Communications to Members

Health Care Update 4/26/2017

Last week we received MESSA and West Michigan rates for the next 18 months (they are up about 8%) and on Monday the labor members of the HCTF (Heath Care Task Force) met to discuss them.)  Elizabeth Clifford and Sally Pierce were present for MAHE.  We are scheduled to meet with management next Tuesday, May 2, 2017, as a complete task force. There are several issues at play:

  • The LCC Board has chosen the medical hard-cap instead of choosing to apply the 80-20 rule or negotiate some other percentage with the unions. They could choose to make a different choice to support the employees of LCC.
  • The hard cap choice would pass those costs directly on to members until January when the new hard-cap increase (which is unknown at this point) would kick in.
  • Right now the new rates do get us some stability for both plans for the next 18 months. (West Michigan’s Rates had gone up 6% for only the next 6 months and they came back with an increase for 18 months that closely matches MESSA’s.) Depending on the plan, different employees will face different increases in costs. Right now, many members, both full and part time and those members covered under the ACA, will be facing an increase that will more than consume recent or projected raises. This is true whether you are in West Michigan or MESSA. (By moving to an 18-month cycle, for one year we will not be facing these problems at the end of Spring Semester, but dealing with them annually during Fall Semester.)
  • Still financial uncertainty at the end of the semester—or any time – is never good news, nor is the prospect of health care changes, and I can’t give anyone exact numbers today. (Management’s numbers smooth costs using the hard-cap and benefit 2 persons and disadvantage families.) The unions are discussing this and other issues and trying to determine what is in the best interests of ALL the people we represent.

We wanted to let you know that this is happening, and that we will share more news with you as soon as we can. Please be patient with us in this difficult time! We are making as much haste as possible.

 

News from the MEA Representative Assembly
April 22, 2017

MEA News from the Representative Assembly:

Held on Saturday April 22, 2017, MEA members from across the state met in Lansing and elected new officers for the organization:  Paula Herbart was elected MEA president, Chandra Madafferi was elected MEA vice president and Brett Smith was elected secretary/treasurer.  New officers take office beginning September 1, 2017

“I’m honored and humbled to have the faith and support of my fellow MEA members to lead this organization over the coming years,” said Herbart, a music teacher from Fraser.  “Michigan school employees deserve to have a voice in what’s best for their students and their careers. I will do everything in my power to make those voices heard in local school districts, Lansing and Washington.” Eva Menefee knows Herbart well and characterizes her as “a genuine person.”

Herbart currently serves as president of MEA-NEA Local 1 in Macomb County. A former local president for the Fraser Education Association, she serves on both the MEA and the National Education Association Board of Directors.

Chandra Madafferi, is a high school health teacher and local union president from Novi in Oakland County – and Secretary-Treasurer – Brett Smith, a 5th grade teacher and local union president from Linden in Genesee County.

President Steve Cook and Vice President Nancy Strachan are retiring at the end of August. Current Secretary-Treasurer Rick Trainor will be returning to his position as a teacher in Mt. Pleasant. The new officers will serve from September 1, 2017 thru August 31, 2020 to replace current officers, after their 6 years of appreciated service.

“I and the new team of officers want to thank our current officers for their dedicated service during challenging times,” Herbart said.  “In particular, I want to thank President Cook for his leadership of our union, not only during the past six years but throughout his distinguished 26-year career as an MEA officer – the longest tenured officer of any NEA state affiliate in the country.”

When addressing the RA, Cook told the delegates, “Things will change,” and advised a strategic approach to dialogue with our current and future legislators.  This aligns with John Stockton, NEA Executive Director’s, NEA mission article, which talks about our local, state and national education associations’ work to promote the learning and the working, and  well-being of all participants in public education. Stockton says, “It’s about (being) a 365 day culture of relational organizing” (NEA Director’s Newsletter, February 2017, p.6).

LCC’s delegates networked with leaders from around the state and including many representatives from other community colleges and universities.

Maury Koffman, the current president of MSU’s APA and an NEA director, reminded us all, “Unionism is not a spectator sport.”

 OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST FROM THE MEA RA:

 33 new statewide High School grads who are children of MEA members received $1500 Scholarshipsthis year.

