As summer comes to a close and Fall is almost upon us, the NCCFT Executive Committee would like to update you on our activities since the end of the Spring semester. Your Executive Committee has been very busy with Union business during this time. Please click the link below to open our Fall Welcome Letter and read about our recent work, ongoing activities, recent retirees, new hires, and the Fall 2014 calendar.
To Find Your Senate District go to: http://www.nysenate.gov/senators
Many of our members’ homes on Long Island took a terrible beating from the recent torrential rain storm (13.6 inches of rain were recorded in 4 hours in the Islip area). Some of the pictures on television were reminiscent of the devastation caused by Sandy.
Members of NYSUT locals on Long Island and in other areas of the state affected by the recent flooding can access the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund application and instructions on how to make donations at: www.nysut.org/disasterrelief.
- On Monday August 18, 2014 the NYS AFL-CIO C.O.P.E. Convention in New York City was attended by delegates NCCFT President Debra DeSanto, Carmine DeSanto, Dawn Smith and Donna Hope.
- Over 1,000 delegates and alternates attended the convention of which NYSUT, an affiliate of the state AFL-CIO, was represented at the convention by nearly 400 delegates.
- Because of the strong numbers of participants, solidarity and support, we successfully carried our message from NYSUT’s Endorsement Conference to the NYS AFL-CIO. This is proof that our Union is strongest when our members are engaged and mobilized.
- There are 63 Senate and 150 Assembly races to watch in 2014. The New York State AFL-CIO endorsed state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for reelection this fall.
- One of the most heated challenges was that of Senate District 8. Dave Dennenberg won the endorsement by a tight two-thirds vote.
- Notably missing from the list was Andrew Cuomo, a Democratwho was endorsed in 2010. The New York State AFL-CIO did not endorse Cuomo in the race for governor. Democratic candidates have long relied on support from organized labor, but Cuomo has had a more contentious relationship with unions.
Frank Frisenda, NCCFT VP and VOTE COPE Coordinator, and Dawn Smith, NCCFT PAC Co-Chair, attended the NYSUT Conference on Endorsements 2014 in Albany on August 11 and 12.
- For the past several months, the NYSUT Board of Directors and Board PAC leaders vet candidates to make endorsement recommendations for Congress, Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, Senate and Assembly
- On Monday, these endorsements were presented to the V/C Coordinators and ED PAC leaders. This was a lively discussion and several changes were made to the NYS Senate and Assembly endorsements
- Afterwards, on Monday evening, we all boarded buses and went to the steps of the NYS Education Department for a rally opposing the privatization of Public Education – “Public education, NOT private profits!”
- Tuesday morning the local Presidents or their designees, ED PAC leaders, V/C Coordinators, NYSUT leaders and staff attended a “Fall Election Discussion” meeting to discuss the process. This discussion was dominated by various proposals as to the endorsement of Governor. There was NO support for Cuomo
- Afterwards, we broke into workshops. Frank attended the workshop describing NYSUT’s current legal challenges: Tax-Cap, AARP, Pearson gag-order, Wright v State of NY and Davids v State of NY (this is the Campbell Brown inspired attack on due process aka the Vergara copycat suit). It is notable that NYSUT is being proactive in fighting back politically and legally on issues that are near and dear to us. Going to the NYSUT website and signing up for Member Action Center, will keep members informed and promote activism
- Dawn attended the “7 strategies for Using Social and Mainstream Media to Engage your members” workshop on using Social Media. They discussed using Facebook because it is the prime social network and why locals should have a Facebook page and use it often. The workshop covered using images, scheduling advance content, handling criticism, using Google alerts and keeping out of trouble
- We then broke out in Regional “meeting and recommendations” sessions (Nassau/Suffolk) and discussed the VC/PAC updated endorsements. Dawn and Frank argued successfully for candidates that have been friends to NCCFT. More on this at another time. Again, the process of the Governor’s endorsement became heated and went into overtime for close to two hours. Other meetings had to continue without the LI delegation, but NYSUT held off any discussions that impacted us until we completed our process.
- Our endorsement recommendations, along with all the other regional recommendations, will go to the NYSUT Board of Directors on Wednesday for their consideration and final decisions. These decisions will be brought to the AFL/CIO convention next week and hopefully the NYS House of Labor will stand together. We shall see.
NYSUT endorsements will be published as soon as they are finalized.
Watch for a follow-up report on the NYS AFL-CIO COPE Convention to be attended by delegates NCCFT President Debra DeSanto, Carmine DeSanto, Dawn Smith and Donna Hope.
