conciliation session, there were no negotiations, they repeated their position of 2010, and there was no face-to-face meeting.
  • There have been no negotiations since September 18th.

It is not an analytic feat to conclude that it is a ridiculous position to insist that the authority, which they refuse to use, should not be removed, because they want to continue to refuse to use it. In attempting to convince the adjunct faculty that such a position is reasonable is to assume that adjuncts are fools. To attempt to inveigle the County Legislature with a plea to ignore the record and allow them to continue to refuse to negotiate is to assume that County Legislators head the list of fools. The AFA has more faith in our elected Legislators. 

Beyond that, these two trustees are making a fatal error in assuming that because many adjuncts crossed the picket line and supported the Board of Trustees’ exploitation of them, that they will buy into the argument that exploitation is good; that it is the BOT’s job to oppress and exploit and the adjunct faculty’s destiny is to be oppressed and exploited. Their message is that it’s just the way things are.

In this latest missive, these two writers have been reduced to repeating failed arguments. They fail to recognize that the reason they look so bad is that they are on the wrong side of the argument. That’s why this sad attempt was so poorly written.

These two trustees don’t have what it takes to end the conflict that is slowly destroying this college. That the Board of Trustees is dysfunctional is palpable. That the words of these two trustees spotlight that dysfunction is there for all to see.  Removing them from the sensitive arena that is collective bargaining would be the first step toward healing the wounds that now fester. 

Only a responsible Legislature and a strong County Executive can bring this rudderless ship back on course.

 

Charles Loiacono, AFA President

vanguardSE

October 4, 2013

letters@newsday.com

To the Editor:

It is one thing to have an opinion. It is quite another to base an opinion on accusations and erroneous assumptions.

Consider the assumption in the editorial title: “Keep politicians out of NCC contract talks.” What contract talks? The BOT has refused to negotiate since 2010. They attended a conciliation session on September 18th, but there were no “contract talks.” The “politicians” referred to are the elected County Government, the Joint Employer, and the Sponsor of the College. The reader was sorely misled from just reading the title.

The first sentence overflows with such outlandish accusations that I wondered what in the world these opinion writers were talking about: “Having failed to rig its contract negotiations by trying to engineer the selection of a sympathetic new president.” How was that done? Who did it? The editorial says the adjunct faculty did. Really? The AFA had one representative on a fifteen member Search Committee. “Rig” is a loaded word. In this context, it means “to swindle.” That’s not an opinion, it’s a false accusation. Where’s the proof? None needed. This is an editorial. Still on the first sentence, the opinion is that the AFA attempted “to rush a trustee vote to get big pay raises.” The AFA didn’t call for a vote, the chairman did. “Big pay raises”? Did they say big? Here these opinion writers engaged in the same withholding of the truth that the PR guy, who funnels them the false information, engages in. The truth is that the adjunct faculty is shamefully exploited. One need not be first in the class to understand that the faculty entrusted to teach 55% of all course offerings, yet receive only 13% of the budget, is dramatically underpaid. While the trustees were refusing to negotiate with the AFA, they showered outrageous increases on administrative employees; $93,000 to a failed acting president; $33,165 to one administrator and $41,081 to another; and 7.5% to 14.3% increases for other administrators — all retroactive to September 1, 2012. This last raise included a $10,500 retroactive raise for the PR guy who funneled the editor all the misinformation contained in the editorial. These administrative raises are not only rolled over every year, they will be paid in pensions and health care premiums for the rest of these administrators’ lives. What is the editor’s opinion on that bit of truth?

Referring to Ordinance 307, it is the editor’s opinion that “the law was part of a movement statewide to insulate two-year colleges from politics.” It might have helped had the editor read the Ordinance. It took the College from Plan A to Plan C directing “that payment of appropriations for maintenance of the College shall be made to the Board of Trustees of the College.” The intent of the change from Plan A to Plan C was to give the BOT the authority to approve expenditures. Section 1 subjected the BOT to the oversight of the County Comptroller. Section 2 prohibited the college from employing outside auditors. Section 3 prohibited the College from incurring debt. Section 4 gave the BOT the responsibility to negotiate. Section 5 made the County Treasurer the College Treasurer. I doubt if the reader would agree with the opinion that the law was passed “to insulate two-year colleges from politics.”

