Early this morning we became aware that Republicans in the House and Senate are holding any potential budget deal hostage for legislation that would end portions of Connecticut’s collective bargaining laws and weaken others. (Click here to read this morning’s CT Mirror story.)  There is a fair deal available that would protect healthcare for seniors, and protect aid to and cities, but Republicans won’t support it unless it take rights away from working families.

Their proposals include a ban on collective bargaining on pensions and health care after 2027, removal of overtime from pension calculations after 2027 (especially bad for those workers doing hazardous duty), no COLA for retirees after 2027, and a new rule for cities and towns establishing  an “irrebuttable presumption” that 15% of a municipality’s operating budget “is not available for payment of the cost of any item subject to negotiation or arbitration.” Could your town provide raises or improvements in benefits if their budgets were effectively shrunk by 15%? Could the state implement a similar restriction?

The final hours of the 2018 legislative session are likely to be the most perilous for us.  Some members of the General Assembly think the only way to balance our state’s budget is on the backs of public employees. We cannot let them strip away, alter, or diminish our collective bargaining rights, nor the health care benefits and pensions we earned through our years of hard work and service to our state, our cities and our towns.

Click here to contact your legislators

What’s at stake? Anti-union legislators want to:

  • Eliminate matters of retirement, overtime in pension calculations, and health care from collective bargaining;
  • Change the benefit formula for state pensioners, including eliminating a COLA until the fund reaches 80% funded and the General Assembly approves a COLA (this would end COLAs for years);
  • Eliminate overtime from pension benefit calculations, heavily impacting hazardous duty positions like correction police and health care where overtime is often mandated.
  • Make it impossible to provide municipal employees a raise.

Call or email your legislators today.

If politicians do not hear from you, that means they are only hearing from right-wing extremist groups like the Yankee Institute. And, the folks at the Yankee Institute are telling them that your health care plan is too generous or your pension is unsustainable. Too many politicians will listen to this false propaganda. And if you have already spoken with your legislator this session, contact them again. Believe me, the anti-public employee lobbyists are speaking to your legislator every day.

Clearly, there is a fair agreement to be made that protects the services people need, but corporate conservatives at the legislature won’t vote for any agreement unless it hurts working people. So please pick up your phone or turn on your computer and contact the General Assembly members who are supposed to represent you in the State Capitol.

If you do not know who your state legislators are you can click here to find them. These are the caucus phone numbers:

  • Senate Democrats Office: 860.240.8600
  • Senate Republicans Office: 860.240.8800
  • House Democrats Office: 860.240.8500
  • House Republicans Office: 860.240.8700

Tell them to not take away our freedom to unite for a better life, and to improve our communities, through collective bargaining. Community Colleges are also facing MILLIONS in funding losses. 

Together we will stop these attacks and protect our rights and freedoms.

Thank you.

May 9th, 2018

Posted In: Political Action

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As you heard last week, NEASC did not approve the CSCU plan to consolidate the community colleges. While many of you breathed a sigh of relief, others may be more fearful after President Ojakian threatened to close campuses if funding cannot be secured for the system. Regardless of how you felt about Students First, it is clear that the system needs money to continue to operate while determining next steps. As faculty and staff, we certainly hope to influence the next steps. But there is one thing we all need to do right now:
CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS and ask both your state representative and state senator to support increased funding for the community colleges. Calling is best, but email is better than nothing. 
There is one week left of the legislative session. You can find your legislators here. You can use this data to show your legislators how many Community College faculty, staff, and students live in the cities and towns they represent and why their investment is so critical. They cannot allow the BOR to double tuition for our students and state employees have done their part to save the state money by the SEBAC 2017 Agreement. (As you will see below, we also ask that you call legislators about not attaching any bad amendments regarding your collective bargaining rights to legislation).
Please take the time to do this one ask of calling your legislators. The more people they hear from, the more attention it will gain from legislators.
Your Rights Under the Contract
While we cannot predict what the state budget will bring next week, we want to assure you of the job security rights under the 4Cs Contract.
  • Job Security: There shall be no loss of employment for permanent employees hired prior to July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2021.
    • Protection from job loss does not apply to:
      • Expiration of a temporary or special appointment (in 1st year),
      • Nonrenewal of a non-tenured employee for performance-related reasons,
      • Termination of grant or other outside funding specified for a particular position; and,
      • Less than 20-hour per week part-time employees.
    • Employees in the 2nd or subsequent special appointment year on the effective date of this Agreement shall be covered by this provision.
    • It does not prevent the BOR from restructuring and eliminating positions provided that the affected employees shall be reassigned or transferred to an existing comparable job in the
      system for which the employee possesses the requisite qualifications and experience. Salary and tenure status shall be preserved. An employee who refuses an offered position shall not be considered a layoff.
What’s Next?
The General Assembly adjourns on Wednesday, May 9, so we will have an answer to whether the state is making this crucial investment in our state’s neediest students. More information to follow next week.
Please feel free to contact us if you are hearing anything about the consolidation. For example, a member heard this week that Goodwin College was buying Tunxis. The BOR cannot sell a campus; it is state-owned, not BOR-owned. The Department of Administrative Services is in charge of all state property. But the 4Cs was able to reach out to the BOR and get written confirmation that this was not true. Again, please feel free to contact the 4Cs office at 860.296.5172 with any questions or concerns during these uncertain times.

