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Friday, May 1, 2009

An Overview of Arguments Made Between Chipola Faculty Union and Chipola Administration

By Sid Riley
Negotiations have been underway for many months between the Faculty Union at Chipola, the Chipola Faculty Association, and Chipola’s Administrators. Those negotiations developed agreement over a broad range of issues for inclusion in a new union contract between these parties, but an impasse was declared over several contested areas where no agreement seemed to be possible. Because of this situation, a magistrate was summoned to the scene to render a ruling on these contested matters after hearing arguments from both sides.
This meeting was conducted in the Chipola Board Room last Wednesday, April 22 before Magistrate Tom Young, of Port Charlotte, Florida. He will render his report of findings by May 29.
This feature will attempt to summarize the arguments and positions presented to the Magistrate at that meeting. Arguments for the union were directed by Lawyers Ed Mitchell and Tom Wazlavek who presented testimony from Bruce White, Faculty Instructor and President of the JCFA Union, and Karen Lipford, Nursing Instructor. Arguments for Chipola Administration were directed by Attorney Michael Mattimore, who entered testimony from Steve Young, VP of Finance at Chipola, and Sarah Clemmons, Sr. VP of Instruction and Student Services.
Issue: Faculty Pay
Arguments Made by Chipola Faculty Association (Union):
● Average faculty pay at Chipola is $43,222, which is third from lowest for the 28 Community Colleges in Florida.
● State average pay for community college faculty is $52,200.
● Nursing instructors are able to make $20,000 per year more by working in medical field, Chipola’s pay is not competitive.
● Average pay for the 30 administrative staff members at Chipola is $83,300, which is out of line with faculty pay.
● During negotiations Chipola offered no program of increases for faculty in new contract. In some cases, pay cuts were requested.
Rebuttal Arguments Made by Chipola Administration:
● Average faculty pay presentation depicts a false picture since it includes very large colleges when all 28 state colleges are included.
● When the faculty pay averages for the six smallest community colleges is presented, Chipola’s faculty pay is at the middle point of the range.
● The pay data presented does not present the differences in benefits paid to faculty. For instance, at Chipola the school pays 100% of a very costly medical insurance plan for the instructors.
● When overload payments and comp time payments made to faculty are included, the average gross pay for faculty averages over $6,000 per year in additional faculty pay.
● Chipola has a policy of using full time faculty for almost all instruction (83%) instead of adjunct instructors. This increases the number of full time faculty on staff.
Issue: Faculty Work Hours Required, and class load requirements. Existing contract requires 35 hours/week and 72 annual points (30 per semester and 12 during summer), Union wants this reduced to 25 hours/week and 60 points per year.
Arguments Presented by JCFA Union:
● Existing requirements of 15 class hours, 13 in-office hours, and 7 on-campus hours is more than is asked of most community colleges.
● Most instructors work many additional hours at home grading and performing administrative duties.
● Instructors are professionals and should not be relegated to "punching a clock" type requirements. They are professionals and will do what is required, contract or no contract.
● The existing requirements for course instruction will be covered by the staff, only it will be done on a voluntary, overload pay basis.
● We want a contracted 25 hours per week, with 15 class hours and 10 office hours. Also, want a revised class load requirement of 60 points per year instead of the existing 72 points.
Rebuttal Arguments Presented by Chipola Administration:
● Proposal would reduce contracted workload to ridiculous low level.
● Proposal would leave 80 courses with no contracted instructor. Would force the school to drop offerings, increase class sizes, and increase use of adjunct instructors.
● Would increase cost of payroll by $150,000 per year.
● Existing workload has been in place for over 20 years with no problems.
● School can not schedule classes based on hope that instructors will volunteer to teach them.
● This would essentially create a three day work week for faculty. Suitable teachers could not be found to fill requirements created by these proposed changes.
● We can not increase our costs when we know additional funding cuts are forthcoming from the state next year.
Issue: Chipola is placing too much emphasis on funding athletic programs and thus does not properly fund needs of faculty.
Arguments presented by JCFA Union:
● Chipola spends $958,000 ($1.37 million total) per year on athletics from Fund 1, which on a percentage of Fund 1 expenditures, is the most of any of the 28 community colleges in Florida. At the same time it ranks 26th in faculty salaries.
● Chipola is currently awarding 60 athletic scholarships. More than any other community college.
● Chipola is one of only three or four community colleges which has a full time Director of Athletics position, and the others are very large colleges.
● During the past 10 years faculty pay has only increased 15% while expenditures for athletics has increased 60%.
Rebuttal Arguments presented by Chipola Administration:
● Expenditure data on athletics is distorted since a significant portion comes from Chipola Boosters which puts their funds in the Chipola Foundation which then puts the money into the Fund 1 account. Thus it is really locally raised money, not general administration funds from the state.
● Chipola is one of the few state community colleges with four sports in their athletic program to fund.
● Since Chipola’s teams have been winning regional, state, and national titles, the costs of the programs have been increased due to travel expenses.
● Costs of scholarships have been increased by recent tuition increases.
● Costs include $80,000 per year for insurance cost on programs, this cost may be presented in other areas of accountability by other colleges.
● The manner in which athletic expenditures are categorized can differ from college to college, making comparative data unreliable.
● The spirit and image created by Chipola’s athletic programs helps attract students to the college.

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