Today the full Legislature of Nassau County met and approved the NCCFT CBA. It was a long, complex and time-consuming process. A special thank you to those members of the NCCFT who were also in attendance at today’s meeting.
After last week’s Legislative Committee meetings and in anticipation of approval by the full body, the NCCFT office contacted NCC’s Interim VP of Finance to secure dates for payment of retroactive monies.
We were informed that there is still a lengthy process before any payments can be made.
We will update you when additional information is received.
The process to get the CBA approved by the county is complex and time consuming. There is much behind the scene work that goes into placing the CBA on the legislative calendar and moving the item out of the Legislative Committees. I have been working very closely with all parties to move the process along.
Today, Jim Hoyt, Caroline Falconetti and I spent the day in Mineola attending the Legislative Committee meetings. In addition to attending the sessions, we were there to address any last minute concerns.
The item was approved at the committee level and will now be moved to the full legislature for approval.
Additional details to follow.
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos’s Report “Falling Student Outcomes at Nassau Community College, 2009-2012” is troubling in so many ways. Here are some key points for discussion.
· We believe this report exceeds the responsibility and competence of the Comptroller’s Office. The Campus has been addressing this issue for years, a sobering report was made to the faculty and the trustees this past semester and both the faculty and the Board of Trustees are still waiting for the administration to flush out the details. Proposed action is detailed in our new contract and by the Academic Senate. In addition, we have been examining, proposing and implementing strategies to remedy these issues for years at both the departmental and college wide levels.
· The time period encompasses SIX years of ZERO increases in contributions from the County. The College has not failed the students, the County has.
- For half of the years cited we had CUTS from New York State. We are still below 2007 FTE rates. State Aid for 2015 is set at $2,497 per FTE; an increase of $75 or 3.1% over the prior year. Although this is an increase, the rate is still lower than the rate was in 2007-eight years earlier.
- These reductions and freezes have resulted in an unconscionable increase in the students’ share of overall costs. Regardless of how these funding inconsistencies are explained, the original law was written to provide for 1/3 share of the cost by the State, 1/3 share of the cost by Student and 1/3 share of the cost by the local sponsor. Furthermore, as a full opportunity Community College, the States share should be 40%.
- Cuts in funding have resulted in a 10% decrease in full time faculty, overloaded classes, fewer course offerings, few, in any, tutorial centers and curtailment of hours and services in all student services offices -Admissions, Testing, Advisement, Financial Aid, Registrar , SPS, etc.
- The time period cited in the Comptroller’s report encompasses perhaps the most dramatic crash of the stock market and the economy and its very slow recovery starting in 2008.
- This time period encompasses an entirely new management information system (Banner) and a new Director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. Data from the Legacy System is not available for comparison. Perhaps they are sending incorrect information to IPEDS.
- Drop in high school enrollments has affected admissions though we are still over 22,000 students.
- There has been a major change in enrollment from full time to part time students. Part time students are much more difficult to track and have sporadic enrollment and obviously take longer to graduate.
- The Affordable Care Act means that students no longer need to be full time, or even attend college at all in order to qualify for health care.
- In general, the data and the report do not correspond with our experiences with students. We just had a graduating class of 3,300 students, we send thousands of students to private and SUNY colleges every year and they are excellently prepared and successful at their 4 year institutions. Various surveys indicate most students have had a positive experience while attending Nassau.
- Finally, this issue of retention, graduation and transfer are problematic system-wide in Public Education. From Common Core, Mandatory Testing and the Tax-Cap to reduced funding in Higher Education, a decrease in Full Time Faculty, a decrease in services and a never ending crisis of incompetence, transient administrations at every level and ill-conceived initiatives by political operatives in the State Capitol just add to all our additional concerns.
We agree with the Comptroller that a permanent President is needed at Nassau Community College and we are all too aware of the dysfunction on this campus since President Sean Fanelli retired. However, reading the Comptroller’s report and watching the interview, he mentioned that a permanent president would be able to make “unpopular” decisions. This statement belies his understanding of how this campus functions through shared governance, accrediting bodies and a CBA. In addition, just as the College’s “retention report” lacks any details, so does this report. It is unfortunate the Comptroller does not recognize the value of our faculty, the number of Distinguished Faculty, Chancellor awardees and other meritorious achievements. Nor, does he mention the success of our remedial students and honors students as well as the countless initiatives and special programs that so many of us have participated in to insure the successes that have occurred. There is so much more that needs to be discussed and will be discussed in the Fall semester. It is interesting to note, these discussions were planned and agreed to long before the Comptroller’s report. Why then….?
The NCCFT Executive Committee