This editorial was so filled with inaccuracies, misinformation, and unfounded accusations that a complete rebuttal would be like whipping a dead horse. I will, however, not try to rebut the economic position. It’s obvious that this editorial board supports exploitation of the workingman and workingwoman. It’s also obvious that they embrace apartheid. It is painfully obvious that they rely on false information given to them by a contract PR advocate who is using Newsday as a house organ to spread the propaganda that they delight in, because it fits in with their opinion.

Sincerely,

Charles Loiacono, AFA President

 

vanguardSE

Letter Sent to the County Executive:

October 1, 2013

Ed Mangano, County Executive
Nassau County Legislators
1550 Franklin Avenue
Mineola, New York 11501

To Ed Mangano and County Legislators:

Although less neurotic in style than the September 24th letter written by Kathy Weiss and Jorge Gardyn, the maneuvering in the latest missive of September 27th has the same sleight of hand technique that distinguishes it from honest persuasion.

The first paragraph is launched with this half-truth — that the AFA seeks “to change how the College’s labor agreements have been negotiated for the past thirty six years.” The truth is that during those years the County Executive had to intervene in order to complete negotiations for every successor agreement. The Board of Trustees has never successfully negotiated a contract with the AFA. It was always the County Executive who had to use his good office to finalize a negotiated agreement. That’s why there had not been a strike in 30 years. The last strike took place because the Board of Trustees tried to negotiate and bungled the job. The recent strike took place for the same reason—the BOT tried to handle negotiations on their own and bungled it.

Once again they tried to cover-up the fact that they have refused to negotiate for 3 years by repeating some of the excuses used in their September 24th missive. My being in Maine for the summer seems to touch their fancy. I guess what they are suggesting is that the 10 months that precede and follow the summer are not months when the BOT is available. Such a feeble excuse is not worthy of comment, but is does point to the bankruptcy of their cause.

The major straw man argument used by these writers demonstrates rather conclusively that their position is indeed bankrupt. First, they state that “The County Ordinance does not give the college authority to negotiate. The Taylor Law of the State of New York bestows that authority.” Really? Where does it say that? Of course it doesn’t. They know that. Watch how they try to slip out of that lie. They follow with this line: The County cannot repeal the ‘joint employer’ status of the County and the College that is authorized by the Taylor Law…The College can never be deprived of its role as a joint employer.”

First, they pretend that the Taylor Law gave the college the sole authority to negotiate. If that were true there would have been no need for the Ordinance. Then they pretend that removing the sole authority given the BOT would take away the joint employer relationship. Being in a joint employer relationship with the County and the County giving the BOT the sole authority to negotiate are two very different things. The County, not the Taylor Law, gave the BOT the sole authority to negotiate. Ipso facto, the County can take it away. The joint employer relationship would be undisturbed. The most important authority given the BOT in Plan C, described in Ordinance 307, was the responsibility to spend the money. The authority to negotiate was an afterthought.

“There is clearly a need for uniformity in asserted positions between bargaining units.”
Such a statement can only be explained by the inexperience these two writers have with the college and the long history of labor relations here at NCC. There has never been uniformity in treatment, status, salary, benefits, governance, and function between the NCCFT and the AFA. The obvious fact that the BOT negotiated a successor agreement with the NCCFT in 2010, which included pay increases, and failed to do so with the AFA is proof that their “need for uniformity” argument is as specious as their other arguments.

Finally, there is nothing that would please me more than engaging a serious opponent in a debate on the relative worth of the adjunct faculty and the economic apartheid that is exploiting them.
Alas, these two persons do not fit the bill. Their scheme is to inveigle through the use of half-truths, straw man polemics, and hyperbolic predictions. Their style is more shyster than trustee.
In their posturing, there is ample proof that such persons are not capable of honoring the goal expressed in the Preamble of the AFA Contract:
“This agreement seeks to assure the orderly and uninterrupted operations of the College by maintaining a harmonious relationship between the County and the College adjunct faculty.”

All one need do is read the tone and style of their writing to understand that these two trustees see themselves as enemies in a war, not as custodians of trust. Therein lies the problem. The solution to that problem is removing them from the sensitive relationship that is collective negotiations. The adversarial relationship they project can never achieve a “harmonious relationship.”