 News from MEA Member LEGAL SERVICES:

We are awaiting MI Supreme Court’s selection of a time to rule —on the latest decision on Michigan Legislature’s 2010 Public Act 75 which caused public school employees to  contribute 3% of our salaries to the ORS retirement system because of   Snyder’s appeal of the Court of Appeals repeated approval to return this money to affected members with interest.

*A landmark decision…first time from a federal appeals court “that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination…that (one) without (the other) is actually impossible” This add explicitness to the Federal law(Title V11) that forbids workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin.

*March 27, 2017, in FSU vs FSU Faculty Association:  MERC granted the petition of the union, to place academic advisors in the FSU bargaining unit. They (academic advisors) ,“MERC found that a community of interest exists between teaching faculty and supportive professional staff who may do little or no actual teaching based upon the integration of their functions and their ‘synergistic efforts aimed at the education of university students.”

We hope you find this RA update helpful.

In Solidarity from your MAHE RA Delegates:

Ed Bryant
Curlada Eure-Harris
Eva Menefee
David McCreight
Sally Pierce

 

 

 

Comments made to the LCC Board of Trustees December 12, 2016:

Hello LCC Board Members and LCC executives,

I am here as the president of LCC MAHE and I have two things to talk about tonight.

First and foremost, as the chief spokesperson for our negotiations, I must remind you that we need to settle the MAHE contract, and that that will require creativity and flexibility from both teams.  We have been at this for over 1 ½ years and are one semester into an academic year, with no contract in sight. The faculty and academic professionals we represent want and deserve the stability and assurance that a settled contract would bring. MAHE has been patient and flexible in solving issues at the negotiating table—we have even attempted to solve some problems that we didn’t agree with your team were problems, but we need your team to do the same for us.

Faculty have the audacity to think we do matter to this institution and that we deserve to be paid for what we do. We want a better contract than the one we currently have.  We want a fair contract, and we hope that you will encourage your team to find a way to get to one with us in good faith.

The second issue, I must address is the extreme editing of the board minutes from your last meeting. It is not right that Jeff Lang my vice president, Jeff Janowick, the president of the Academic Senate, and I all clearly addressed the Brain Fuse purchase and our concerns about it. If you look at tonight’s minutes you will see history is being re-written. None of our concerns show up in the minutes. Please consider your obligation to serve this community honestly and transparently and ask Benitta or someone to review the tape from the last meeting. I can supply a draft of the comments Jeff and split in the interest of time last month if that would help.

Thank-you for your consideration and respectful attention.

 

12-5-2016

It’s Monday and like you I am thinking about what I need to get done before the semester closes. In addition to grading, my list includes communicating with you.

We bargained all day Wednesday, November 30th, and we are scheduled to do the same this Wednesday, December 7th.  We expect to present management with a package proposal at the beginning of our session. It contains compromises and if accepted, would get us to a Tentative Agreement that we could bring to all of you for ratification.

We will see what happens on Wednesday,  but we also are committed to only bringing a contract which has enough improvements in finances and working conditions for all MAHE members! (Some members have asked for more specifics but because negotiations are on-going I am reticent to put specifics into an un-nuanced note. )

 

11-21-2016

As you know we have been bargaining—Last week it was all day Wednesday, and this week it will be Tuesday afternoon, and you have probably surmised we have no TA (Tentative Agreement)  to report at this time for MAHE.  Wednesday we made some progress on salary, but because management says they are unwilling to move on the issues of overload for full time and office hours for all teaching faculty we have no agreement yet. In addition, management says that the 52 week positions are foundational for them. Other issues are also open, but your bargaining team is  convinced that an agreement is possible this semester, so we bargain on.

One member sent us an e-mail last week  talking about the importance of unity and power to help us reach an agreement.  He is right, and so your BAC committee is asking that we ask all of you to wear red and other union paraphernalia the entire month of December and to plan to rally at the Board Meeting scheduled for December 12, 2016—please save that date now and talk to others to insure we are all committed to help with that effort. We are also planning a major tutoring/ coaching support event from December 1 through December 16 to help all of our students finish the semester successfully during the last 12 weekdays of this semester. You will be hearing more about that event for students and our  bargaining support activities every day until the 12th and beyond.

