President's Report

You will find below my final monthly report of 2009. Feel free to forward questions and concerns to me via email, and I will reply to you or to the whole unit as appropriate. For your convenience, a list of frequently used acronyms was also posted.

QCCPA President's Report December 20, 2009

President's Report Review

The written monthly president's report is more an improvised work-in-progress than anything set in stone. This report marks the second anniversary of my practice of sending out written reports to the membership rather than taking time in the monthly meeting to report out. Some of you will recall that a terrible snow storm in December, 2007 prevented the QCCPA from holding its regular monthly meeting. As a result of the cancellation, I wrote up a report and analysis of the pressing issues and distributed this report to the membership, so as not to lose the opportunity of having the Association's viewpoint being represented during the interval between the December meeting and the next regular meeting in February the following year. I have kept up the practice because I find that it is the most effective way to keep the 500+ members of the full time and part time QCCPA/ MCCC unit apprised of things that may be of concern to them.

Dean/Coordinator Issue Resolution and QCCPA Methodology

As you may have assumed by the emails which you were blind-cc-ed, the issue with the Dean of the Humanities and the Work Area of Developmental English is being resolved between the Dean, the Work Area Coordinator and members of the Developmental English Work Area without further Association intervention.

At the union meeting on December 10, 2009, several unit members voiced strong opposition to and criticism of the tactic I used of openly questioning the actions and decisions of the dean when it appeared that this issue could have been dealt with quietly and privately, without publicly embarrassing her. Why, I was asked, did I not simply have a private face-to-face conversation with the dean? I would think that those who chose to call me out and criticize my actions and decisions publicly in front of the assembled members instead of privately in a face-to-face conversation with me would know why. Public confrontation and open challenge are sometimes necessary.

Those who chose to publicly criticize me at the meeting were probably operating under the assumption that I was not likely to respond to private exhortation without there being some amount of public pressure. This is a valid approach and assumption. And was this tactic effective? Will I, for fear of more public criticism, now be more circumspect and avoid publicly challenging and embarrassing institutional leaders when they have engaged in actions that have generated a significant outcry from unit members? If what I had done was to unilaterally engage in what appears to be favoritism - appoint someone, midway through the semester, to teach courses s/he has never taught before, or to give huge raises and promotions to a select few - fear of the ensuing public outcry might make me think twice before doing that again. But taking effective union action off the table is not an option for any sitting Chapter President.

Personally, I have been treated very well at QCC. However, I do not assume that everyone is treated fairly just because I have been. Union leaders' perspective of reality is, by virtue of the roles we play, different from that of a non-union leader. Members who are treated fairly and equitably by the administration rarely come to me or other union leaders to tell us this. Instead, on an almost daily basis, unit members inform me and other union leaders of instances of deplorable working conditions, of disrespect and unfairness, and of capricious, arbitrary actions based on what appears to be favoritism, retaliation, or administrative incompetence. Sometimes it is more a matter of perception than truth, and a reality check sufficiently handles the matter. Sometimes there is truth behind the allegations and where the Association can, it does respond. How it responds is a judgment call.

I do understand that these are my views and there are those who disagree. The great thing about the democratic nature of unions it that the leadership is elected by members, and any member can put him/herself up for election. When the college president, vice presidents or academic deans make decisions we don't like, we cannot simply vote them out office and take their place. However, unit members can do this with me and all the elected officers of the Association local and statewide, and replace us with themselves or others more agreeable to their viewpoint. The term ends for all the elected Association leaders this spring, (except for the DCE Representative who is elected in the fall). Whether you agree or disagree, consider getting your name on the ballot this spring or otherwise becoming more involved in the Association especially if you have a strong opinion about what it is doing one way or the other.

MTA Annual Meeting on May 7-8, 2010

Please consider putting your name on the ballot to be a delegate to the MTA Annual meeting where, among other things, you will be given the opportunity to vote for the Higher Education representative to the Executive Committee Massachusetts Teachers Association. MCCC Vice President, Donnie McGee, has announced that she is going to run for the Higher Education position on the Executive Committee.

Some of you have heard me voice my frustration about how the community colleges have been often ignored when Massachusetts Higher Education issues get aired. It is therefore important that the higher education representative to the MTA Executive Committee be from the MCCC. Donnie has certainly proven herself more than capable of representing the interests of the community colleges and all members of Massachusetts Higher Ed institutions. She is not running unopposed, so every vote will help.

The MTA Annual Meeting is held in the Hynes Conventions Center. Delegates are given $50/day to offset expenses and those who live more than 25 miles from Boston are given a hotel room for free (double occupancy) in the Hilton, Marriott or Sheraton Hotel in Copley Square.

I am happy to get more information to you if you are interested in attending this meeting or would like to know more about this election process. Information can also be found on the MTA Website.

DCE and Day Contracts

I forwarded MCCC President Joe LeBlanc's email to you all informing you that the Tentative DCE Agreement has been ratified by those members teaching in DCE who voted. The DCE Agreement is funded by the college presidents at the Massachusetts Community Colleges System (MCCS), so there is little question that this contract will be funded, especially given the record-breaking enrollment increases at most of the campuses.

Funding for the Day Contract is stalled. The governor has signed and submitted all the higher education contracts to the legislature, but the legislature is failing to act. More details will be coming out in the next days and weeks, so keep an eye open for them.

QCCPA "Office Hours"

At the MCCC Board of Directors meeting in November, the Board, on recommendation by the MCCC Finance Committee, approved a reassigned time for each of the two Elected MCCC Representative to the MTA Board of Directors and for each of the three Members-at-large on the MCCC Executive Committee. Since I am an MTA Director and a member-at-large of the Executive Committee, I will be receiving two additional reassigned times in the spring in addition to the one I already have as Chapter President.

As a result of this, as I announced at the November QCCPA meeting, I will be holding union office hours in the spring. Like office hours that we hold for students, these office hours will be times certain that I will be in my office (329A) to meet (in person or on line) with unit members about anything they wish. I have not yet set up the specific times, pending feedback from the membership. Feel free to suggest a time especially if you think you might drop by or log on.

CAS Process

QCC posted a number of positions in the fall that Dennis Fitzgerald flagged as unit positions that were not advertised as such (Outreach and Program Development Specialist, Business Development Specialist, Specialist - Corporate Training, Student Support Tutor (English) Communications Skills Center (P/T), and SABES Associate Coordinator). The new CAS Resolution & Member Accretion Process was therefore initiated. The first step involves an attempt to resolve things informally.

I contacted Associate Vice President of Human Resources, Bill Daring, who declined to allow any but one of the positions (SABES Associate Coordinator ) to be posted as a unit position, and followed up with formal written decisions to this effect.

An appeal of Bill's decision for each of the contested positions were then filed. Members on a statewide joint committee, made up of three representatives from the MCCC and three from the BHE, are currently being trained to deal with these appeals. The committee will be meeting in the spring to make the final unit determination decision regarding the positions. QCCPA's appeals will be the first in the system.

NEA Representative Assembly in New Orleans

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my call for participation at the NEA RA in July 2010. Any member, full time or part time, is eligible to run for a seat on the MTA Delegation to the NEA. The top 15 vote getters from the MCCC and the regional winners each receive $1200 from the MTA/MCCC to attend the RA.

If you are interested in becoming a delegate to the NEA or would like to know more about this, I would be happy to get more information to you. There is also information on the NEA, MTA, and MCCC websites.

Best wishes to for a joyous holiday season and a wonderful new year.

Posted on December 20, 2009 by M. Wong  |  0 comments |  Back to top