Sincerely

Charles Loiacono, President

 

 

vanguardSE

Letter Sent to the County Executive :

September 25, 2013

Ed Mangano, County Executive
County Legislators
1550 Franklin Avenue
Mineola, NY 11501

To Ed Mangano and All County Legislators:

I just had occasion to read six pages of verbiage aimed at obfuscating the simple truth that any reasoned observer could glean if they could but separate the useless padding from the truth.

First, we must deal with the disingenuous pretense in the closing statement of the September 24, 2013, letter written by Kathy Weiss and Jorge Gardyn. They boldly declare that “the College has conscientiously and consistently sought to negotiate with the AFA.”

As is often their wont, they withhold the truth. They state that Ken O’Neill informed their counsel that “the general membership would be meeting on September 30th of 2010 to consider the ‘strike vote.’” That's true. So, what did they withhold? They withheld the fact that the AFA voted not to strike, but to continue to negotiate. Knowing that we had voted to continue negotiations, they declared impasse. We all know that impasse is the Taylor Law’s cooling off period when negotiations stop and outside mediators, fact-finders, and conciliators take forever to schedule meetings and issue recommendations—none of which are binding on either party. It took the fact-finder 15 months to issue his recommendations.

What other truth was withheld? They withheld the fact that with the declaration of impasse came the end of negotiations and that there have been no negotiations since 2010. At the bottom of page 4 and the top of page 5, they quote the ex-chairman it what reads like a willingness to negotiate, but they withheld my immediate response, “The AFA is willing and able to resume negotiations with whomsoever you choose as your surrogate. We will be available. Name the time and place.” They also withheld the fact that 7 months passed without a response to my readiness to negotiate or any suggestion that negotiations resume. One can readily see why withholding the truth is more devious than lying.

They attended the super conciliation meeting on September18th, but they did not negotiate. They simply reiterated their position taken in 2010 of a wage freeze, and sought to insult the AFA with fractions of 1% going forward. Their intention of changing the AFA’s jurisdiction so they can place college courses into adult education is the same demand made in 2010. Standing pat for the fourth year is not collective bargaining, it is intransigence.

Rather than bore you with 6 pages of verbosity, I will cut to the nub. We are the work horses of the college. We are on the firing line everyday teaching the lion’s share of all course offerings. We are 13% of the budget, receive no fringe benefits, and bring in 55% of the revenue. We have no input into governance or curriculum. We are not on the P&B committees. We have no seat on the Academic Senate. We do not choose the textbooks. We are simply master teachers.

We have sat by and watched a rejected candidate receive a $93,000 raise; house lawyers who serve as administrators receive 33% and 36% in raises, while other administrators receive 5 figure increases. Meanwhile, the adjunct faculty carries the heaviest load and receives insults as their exploitation continues.

Seeking relief from the arrogance of the BOT is to seek the seat at the table promised by the Taylor Law, but denied us. The trustees relinquished the authority given them by Ordinance 307 the day it was given. The county sponsors the college, provides a large part of the revenue, and has a keen interest in the college’s success. It is responsible for negotiating all other municipal contracts with county employees. The fact that the BOT is either incapable or unwilling to negotiate is evidenced by the fact that the AFA was provoked by their intransigence into a strike.

In pretending that they are suddenly interested in negotiating, Weiss and Gardyn claim that “Clearly, if the County were to assume a primary role in collective bargaining it would confront academic, curricular and governance issues…”

Since the adjunct faculty is not involved in any way, shape, or form in those issues, Weiss and Gardyn may have inadvertently given the County Executive and the Legislature the solution.

Since the BOT successfully negotiated a successor agreement with the NCCFT in 2010, but failed to do so with the AFA. Since their intransigence provoked a strike; and since they continue to refuse to negotiate; (no communications between the BOT and the AFA since the failed conciliation session) the solution should be plain to any fair observer----delete the AFA from the last sentence in Ordinance 307. Then the BOT will be free to negotiate all academic, curricular, and governance issues with the NCCFT; and the AFA will be free to enter into good faith negotiations with the county. That will put an end to provocation and bring peace and cooperation to a campus that is in sore need of it.


Sincerely,


Charles Loiacono, President

 

vanguardSE
 

Friday September 27, 2013

Update on the Injunction and the PERB Charge

The Court Hearing

The AFA attorney reports that at the hearing before Justice Margaret Reilly, John Gross was doing his thing explaining to the judge that the AFA defied her order to return to work, when the judge responded with, “What else is new. My kids don’t listen to me either.” With that the hearing was closed pending another visit to the court at the end of October to see if matters between the Board of Trustees and the AFA have been settled. Gross, of course, was disappointed. He was hoping that the court would have been more like the courts were in Alabama and Mississippi in the Jim Crow days.

