Contract Clarification Questions

So, I continue to want to honor the request of our Union leadership to maintain discretion and privacy among union members with respect to deliberations and conversations about the contract proposal.

At the same time, I recognize that there are many members who have questions (as here and here)  and wonder if we wouldn’t be able to provide an aggregating service here on the Lounge for question collection, so that we may be able to share the list with the leadership before they come to visit and, when we do meet to discuss the contract, we will have an idea of what each others’ confusions and questions are in advance so we can make sure that we hit all of the major points.

If you happen to see a question to which you KNOW or think you know the answer, please feel free to chime in. Please try to keep speculation (especially about motives) to a minimum. Let’s brainstorm a good list of questions that, upon getting clarified will serve as a sound foundation for evaluative discussion.

Here are my questions so far. What are yours?

3 thoughts on “Contract Clarification Questions

  1. I’m confused about a lot in this contract, and don’t feel that I can vote “Yes” on something that isn’t clearly spelled out in the contract – not just explained to us by Union officers.

    What does the elimination of steps really mean? Will everyone in, for example, in Lane 2 be earning the same salary? Will people who are currently in Lane 3 (Masters plus 30) now be moved to Lane 1, and will they have to take a pay cut? And why the elimination of the Masters plus 60? There is no specific language in the contract regarding how this change affects us, and I fear that it leaves too much room for interpretation, regardless of what is agreed to verbally. If the Union officers can explain this to us in such a way that we would agree to it, the complete explanation and delineation of how everyone will be shifted needs to be written in. I don’t feel comfortable voting “yes” on a handshake.

    The merit based pay bonus of 1% was explained to me as not being an individual bonus, but a bonus for everyone if we attain a State set standard of “student success.” This is not clearly defined in the current version of the contract, and leaves the door open for district to reinterpret this to become an individual bonus. Also, what are the State standards that we are trying to achieve? Will they change from year to year? Does the entire district have to reach the goals, or will it be determined college by college? Who decides the metrics for this merit based bonus? By agreeing to this, are we opening the door for merit-based pay in the next contract?

    Sick days. In the current contract, we can accumulate an indefinite number of sick days, but we can only cash out up to 100. If this changes to we can only accumulate up to 200 sick days, what happens when we reach 200? Do we no longer get assigned sick days until we use some up? It was obvious that district was going to try to take away our ability to cash out sick days, but why the cap on accumulation, and why can’t we use sick days toward retirement enhancement? I feel like there’s something sneaky and unspoken being played out here, but I can’t figure out what.

    Then the small things in the contract that just bother me. For instance, department chairs will now get 7.5 hours release time. How do you get half an hour of release time? Or better yet, how do you teach only 1.5 hours? This is just such a weird number. Not a strong ending, I know, but really, what department chair will ever be able to take the full 7.5 hours of release time without having to do overtime? Isn’t this just giving chairs more work? I’m not a chair, so maybe they’re happy with this?

    • In the realm of ‘small things’ it really bugs me, too, that they can’t be bothered to make the language of the contract gender neutral. It’s embarrassing. Not that I think it’s small, just that I think it’s an easy agreement and fix. Totally with you on the release time–the only solution I could think of is that the chair would go heavy one semester and light the next (teach 9 in the fall and then six in the spring) or something. Or teacm teaching with other chairs…

  2. Sorry to have arrived late to the discussion but I was on a train that got derailed. Don’t worry I’m ok. I’m told the derailment was planned. Those in charge of running the train decided it was not important to inform the passengers of this event. Some folks were sitting. They got on the train at the earlier stops. They got jostled, but told us that this happens from time to time by the conductors. They are somewhat used to the unplanned and staged circuses. There were a lot of folks standing. They got on at the last stops before the train went express. They were the ones that got rattled the most. Not just physically rattled, I mean mentally too. When they bought their train pass, they were told that news would be delivered to them in a timely manner and they’d be kept in the loop on all that would happen along the route. They’ve been hurt by this derailment. No, they don’t need to go to a hospital. They’re hurt because they never saw this coming even though they were told the opposite. The older, more senior riders are helping them out, but from the looks of these seasoned transit riders, they also look a bit hurt. Seems to me they knew derailments were part of the process and they’ve been able to detect the warning signs. But this time they were also caught off guard. See, from what I’ve heard, the members they elected to keep watch over these “unplanned” derailments appear to have been active participants in this last one. Apparently, the derailment watchers lost sight of what it means to be an elected member and began to see the derailment as necessary to fulfill their self interests; at least that’s what I’m hearing. I can’t confirm, nor will I speculate. Perhaps I’m just in a daze over what just happened. Once I get my bearings and get more information, I’ll have more to share. I’m just glad this derailment happened before we got over that bridge. This derailment put us in muddy land. I’ll take that over polluted river any day. I think.
    Oh, forgot to mention. There is a derailment in the making over a CPS line that’s due into the city soon. Apparently, this derailment was meant to show how well the public transportation system can recover from such events.

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