11-15-2016

MAHE Statement to to the Board of Trustees November 14, 2015

Hello Board Members, Dr. Knight, and the LCC Community,

I am Sally Pierce, President of LCC MAHE, the bargaining unit representing: Teaching Faculty, Academic Professionals which includes Lab Instructors, Lab Assistants, Supplemental Instruction Leaders, Professional Tutors, Librarians, Licensed Profession Counselors, Academic Advisors, Teaching Clinicians, and Sign Language Interpreters. MAHE represents both full and part-time employees.

Tonight I need to address three issues.

First of all, I am here again urging you to give your bargaining team the parameters necessary to settle the MAHE contract. We deserve raises, we deserve the stability having a ratified contract will bring, and the bargaining has been going on too long.

(For those of you who don’t know we started negotiating in April of 2015, more than a year before our previous contract expired Aug. 21, 2016.) The faculty here tonight and others who are working for our students and their success, want and need a contract.  Help us settle now! Our bargaining team will be giving yours yet another comprehensive proposal on Weds. Nov. 16.

Second, when you go into closed session please approve the Health Care TA for MAHE, PTCTU, and FMA. These three MEA locals voted to retain MESSA insurance last spring and the TA before you will give employees more cost saving options for the coming year because of plan adjustments labor agreed to by Labor. Because you have retained the hard-cap, there is very little increase in your costs. Please ratify this agreement tonight. I can’t tell you what our vote is tonight, because voting will continue till Friday afternoon. I can tell you this is another place where you can give your employees piece of mind and stability.

Third, tonight you will be asked to approve the Brain Fuse proposal that will supplant Tutoring work from the MAHE unit. You can tell by that opening that MAHE has serious concerns about this proposal. Our concerns however, may be different than what you suspect. We have several:

  1. You are buying a block of about 5000 hours and we think MAHE members might have been able to do this work, but we have no indication that this was explored.  $115,000 would have bought more than 5000 hours at the top of our current tutoring schedule. Why are we contracting with an outside group rather than working with our own staff or hiring more of them? You had three MAHE union members on the review committee for the RFP but never brought this to the bargaining table to explore what MAHE members might have been able to do to address this need.

We wish you had, and stand willing to explore this issue if you will bring it to us.

  1. Why was this done without asking students what they needed and preferred? Do students want a relationship with a face-to face tutor, or do they want to work on-line?
  2. Pedagogically, is it best to encourage students to put off tutoring till off hours?
  3. How will these tutors be evaluated and compared with our professional tutors?
  4. Will we potentially have students working with both groups of tutors? How will that be evaluated?
  5. How will these tutors and interface with math and other programs here at LCC? Where is the involvement of the faculty from Math?
  6. If you do approve the purchase order, how will you know if it is best to continue it or terminate this this potential five-year agreement?
  7. Will you have a metric to help you determine if the utilization of this service is worth the cost to the community? $115,000 is a lot of tax-payer money. How many students will be helped and how will we know they were?

MAHE urges you to delay the approval of the Brain Fuse agreement until the next LCC-Board meeting so we can ascertain what the Math department and the tutors think is the best path to take here for our students—we are unconvinced it is Brain Fuse.

Thank-you for your consideration.

 

11/2/2016

Our team met today to work on a comprehensive proposal package.  Although we got through the language pieces, we are still working on salary.  We plan to meet again Friday to finish and will forward the package counter to management then.

We are seeking creative ways to structure our pay requests. Management still clearly wants the 52 week  positions, and our team remains convinced there are other and better ways to meet staffing needs.

As always, Thanks for your support. We will update you as soon as possible about bargaining developments.

 

10/31/2016

Make Four for MAHE

The BAC committee has proposed that we ask all members to make four conscious choices for MAHE as we move through the up-coming month of November.  If you would like to write a letter supporting Alex or any other Board of Trustee Candidates—your deadline for the Lansing State Journal would be 5:00 PM today—Oct. 31, 2016. Other actions might include encouraging neighbors and friends to vote in this up-coming election—remember we are electing the people we work for (as we elect LCC Board members) and people who will impact our lives as workers and citizens.

As an example of Make Four for MAHE, I just finished my four—a conversation at Gibson’s with a colleague, a conversation with a friend at Kroger on Sunday about who MAHE is endorsing for board, info about bargaining with a faculty member in a parking lot Friday afternoon, and info about the letter deadline to another faculty member on Saturday.