The PERB Hearing

There has been an interesting twist in the PERB charge. It is PERB that enforces the Taylor Law, and has the authority to impose fines and the loss of check off. It appears that the County did not join John Gross in the filing. In a letter written by Elena Cacavas, Administrative Law Judge, she informed the parties that the charge was deficient. The following quote is from her letter to the representatives:

“As you are aware, a question has arisen whether the charge is deficient as filed by only the college, where the County and the College have been found by PERB to be employers. Since this question goes to the legality of processing the charge, it must be resolved as a threshold matter.

“As discussed, the most efficient resolution would have the college withdrawing the charge and refiling with both the College and the County properly named as the ‘Public Employer,’ Unfortunately, Mr. Bee has indicated that his client may decide not to proceed in that manner ... PERB’s role to enforce that policy must be supported by all entities involved in a strike situation who are empowered and required to act. That policy will not allow PERB to overlook potential legal impediments to proceeding (with) a strike charge.”

Whatever the outcome of the deficient filing, we will be presenting hard evidence that the Board of Trustees has and continues to refuse to negotiate in good faith.

 

 

 

Latest Correspondence with Newsday

-----Original Message-----
From: ND-Letters <Letters@newsday.com>
To: Cfrantic <cfrantic@aol.com>
Sent: Thu, Sep 26, 2013 8:23 am
Subject: RE: Response to Trustees Weiss and Gardyn

Dear Mr. Loiacono,

We have a policy that we wait 60 days between letters from any one writer.

Regards,

Anne Michaud

Newsday

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: Cfrantic [cfrantic@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2013 6:57 AM
To: ND-Letters
Subject: Response to Trustees Weiss and Gardyn
 
To the Editor:

The quotes from the letter written by the chair and vice chair of the NCC Board of Trustees demonstrate conclusively why this Board is dysfunctional. (NCC adjuncts end strike).

They wrote that the county's involvement in collective bargaining "would confront academic, curricular, and governance issues." The adjunct faculty has no input whatsoever in curricular and governance issues. Those issue are the sole province of the full-time faculty. Adjunct professors teach the courses. We have no seat on the Academic Senate, Curriculum Committees, or P&B Committees. These two trustees were either trying to dupe the legislators or they  were simply ignorant of the facts. Either way, that's the problem.

They stated that the county's involvement would be a  "recipe for the politicization of the administration."  That's the pot calling the kettle black. Nothing could have been more politicized than the trustees' vote on the MOA sent to them b the County Executive. Five Democrats either absented themselves or voted "no," while 3 out of 4 Republicans voted "yes."

Finally, they wrote that the county's involvement would "be a recipe for a grievous mismatch between contractual provisions and the mission of the college." These are the very trustees now seeking to abandon the mission of the college and turn it into an adult education center with the name "college" still attached to it.

That they misunderstand how the college is organized is obvious, but that misunderstanding may have inadvertently pointed the way for the Legislature to solve the chaos and conflict that plague the college. The Legislature can opt to maintain the BOT's authority to negotiate all academic, curricular, and governance issues with the NCCFT, and delete the AFA from Ordinance 307.



Charles Loiacono, President AFA
516-622-1591

 

vanguardSE
 

Statement by the AFA President on the
Failure of Super Conciliation

Saturday’s meeting was standing room only. I gave a report on what was supposed to be a negotiations session. The members were vociferous in their condemnation of the Board of Trustees and determined to convince the County Legislature that they have the responsibility to recognize the inability of the BOT to engage in good faith negotiations. Collective bargaining is a process wherein both sides give and take until an agreement is reached. Coming to a negotiations session and reiterating a position taken 3 years ago is not negotiations, it’s attendance.

That’s what the Board of Trustees’ representatives did Wednesday evening. They attended the meeting. They did not move one iota from their position: a 4 year wage freeze. They began the increase for the next 4 years with fractions of 1%. That was their way of insulting the AFA rather than presenting a serious offer. We presented a counter offer. They never responded. That ended the super conciliation meeting. There were no negotiations.

