Heated AFA discussion continues

Benjamin Gruey, Staff Writer

Less than a week after a close vote to approve pay cuts, members of SRJC’s All Faculty Association (AFA) are still embroiled in a heated debate. E-mails continue to fly over the faculty listserv concerning the controversial initiative to change the Executive Council makeup of AFA to be split 50-50 between adjuncts and full-time faculty.

Last Spring the AFA Executive Council voted down a proposal to send the council makeup to the membership for a vote. The Adjunct Caucus, now the Faculty Alliance For Equality (FAFE), asked for a membership vote on amending the AFA Constitution to split the Executive Council so half are adjuncts and half full-time faculty.

The FAFE revised and simplified the proposal over the summer. It now says equal seats, said Michael Ludder, adjunct political science instructor.

FAFE will present the proposal on Sept. 22 at the AFA Executive Council meeting along with a petition signed online and in hardcopy by AFA members who support the proposal’s changes.

The petition was sabotaged around signature 200. Names of faculty who had not signed as well as fictional characters like The Three Stooges and the Seven Dwarves showed up on the list, said Warren Ruud, AFA president and mathematics instructor. “I don’t think they are being malicious or doing it on purpose,” he said. “I think someone is jerking them around.”

“Whoever sabotaged this doesn’t agree with our goals,” said Michael Kaufmann, an adjunct ESL instructor. “I don’t believe the sabotage came from AFA leadership, but it certainly didn’t come from FAFE.”

Whoever sabotaged the petition showed they think it and FAFE is a threat, he said. “This is the largest opposition to AFA in 20 years.”

Kaufmann noticed on Monday someone had tampered with the names on the petition. As of Sept. 16 the petition was down and FAFE was fixing the oversight so no one could put anyone else’s name on the list. Users must use an e-mail to sign in now, he said.

Before FAFE presents the petition at the AFA meeting they will cross-reference the signatures with a current load report.

The petition comes on the heels of the Tentative Agreement (TA), which bundled six Memoranda of Understanding from the 2009 – 2010 school year, called for a $3.08 million cut from all SRJC faculty salaries. The TA included salary reductions to full-time and adjunct faculty, two furlough days, full-time faculty to pay 4 percent of their health care premium, a fixed percent for the next three years, and a 2 percent reduction to adjunct salaries for the continuation of the Adjunct Medical Benefit Program.

The AFA membership ratified the TA with a vote of 294 to 256. It was one of the closest votes on an agreement ratification in AFA history, Ruud said. “Everyone had something to complain about on that one [but] most of them realized it was going to be good for the students.”

Both Kaufmann and Ludder pointed to the narrow margin the TA passed by claiming there is still support for changes to the AFA council and the issue has not gone away. “Tentative Agreements usually pass with 80-90 percent voting yes,” Kaufmann said. This TA passed by only 38 votes, out of more than 500 ballots.

Ludder said if he was going to look into his crystal ball, he would guess the AFA would vote down the new FAFE proposal. “I think the AFA leadership is discounting the level of antipathy out there,” he said.