Let’s start or continue an intentional  web of communication, encouragement and solidarity now. Webs seem an appropriate image  for Halloween… Happy Halloween and Happy Monday!

Bargaining Update

We appreciate your continued support for union activities as we bargain.  Expect to hear from us as bargaining continues to unfold. Last week we received a complete set of proposals from management—unfortunately we still can’t agree to management’s  financial proposals or some of their other proposals for workload or working conditions.   This week we will be sending a complete counter proposal to management. We will let you know what is happening on the contract negotiations front as soon as your negotiators do. We are aware that we are at a critical time during this bargaining crisis. We don’t want to work for years with no successor agreement in place, but a bad deal is no deal either.

Health Care Update

Last week MAHE, PTCTU, and FMA delivered a proposal to management about alternative MESSA plans—chosen to reduce premium charges.  These options will be available effective January 1, 2017. We know that open enrollment is coming, but we will have to ratify this agreement before members can take choose between plans. We will also need to have meetings about plans to educate members about their options.  Expect to hear more about health-care this week.

10/17/2016

Today we bargained and gave management proposals on four articles and we also discussed pay and calendar. We are scheduled to meet again one more date this month and we offered two additional dates to meet in October. We appreciate your support and will continue to keep faculty apprised of developments.

10/17/2016 Statement to the Board of Trustees

Hello Board Members.  I am Sally Pierce, President of LCC-MAHE and chief spokesperson for the faculty at LCC.  Unfortunately, I find myself here, as I was last month,  asking you  to put a financial proposal on the table  through your representatives which will fairly compensate all the faculty MAHE represents. As you may know, and all the faculty in this room can tell you, we have been working under an expired contract since August although we have been at the bargaining table for more than a year.  Please act tonight to support the individuals who serve the students here at LCC. Thank-you.

10/13/2016

We bargained yesterday and gave management a financial counter.  We know that the college wants us to agree to calendar soon for the 2017-18 year, but we only had a brief conversation about that issue. We hope that our conversations can move into problem solving mode when we meet on Monday to negotiate again.

We believe the college and MAHE are well aware of each other’s positions on all issues, and the time has come to settle the contract, but we still have no agreement about calendar or pay—two vitally important issues.

MAHE’s current calendar proposal has the same number of days as our current year’s calendar. What we have proposed is adjustments for the beginning of both Fall and Spring semesters, so that students from MSU can consider enrolling at LCC without missing the beginning of the semester. We hope to hear back from management about this issue on Monday.

The information we have about enrollment, based on the college’s reports in various sources, shows we are at the lowest point we have been at since 1974. We believe that working on increasing enrollment numbers should be one of many issues uniting faculty and administration. It certainly concerns MAHE, because enrollment directly impacts our work.

enroll_hist_1957_present-9-5-16

enroll_hist_1957_present-9-5-16   (attachment opens the enrollment history graph above)

If we could agree to a calendar that facilitates duel enrollment calendar could help us address the enrollment issue.

We must have a realistic agreement about compensation, too. Management’s last proposals still results in hundreds of members receiving less than 1% as an annual raise, and as you know 1% right now is actually about .75 because we are almost to midterm, and the State of Michigan statute eliminates retroactive pay. We have proposed schedules that address both the lack of raise for the past few years for many of our members, and our concern about potential cost of living increases in future year. We continue to pursue realistic and fair compensation increases for you.

We are asking you to wear red and plan to attend the LCC-Board Meeting scheduled on Monday, October 17, 2016. We will be telling board members it is time to settle our contract in a fair and realistic matter NOW. We will update you about our progress and appreciate the support many of you have offered.

 

 

9/28/2016

Last week we gave management responses to every piece of open language. Today we received a complete package from them. We reviewed this “package.”   We responded to Article VI, Article X, Article XI, Article XIII, Article XIX, and Article XXII.  We are scheduled to caucus on Professional Compensation and the new salary schedules management proposed today on Monday Oct. 3, 2016, to prepare for negotiations on Oct. 4, 2016.  Three  additionally dates in October have been agreed on after that. We will keep you apprised of any progress. To state the obvious, this is moving much more slowly than we would wish. 