It is now apparent that the Board of Trustees is incapable of negotiating at all, let alone in good faith. They certainly refused to honor the intent of the Taylor Law. It should be plain to all observers that this kind of intransigence provoked the strike. The law requires political subdivisions of the state to “negotiate with and enter into written agreements with employee organizations.” The law adds that the employer is culpable if “the appropriate public employer or its representatives engaged in such acts of extreme provocation as to detract from the responsibility of the employee organization for the strike.”

We have decided that the best course of action is to expose this failure to negotiate in good faith to PERB and the County Legislature. We believe that the super conciliator appointed by PERB has recognized that what transpired Wednesday evening was not negotiations. We also believe that the County Legislature will recognize the futility of expecting the Board of Trustees to fulfill the responsibility it has abrogated time and time again. We will ask the legislature to amend Ordinance 307 by deleting the sentence which gives the Board of Trustees the authority to negotiate labor contracts. That responsibility properly belongs to the county government—the entity that sponsors the college.

Therefore, we have ended the strike and will seek fairness and good faith negotiations, as required under the Taylor Law, from the county government.

Write, call, and petition your district legislator to vote to remove from the Board of Trustees a responsibility that they are incapable of or unwilling to fulfill.

 

vanguardSE

 

An Open Letter to the Nassau County Legislature

Charles Loiacono, Editor Special Edition September 2013


In 1977, the county gave the College Board of Trustees input into the negotiations process by giving them the authority to negotiate contracts with the NCCFT and the AFA.

The trustees turned over that responsibility to an outside lawyer. This lawyer has never completed negotiations for a successor agreement. In every case, the county had to step in, usually at the 11th hour, to resolve the impasse. In doing so, the county exercised its authority as the sponsor of the college, as well as the major partner in a joint employer relationship.

On Wednesday evening September 18th, the lawyer representing the Board of Trustees refused to move off the demand for a 4 year wage freeze, then added increases for the next 4 years in fractions of 1% at a cost over 8 years of one/tenth of 1% against 8 years accumulated revenue. Outrageous as that sounds, it pales when considered against the demand to change the jurisdiction of the AFA.

The intent of these changes is to begin the transition from NCC as an institution of higher learning to an adult education center with the name college still attached to it.

The demand is that courses such as WRITE, BRUSH UP, and NCC 101, be removed from the AFA’s jurisdiction so they can be placed into adult education. Three arbitrators, a Supreme Court Judge, and the County Executive have rejected five attempts by this same lawyer to place college courses into adult education. Encroaching on the NCCFT’s jurisdiction, the LINCC program would be added to our jurisdiction for night classes and the summer sessions, thus dropping the LINCC instructors’ pay and fringe benefits to conform to AFA scale sans benefits.
Thus, even with the help of a PERB appointed super conciliator, the Board of Trustees has failed to negotiate in good faith. This time their outrageous demands are aimed at the final demise of Nassau Community College. Were they to success in this, the people of the county would soon learn than their children have been relegated to second class student status, unfit to be part of the college and unworthy to be considered real college students. If the AFA were to agree to these demands, other 101 and 102 courses would follow. Students and their parents would soon avoid the stigma that would be attached to NCC as an institution for lower learning, and the college would begin its descent to join other pariah institutions.

The AFA will resist this effort to turn the college into an adult education center. We will stand our ground until the elected officials in this county stand with us and represent the people, as well as the students who will suffer the effects of this attempt to change the college.

The Legislature gave the trustees the authority to negotiate. They have consistently made a mess of it. Their lawyer has his own agenda. Most trustees follow him like sheep. His agenda includes changing the mission of the college. County elected officials must not stand idly by while the AFA resists this alone. In giving the BOT input, the Legislature had good intentions. Those intentions were thwarted. What the Legislature has given, the Legislature can take away. The simple act of repealing the one sentence at the end of Ordinance 307 will bring sanity back to the negotiating table and save the college from an outside lawyer who has taken over the county’s responsibility to represent the entire college community. It is the county that sponsors the college and provides the revenue to support its mission. That mission is threatened.

This effort should be bipartisan and should be done quickly. The County Legislature has the ultimate responsibility to ratify all contracts. The county’s elected officials have the ultimate responsibility to bring reason and sanity to a college that is fraught with conflict. The county has inadvertently given its authority to a Suffolk County lawyer. It must take it back.