May 4th, 2018

Posted In: Political Action

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As our academic semester comes to a close, so is the legislative session. It is a busy time for legislators as they try to finish a state budget and pass legislation. During these chaotic last few days of the session, it is common for legislators to try to attach an amendment to the legislation, hoping it gets passed with little public scrutiny.
The 4Cs and other unions have been fighting all session against the recommendations of the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Growth – a panel dominated by ultra-wealthy Connecticut citizens and CEOs that issued austerity-style recommendations for the Connecticut legislature, including attacks on working and middle class people and tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.
They know they don’t have the votes to pass the whole report, so they may try to slip through some of the worst pieces of the report — like billionaire tax cuts, or eliminating bargaining of pension and health care or slashing $1 billion from public services — as amendments to other legislation.
Please watch this video – which contains comments from a Capital professor and 4Cs member – about why the Commission’s recommendations would hurt Connecticut and working people.

You can use SEBAC’s action network to directly contact your legislators about this report. (While writing your legislators, why not also ask them to support funding for the community colleges? See article above).
Please contact your legislators today!

May 3rd, 2018

Posted In: Collective Bargaining, Political Action

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As you heard last week, NEASC did not approve the CSCU plan to consolidate the community colleges. While many of you breathed a sigh of relief, others may be more fearful after President Ojakian threatened to close campuses if funding cannot be secured for the system. Regardless of how you felt about Students First, it is clear that the system needs money to continue to operate while determining next steps. As faculty and staff, we certainly hope to influence the next steps. But there is one thing we all need to do right now:
CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS and ask both your state representative and state senator to support increased funding for the community colleges. Calling is best, but email is better than nothing. 
There is one week left of the legislative session. You can find your legislators here. You can use this data to show your legislators how many Community College faculty, staff, and students live in the cities and towns they represent and why their investment is so critical. They cannot allow the BOR to double tuition for our students and state employees have done their part to save the state money by the SEBAC 2017 Agreement. (As you will see below, we also ask that you call legislators about not attaching any bad amendments regarding your collective bargaining rights to legislation).
Please take the time to do this one ask of calling your legislators. The more people they hear from, the more attention it will gain from legislators.
Your Rights Under the Contract
While we cannot predict what the state budget will bring next week, we want to assure you of the job security rights under the 4Cs Contract.
  • Job Security: There shall be no loss of employment for permanent employees hired prior to July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2021.
    • Protection from job loss does not apply to:
      • Expiration of a temporary or special appointment (in 1st year),
      • Nonrenewal of a non-tenured employee for performance-related reasons,
      • Termination of grant or other outside funding specified for a particular position; and,
      • Less than 20-hour per week part-time employees.
    • Employees in the 2nd or subsequent special appointment year on the effective date of this Agreement shall be covered by this provision.
    • It does not prevent the BOR from restructuring and eliminating positions provided that the affected employees shall be reassigned or transferred to an existing comparable job in the
      system for which the employee possesses the requisite qualifications and experience. Salary and tenure status shall be preserved. An employee who refuses an offered position shall not be considered a layoff.
What’s Next?
The General Assembly adjourns on Wednesday, May 9, so we will have an answer to whether the state is making this crucial investment in our state’s neediest students. More information to follow next week.
Please feel free to contact us if you are hearing anything about the consolidation. For example, a member heard this week that Goodwin College was buying Tunxis. The BOR cannot sell a campus; it is state-owned, not BOR-owned. The Department of Administrative Services is in charge of all state property. But the 4Cs was able to reach out to the BOR and get written confirmation that this was not true. Again, please feel free to contact the 4Cs office at 860.296.5172 with any questions or concerns during these uncertain times.

May 3rd, 2018

Posted In: BOR, Consolidation, Contract, Political Action

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As you know, the 4Cs is expecting a decision in the the Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME that may change how our union functions in the future (learn more here).
4Cs members will not let any court case stand in the way of our fight for the good union jobs our families, communities, and country need.
One way to show you’re standing up for  your co-workers, your community, and yourself through your union is to take the SEIU Norma Rae Challenge.
Here’s what you can do:

  1. Grab a piece of paper, cardboard, poster board, or anything you can write on, and write “UNION” on the sign!
  2. Raise the sign above your head-you can stand on your desk or chair, or in your work place.
  3. Have a friend take your photo.
  4. Upload to your favorite social media site & share it using the hashtags #Union and #WeRise.
If it is okay for the 4Cs to use the image on our social media channels, please email it to Ellen Benson at ellen@the4cs.org.
americaneedsunionjobsunion