 

9/19/2016

Last week we gave management a new financial counter. They have told us that they will be asking the LCC Board tonight to review the college’s financial parameters for MAHE. We are hoping the LCC Board will demonstrate faculty and academic professionals a priority for LCC.

Management’s team gave us two proposals on two other issues, and your bargainers are meeting today to caucus and will have counters for them this Wednesday.  We appreciate the support we have been receiving from many members.   If you can attend tonight’s meeting in the board room at 6:00 PM that would be supportive for us and would be appreciated.

We will update you after this Wednesday’s bargaining session and encourage you to attend the MAHE Senate on September 26, 2016, at West Campus in U237 at 3:30 to 5:00 PM.

On a different note, if any of you are experiencing any oddities in your working environment, or have any concerns you think the Union should know about please don’t assume we already know about it. Contact us.

9/9/2016

Your bargaining team met Wednesday with management’s team. We exchanged proposals on several matters. They presented us with a financial counter which moved .1 % for some faculty.  We did not find this sufficient and are hopeful that the LCC Board will give their spokesperson direction to move in a meaningful way.  (As Chief spokesperson for MAHE I explained that this is particularly disheartening in light of the of the loss of retro-active pay mandated by the Legislature. Every 2 weeks we are losing .45 of whatever raise we get.)

Do not despair.  We are convinced we can be creative about how to settle our contract. But we will need the LCC Management Team to move in a positive way to support faculty financially.

8/29/2016

We were disappointed not to receive a financial counter from management last week but we have given them a counter on Article XXI Professional Compensation which they said they needed in order to complete their counter. So we wait. We have no bargaining scheduled this week but are scheduled for four all day sessions on September 7, 14, 21 & 28. We will keep you posted about developments and what you can do to help your team.

We encourage all members to take part in developing Program Operating Plans. The work proposed and outlined in these plans for this new academic year should be documented with plans for compensation. MAHE believes time estimates are appropriate in both operating plans and 32 day plans. Without such estimates it will be impossible to determine if overload is expected or required. If you are having trouble getting management to reduce things to writing or the time estimates are off please let us know.

The questionnaire for Board Candidates Screening and Recommending has been finalized and will be sent to candidates today. Please let us know if you are interested in taking part in this meeting scheduled for Sept. 14 in the evening. (You must be a PAC contributor to take part.)

 

8/9/2016

Since the last bargaining update we met with management twice. Once on Friday when they gave us a package proposal—containing their positions on Class Size, Compensation, Salary schedules, Workload, and other matters. Last night we met again from 5:00 to 10:00 PM. We have systematically responded to many items and we plan to give them a counter proposal addressing Salary and Compensation tonight.

The good news is we believe we have an agreement to retain Lab Assistants in our unit—that is more than 100 positions, the bad news is that management now says that it was a mistake to tell us that we could retain Sign Language Interpreters. (We intend to retain them since they have been ours historically and there is no sensible place to put them in any other unit.) We believe we also have an agreement on Class Size, but last night management  said they were unwilling to sign at this point.

The current Salary offer from management is unacceptable since somewhere around 400 jobs would be red-circled for both full and part-time faculty and the raise offer is meager to say the least.

We are proposing schedules that would not privilege one group of members more than another–management’s proposal is somewhat in favor of teaching faculty but hostile to others in our unit such as advisors, tutors, and other academic professionals. The schedules we are presenting tonight would result fewer of our members being red-circled. An additional struggle is that we are working to clean up HR’s data….so that we understand the exact impact of what we are discussing.

We will let you know how things are evolving. No contract is better than a bad contract; your team remains committed to improving our collective bargaining agreement. We have no meetings scheduled next week but three evening sessions scheduled during kick-off week. Please plan to attend our General Membership Meeting on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 from 1-3:00 PM in Dart Auditorium for additional updates. 

 

8/1/2016

Last week we met with LCC’S management team three times. MAHE’s team gave management a new counter-proposal on compensation seeking to address some of their concerns and still give all members of our unit a raise. In addition, MAHE gave counter-proposals on Article XXI Professional Compensation—which addresses placement and movement on schedules, Article XXII Employee Benefits, and Article XI Workload.  We received no counters from them, but they did ask to meet with them August 8 and 9, (dates they had previously declined) and they asked if we could start at 8:00 AM on Friday this week instead of 9:00.