Amend Ordinance 307 by deleting the last sentence.

 

vanguardSE

Truth and Consequences

When I opened my e-mail this morning, I read this message from some unknown sender responding to a question (some media adviser, I guess):

Q: How do I handle it when it seems someone else is not telling the truth, especially when I address it and it is denied?
A: The best any of us can do is to be authentic, live with integrity, and focus on ourselves.

Words of wisdom, I thought. But I have always found it frustrating that the truth is often lackluster, while lies can be colorful, malleable, dramatic, and effective. But if we are to live with integrity, we must stick to the truth.

Here are some of the statements being said by our adversaries. I have juxtaposed the facts to those statements, no editorializing, just the facts. Hopefully, the truth will gain some luster:

BOT Chairman to AFA President in response to a request for a meeting 1/4/13: John Gross stands ready to continue to meet and negotiate with the Adjunct Faculty Association. Perhaps you negotiation representatives can supply us with some potential negotiation dates and times. We will be happy to examine those dates and confirm one for bargaining.”

AFA President to Board Chairman 1/8/13: “The AFA is willing and able to resume negotiations with whomsoever you choose as your surrogate. We will be available. Name the time and place.”

No reply for 7 months—no meetings, no talks, no negotiations.

AFA Attorney to John Gross 8/9/13: “The AFA continues to be willing to bargain and available to do so. That will continue to be the case. I am hopeful that you will be able to communicate with your client so that we can meet for meaningful negotiations earlier than
September 17.”

John Gross to AFA Attorney 8/28/13: “As I indicated to you on the telephone on August 9th, I presently have no authorization to revise the College’s position in negotiations . . .This continues to be the case. Nonetheless, you continue to press for a meeting earlier than September 17th… The AFA’s bargaining team has expressed no interest in meeting with the College’s bargaining team since the issuance of the fact finder’s report in July of 2012.”

Ken Saunders the week of September 9th after the walkout: “Despite the best efforts of the college to negotiate a new contract with the part-time faculty…

This has become a dirty game. We are hoping that the PERB appointed super conciliator can wash some of the dirt away, so that some truth and fairness comes out of Wednesday’s meeting.

We will post an update on the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting the following morning on this web site.

 

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Letter to Newsday - 9/13/13

letter@newsday.com

September 13, 2013

To the Editor:

Regarding the use of the word “insane” in Friday’s editorial, there are more appropriate applications for that invective when reflecting on pay raises.

For instance, the recently accumulated total $93,100 raise given to the acting president who was rejected by the Presidential Search Committee; the $33,165 raise given to one administrator, the $30,000 given to another; the total $276,896 in raises given to 17 administrators in September of 2011; and the 7.5% - 14.3% raises recently given to 5 other administrators retroactive to September 2012. Perhaps the word “insane” might apply to those increases.

It might also seem “insane” that the faculty responsible for teaching 55% of all course offerings is only 13% of the budget, and that a 4.9% raise in the first year ($1.4 million) is less than 1% of the current budget. And how about the fact that the total compounded increases over 8 years is $14.5 million measured against what will be an accumulated revenue figure of about $2 billion (that’s a “b”).

An adjunct instructor earns $3,270 for teaching a 3 credit course. A class of 30 students brings in about $37,000 in revenue (tuition, state aid, and county aid). That’s $33,730 profit from one class taught by one adjunct instructor. Multiply that by all the courses taught by the adjunct faculty. Then reconsider whether a 4.9% increase is “insane.”

Charles Loiacono

 

vanguardSE
Charles Loiacono, Editor Special Edition September 2013

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE CONCILIATION SESSION
________________

Last night, the PERB appointed super-conciliator met with the AFA’s attorney and the BOT’s attorney from about 7:00 PM to about 10:00 PM. He shuttled from one room to another meeting separately with each party.

We don’t know what the other side said. The AFA attorney represented our position. That was the extent of super-conciliation.

We believe the following question must be answered: “Is the agreement negotiated between Nassau County and the AFA a legitimate agreement under the law?”  We have written proof that the BOT was unresponsive to our requests to negotiate. Of course, the definitive proof is that we have not had a negotiating meeting since prior to the BOT declaring impasse in 2010. That’s pretty conclusive.

The strike will continue until the agreement that we negotiated in good faith is recognized. All the maneuvers, threats, fuzzy math, and exaggerated claims have only prolonged the strike and moved us further apart.