April 19th, 2018

Posted In: SEIU, Unions

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Many of you are preparing your Additional Responsibility (AR) proposals for Academic 2018-19. While the original contract language for AR is still in effect, the process and deadline has changed. You must make the decision to perform AR for the following year or opt to teach a 5th course for $2,500 in lieu of AR by May 15.
If you do choose to perform AR, you must submit your proposal by June 1. By contract, if your report is not submitted on time, management may assign your duties. The employer must notify you of approval or denial of your proposal by September 1. If your AR proposal is denied, you may consult with the employer and/or your union representative to adjust your proposal.
In addition to the activities listed in the contract, many members forget to list qualifying activities. Some common activities forgotten that would qualify for AR include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Significant leadership on a major committee or a significant time commitment resulting from membership on a committee
  • Teaching courses fully online (OLCR or ONLN)
  • Teaching a course that would require a 4th prep for the semester
  • Additional office hours or additional student advising beyond office hours
  • Other activities that address our institutional priorities
If you have any questions, you may reach out to your department chair, program coordinator, or employer for suggestions.

April 19th, 2018

Posted In: Additional Responsibilities, Faculty

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Seven years after the Retirement Service Division asked the IRS for a private letter ruling on the SEBAC ARP Grievance Award (SAG Award), the IRS is in the process of agreeing that the implementation of the SAG Award will not adversely affect the tax-qualified status of the affected plans.
What is this about?
Allegations were made by some higher education employees that they were “steered” by their employer into participating in the Alternate Retirement Plan (ARP). SEBAC filed a grievance which progressed to arbitration and on September 22, 2010, an award was issued. The SAG Award provided that “all ARP members shall be given the one time opportunity to make their irrevocable choice  to either remain in ARP or transfer to the State Employee Retirement System (SERS).”
As mentioned, the implementation was delayed because of the IRS involvement.
Who does this apply to?
All ARP member in higher education who were on active payroll on September 22, 2010 including individuals who have since retired. It does not apply to anyone who has already elected to transfer from ARP to the Hybrid Retirement Plan.
I qualify; what are my choices?
ARP member choices under the SAG Award will be:
  • Remain in ARP; or
  • Transfer from ARP to Hybrid per the 2011 SEBAC Agreement as of the implementation date; or
  • Participate in SERS on a prospective basis as of the implementation dates; or
  • Participate in SERS on a prospective basis as of the implementation date and purchase service credit for past service in ARP.
Please note that transfer into SERS may be only for Tier II or Tier IIA.
What dates are important for this process?
  • August 1, 2018 is the deadline to submit a request for a salary anomaly determination.
  • All salary anomaly determinations must be resolved no later than September 1, 2018.
  • The 90 day window to elect your choice will be from September 14, 2018-December 14, 2018.
  • January 18, 2019 will be the date of implementation. 
How do I find out more information? 
The Retirement Division will be holding several informational presentations at campus locations in April and May. Please review the information provided by the OSC here.
The 4Cs will continue to share information about the SAG Award implementation. There is also more information available on the Comptroller’s page here.

April 5th, 2018

Posted In: SAG Award, SEBAC

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The 4Cs, CSU-AAUP, and UConn-AAUP will be hosting a legislative breakfast and lobby day on Wednesday, April 11 from 9:30am-noon. We invite you to join us at 9:30am in the 2nd Floor Atrium of the Legislative Office Building.
Following the breakfast, we plan to have meetings with legislators from areas surrounding our colleges as well as legislators that serve on the Higher Education & Employment Advancement and Labor & Public Employees Committees.
We invite you to join us to let legislators know how public higher education benefits Connecticut!
If you plan to attend, please register here, so that we are able to schedule meetings for you and your elected officials.

March 29th, 2018

Posted In: Political Action

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Communities with more college graduates are thriving communities. They have lower rates of poverty, less reliance on public benefits, overall physically healthier populations, and higher incomes.
Please show your support and sign our Thrive Together Connecticut petition to urge our lawmakers to increase funding for public higher education. An investment in public higher education is an investment in Connecticut’s future.

March 29th, 2018

Posted In: Political Action

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For the new Emergency Sick Leave Bank, everyone should note that:
  • On March 31st of each year of the agreement, all full-time members who have not contributed to the Emergency Sick Leave Bank (ESLB) shall have three of their accrued sick days assigned to the ESLB.
  • Bargaining unit members with a sick leave balance of 105 hours or more on March 31st will have these three days deducted immediately.
  • Bargaining unit members with less than 105 sick leave hours on March 31st, will have 1 day deducted quarterly.
  • New hires will have one day deducted in each of the 9th, 10th, and 11th month accruals.
The donation of three days only occurs one time, but upon retirement, all members’ sick days in excess of 240 shall be assigned to the ESLB.

March 21st, 2018

Posted In: Sick Leave Bank

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