We continue to work hard towards a settlement, but know we are certainly at a critical point. We will keep you informed about our progress or lack of progress in the next few days.

7/21/2016

This week your bargaining team got the last piece of the financial offer from management. (We had seen part of it last week and I referenced that in a previous update.) We met two days this week.  Management’s offer was miles away from what we can accept. Many members both full and part time would NOT receive any raise, and hundreds would receive nothing after the first two years of the contract.

We are still analyzing the exact impact of their proposal. We have major differences with management about how raises should be spread, but we think we understand their theory and we have had time to discuss as a team how to counter their offer. Monday we will caucus as a team to construct a counter offer. We are scheduled to bargain Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday next week. We expect to also discuss leaves, load, and employment practices because these all intertwine with the finances.

Yet another topic this week was Academic Calendar. Management has moved to a summer schedule proposal that would more closely align with MSU. We are encouraging that because we believe that that would allow for recruitment or enrollment of MSU students here at LCC. (Which would mean more work of MAHE members!) We have made a proposal that would do the same for Fall and Spring Semesters—but we don’t know if we can convince management to move. We believe that recruitment and scheduling will help more people achieve success at LCC.

Expect to hear more about bargaining next week.

 

7/13/2016

Contract Negotiations:  As you know we presented a first financial offer to management at the end of June—it proposed modest raises for all members. Today management brought their first financial offer to the table. If accepted, this offer would result in raises for some members, movement of some members out of the unit, and no raise for others for part of the life of the agreement and no raise for others for the entire new contract.

To say we were disappointed is an understatement.  Today, July 13, 2016,  our bargaining team  officially declared a bargaining crisis. We are continuing to work to reach an agreement before our contract expires. We plan to discuss calendar and money next week when we are scheduled for two sessions.

Today management gave us their proposal for professional compensation which still includes work beyond the base load for Faculty and Academic Professionals for no compensation—(materially exceeds by another name). The 52-week proposal is still on the table from them, but we are unconvinced by their rationale.  So, we bargain on.  Jeff Lang, MAHE VP is chairing our crisis committee and will have updates about crisis activities.

 

7/1/2016

Health Care TA:

As you know our recent decision about the Health Care TA (Tentative Agreement) means that we must bargain further before our health care agreement expires on Dec 31, 2016.  Right now MESSA is in the process of re-rating us as a smaller group.  After that is done we will be meeting with PTCTU and FMA–groups who also rejected the TA–and then we will be meeting with management and negotiating further.

Contract Negotiations

On Tuesday, June 28, 2016, we signed a TA on Article IV – Participation in Governance.  We also gave management’s team detailed salary schedules—which would result in raises for all faculty and academic professionals.

We have been exchanging proposals about seat limits—we have made some gains there; however management is pushing to have auditing students, particularly those who are attending on an LCC tuition waiver, not count for class limits.  We disagree with this proposal.

On June 30, 2016, we presented counter proposals on Article XXIII – Employee Leaves;  Article XXV – Grievance Procedure; and Article XXVII – Good Faith.

We are scheduled to discuss Article XI – Workload the week after the Fourth of July and expect to hear from management about economics at that time.

We will be staying in touch about the details of  negotiations and are aiming to have a complete agreement for you to review in August.

 

Sally’s statement to the Board of Trustees June 20, 2016:

Hello, I am Sally Pierce, President of LCC-MAHE.  First let me begin with a correction.  I believe I falsely said at your emergency meeting where you chose to move to the WMHP for the unrepresented that WMHP had declared bankruptcy.  Doug Durks corrected me at a meeting the following day when he told me that what happened at the end of the WMHP’s first year was that the 8 participating institutions voluntarily put in 1.8 million dollars in to help support the pool.  I stand corrected.

Here’s what I’d like you to consider tonight.  We have been telling you about the hardship that your decision to stay with the health care hard-cap is creating for the people we represent. We are also telling you that your team’s choice of acting separately from the entire health care task force has been affecting our ability to represent our members well.  We have questions about how the drug formulary will be implemented—we have become convinced that the WMHP is a lesser plan though we get that it is often difficult to match up health-care plans. We have already missed the July billing date for MESSA so we can’t possibly change carriers if we want to before Aug. Today when we counted ballots MAHE had a tie.

