With all that is happening on WCC’s Campus, there are two more very important matters that deserve your attention.
Program Closures and Layoffs
A number of our members have contacted me and/or other members of the WCCEA leadership expressing concern that their jobs and/or their programs might be in jeopardy due to recent events. My first response to those concerns is to say: Yes. Isn’t it too bad that the environment on campus has degenerated to that point where people fear for their jobs. But, as chief negotiator, that’s not a satisfactory answer.
The contract between the WCCEA and the College makes very clear the procedure for shutting down programs, for laying off faculty, and for the retraining of faculty whose programs have been reduced in size or eliminated altogether. Paragraph 0311 “Alleviation of Overstaffing” outlines the process by which the College may reduce or terminate programs. Paragraph 0312 makes clear that the College IS REQUIRED to permit the retraining of any faculty member who loses their position under the provisions of Paragraph 0311, the intent of which is for the faculty member to assume another position in the College.
It is worth noting that, per Paragraph 0311.2, the earliest the College could terminate any currently existing program is the Fall of 2015.
As you know, the College recently released SOQ data to the Washtenaw Voice in response to Voice’s FOIA request. It is the WCCEA’s position, given the clear language in the Letter of Agreement, that the release of that data constitutes a contractual breach and that the Letter is null and void. The College has made clear that it believes that the Letter of Agreement is still in force and that it intends to continue to work under its terms.
Sadly, this is yet another example of the deterioration of the campus environment that has led to the Vote of No Confidence.
All of this said, there is little we can do in this matter until the College violates the contract, as a grievance can be filed only in the event of a contract violation. That has not yet happened. In this matter a violation of the contract will happen when a member, whether adjunct or full-time, receives a “flag”. If that happens to you—if you receive from the administration a notice of an SOQ flag at the end of this semester or at the end of any semester—please contact the WCCEA leadership IMMEDIATELY so that we may take proper actions to protect you.
Personal note regarding The Washtenaw Voice: for what it’s worth, I think it a damn good student newspaper. It’s job is not to be an advocate for the faculty, nor for the administration, nor, really for students, either. It’s job is to report the news on campus with an eye toward its student readership. It does a damn good job of it.
These are not good times at WCC. Concerns about potential job retaliation and insistence that an element of our contract that clearly is null-and-void is, in fact, still in force, are but two more reasons why your WCCEA Board voted unanimously to hold a vote of no confidence in President Bellanca’s leadership.
David J. Fitzpatrick
WCCEA Chief Negotiator