On another front, I have gotten e-mails from unions around the country supporting the AFA and encouraging us to stand firm. Some have offered money to sustain us. Perhaps the most interesting suggestion came from Arizona. It suggested that if I were jailed for violating the injunction, I should write a series of letters titled: “Letters from an Imprisoned Adjunct.” Such a series would be published nation-wide by the national organization. My response was that at the moment I was somewhat occupied, but I would consider writing such a series if and when I had the chance.

That’s the latest. It’s now 12:00PM. I will be heading for the college soon. See you on the picket line.

Charlie

P.S. No picketing on Friday with respect to Yom Kippur. We won’t be picketing on Saturday or Sunday Come refreshed and ready to walk on Monday.

 

vanguardSE
Charles Loiacono, Editor Special Edition September 2013

NOW THE STRIKE BEGINS IN EARNEST
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Confusion reigned the first two days of the strike. We had no way of knowing how the trustees would vote. We had no idea that all the Democrats would oppose the Memorandum of Agreement negotiated with the county—four of the five boycotted the meeting and the only Democrat present voted “no.” But that’s a story for the next regular issue in October.

Only a handful of members were present when, at about noon, the trustees returned to tell us that the vote was 3 for and 3 against. The three that voted “yes” were Republicans. At that point, the handful of us that were present walked out and commenced the strike. Needless, to say, we were lonely on the line and the AFA must have looked weak.

Slowly, very slowly, the word got out. I made the mistake of believing that I had to walk the line from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. That’s what I have been doing. As a result, I have not been able to communicate with you. Besides, picketing all day disperses us out too thinly. Therefore, we have changed our strategy. The strike will still be in effect all day from the beginning of classes to the end of classes. All adjunct faculty members are expected to be on strike. All members are expected to be on the picket line from 3:30 PM to 7:30PM. We will gather at 3:30 for an update, and then begin picketing. That is much more reasonable. I have already notified the media so they will send their cameras when we are picketing in strength. Our previous request that members should picket when they would have been teaching doesn’t work. We want all members out on the picket line every day. The bigger the line, the shorter the strike.

This war has begun. We have already taken a stand. The Board of Trustees refused to negotiate. I will print that truth, as written by John Gross, in the October issue. Realizing that the trustees had failed to meet their responsibility under the law, the County Executive entered into “good faith” bargaining with the AFA. The result was an amicable agreement. The Democrats on the BOT reacted politically believing that an amicable agreement negotiated by the County Executive would hurt their candidate’s chances in November. We’ll deal with that later. Now, we must deal with the weapons the administration and the BOT are using to try to undermine our strike.

They are telling students in uncovered classes to wait until someone from the administration comes to take attendance. They will then tell SUNY that the strike had no impact on those classes. They will not lie to SUNY. They will simply withhold the truth that there was no professor there to teach them and that the students were told that they were free to leave after their attendance was taken. That will only work until the students and their parents demand that their tuition be refunded.

The lies abound. The most blatant lie originates with the BOT. A flyer to the students says, in effect, that the BOT has always wanted to negotiate and wants to negotiate now. We, they say, are the intransigent ones, not them. Now that we have successfully negotiated with the County—the sponsor of the college and the actual employer—they want to dissect and destroy that agreement.

The bottom line is that we must show our unity and our strength. I will take whatever the court lays on me personally. The union will take whatever the court lays on it. You will be fined 2 days’ pay for every day you miss work—not every day of the strike. You only work 2 days a week and you only earn the pittance paid in 2009-2010. That’s a very small penalty for standing up for the agreement that we have negotiated with the County; and it’s certainly nothing compared with the indignity and disrespect shown to us by the BOT. In that, let us not forget the name Jorge, the lone Republican who has stood against the adjunct faculty from the start and who was so disrespectful to me as the leader of the adjunct faculty that he interrupted me as I tried to speak. He has no interest in hearing from the adjunct faculty. There is no need. He hears all he needs to hear from John Gross. My message to Jorge is: You can refuse to listen to us when we speak, but you will hear our roar and you will see what we can do.

This message will appear on our web site — as will future messages. Go to: collegeadjuncts.org.

To the reader: You are the union, not the other person. It is you who must stand on your own two feet alongside your fellow members. That’s my message! See you on the picket line.