So what can be done?  MAHE is running a re-vote.  We expect that to be completed by a week from Tuesday– You can choose to make employees a priority and change your financial commitment to union employees. Do this in healthcare and the rest of our our contracts.  Make conscious choices to support the employees who serve LCC’s students. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

As you may know on Monday night the LCC-Board agreed to join the West Michigan Health Insurance Pool.

LCC’s management’s teem caucused with the WMHIP without labor, and we are only now getting information about their pool and insurance offerings. We don’t have complete information to share at this point, but we are concerned by what we do know about this organization’s past history, which includes underfunding premiums, bankruptcy, and sometimes going to the participating organizations for additional cash; however, since that the college has committed to this pool for the next three years we hope that they have worked out their financial issues. (As a participant LCC will have to accept whatever the rates are and risks of the entire pool for the next three years.)  At this point the WMHIP plan is only for the non-bargaining administrators.

Some of you may recall that LCC’s management experimented with having their administrators use another Blue-cross product years ago, but then joined other employees enrolled in MESSA when rates jumped.   We plan to review their products with other union representatives, but we know that if we change to the WMHP we would lose MESSA coverage. We are of course, cautious about such a move.  (If we made such a major shift MAHE members and the HCTF would have to ratify such a change.)

Tuesday we bargained all day on MAHE contract issues, and at noon the complete Health Care Task Force met with MESSA representatives.  We expect that there will be another MESSA product to consider soon, and some sort of open enrollment option before the July rate increases take effect. We will let you know as soon as we have this information.

Friday  afternoon (May 27, 2016) we are scheduled to meet as an entire Health Care Task force discuss the options, and I hope negotiate. If the college chose to move off PA 152’s hard cap and move to an 80/ 20 split, they could help alleviate some of the pain the current rates are causing; we are urging the LCC Board to make this change, but the college’s representatives are resistant to exploring this option.

Our MAHE bargaining team remains committed to completing our entire contract by August.  Please stay connected to us via e-mail and our web-site.

 

Here is President Sally Pierce’s statement to the LCC Board of Trustees on May 16, 2016:

May 16, 2016

Hello Board Members and LCC Executives,

I am Sally Pierce, President of LCC-MAHE, the faculty association. Tonight I want to address a budget matter. As you know we are bargaining a successor agreement for our current contract which will expire in August.

Last week when I was talking with a fellow MAHE member she said, “It’s been a long time since employees at LCC felt like a priority.”  She’s right. Our past wages haven’t kept up with the cost of living, or our comparable colleges. This has been hard on both full and part-time MAHE members. And through no fault of ours, those of us who use the college’s health care have faced astronomical increases.

Although, historically, the employees of LCC worked to pass the current operating millage, it seems like even though the tax base is recovering, fairly adjusting pay for employees is the last concern on many of your minds. (This was abundantly clear, after sitting through a complete budget workshop a few days ago and a partial one earlier that day.)  I did hear someone say that employees take care of customers, and since our customers are students the implication was that we need to be a priority, but it was chilling to note that no one else spoke up to concur.

Please remember that faculty and other employees are the front-line contact LCC’s students. We are the people who will help change the culture of this institution and lead LCC to greater student success. We want to do that, but we need financial support, so we don’t have to worry about our ability to support our own families.  I am staring at future tuition bills since Caitlin just graduated from LCC, last Sunday.

Every family I know is facing financial challenges. Last week I talked to a full time faculty member who plans to work a construction job this summer as well as teach on-line for LCC to help make ends meet for his young family. He reminded me that some of our younger faculty are paying student loans and the latest premium shares for health care are making some faculty re-consider their ability to continue to work in the profession they love.

So please remember us, and make employee wages and total compensation a priority as you create the next budget for LCC. Consider your choices and what they show about your values, and LCC’s values and priorities.  Please choose to make settling all contracts a priority. Thank you.

5/18/2016

Today at the bargaining table we discussed Seat Maximums and Employment Practices (Article XIII) and Participation in Governance (IX). We also discussed the CPI (Consumer Price Index) for faculty.

This past Monday night I delivered the attached statement to the LCC Board of Trustees. The issue is that the increases in health care and other costs of living aren’t necessarily included in the indexes that are being referenced by the basic CPI-U.   (See that message on the home page)