august 29, 2017 round up: You can help hurricane harvey victims

As we read and watch news stories and hear from friends and family in Texas, many of us are inspired to help.  AFT's Disaster Relief Fund is one way to support our colleagues in Houston and the surrounding areas.  See below.

In solidarity,



August 28, 2017

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey continues to wreak havoc on Texas. Officials are estimating that it will drive 30,000 people into shelters, with as many as 450,000 victims seeking some sort of disaster assistance. And this crisis may continue to worsen, as area rivers are predicted to crest later this week.

CFT supports the national AFT in its call to assist those in need, and we urge all members to consider donating to the AFT Disaster Relief Fund to help out our sisters and brothers and the communities they serve.

In Unity, 

Joshua Pechthalt
President, CFT 


August 24, 2017 Round up: PFF meeting today

PFF's first meeting of the semester is this afternoon, Thursday the 24th of August, at the off-campus location: 370 Mulberry Dr., #E, San Marcos. The agenda can be found here.


August 21, 2017 Round up: first mtg of the year; 15% off your phone bill

PFF holds its first regularly scheduled meeting of the year this Thursday, September 24, from 4-6p at the off-campus site: 370 Mulberry Dr., #E, San Marcos.  We will email the final Agenda prior to the meeting.

We have scheduled ON-campus office hours this semester.  Please come visit us with your questions or concerns at MD-330 on the following days & times (also posted on the web site):

  • Mondays        10-11a & 4-5p
  • Tuesdays        1:30-2:30p & 4:30-5:30p
  • Wednesdays   10-11a & 12:30-2:30p
  • Thursdays       1-3p
  • Fridays            11a-1p

You could receive 15% off your cell phone service!  AT&T offers 15% off to union members, so if that is your provider or you think it's worth switching to them (they'll waive the activation fee), visit . Reply to your Organizer, Debbie Forward, at this email if you don't know your AFT membership #.  


august 15, 2017 Round Up: Automatic Insurance Policy, Plenary

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) just announced that you can automatically be covered for a $5,000 accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance policy.  Every PFF member automatically qualifies for this through our local’s AFT affiliation.  
For details click here.

To receive this benefit, you must be an official PFF member, with your signed form on file with us.  Paying dues does not make you a PFF member - we must have your signed membership form.  Simply reply to Debbie at this email to check your status.

We look forward to seeing you later this week!  PFF will be at Plenary’s main events with goody bags for you, so please come find us.  We’ll also be raffling off pairs of tickets to the Padres Labor Day game to part-time and full-time faculty, so look for the email we sent on Monday for entry details.


August 14, 2017 Round-up: Union withdraws accreditation lawsuit

Many of you will recall the disruption that was caused in 2013 when the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), under then-director Barbara Beno, terminated the accreditation of City College of San Francisco (CCSF).  Since then, California local unions with the support of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) have battled the unfair and illegal decision in court.  The court case revealed other egregious and unlawful acts that caused grave harm to the California Community College system. 

Below is CFT President Josh Pechthalt’s announcement that CFT has withdrawn its lawsuit against ACCJC because the accrediting agency has agreed to change accreditation policy in ways that will benefit community colleges.  
ACCJC’s improvements and new leadership are a direct result of the unions’ determined work to right a wrong.  Like many of our state’s community college unions over the last four years, PFF protested in Sacramento. In addition, we brought CCSF leaders to our campus for a forum where they outlined the details of their accreditation challenge to a standing-room-only audience. To aid the cause, our then-Co-President, Shannon Lienhart, testified at a hearing in Washington, D.C.  Every moment and action mattered. 

It’s the union’s job to protect, resolve, and unify, even if it takes four years to reach justice!  Thank you to those who took action, paid attention, and supported during this time.  We should all be proud to be a part of CFT.

In solidarity,


Dear Local President: 

I have exciting news. On Friday we signed an agreement with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to withdraw our lawsuit.  In exchange, the ACCJC agreed to a number of important accreditation policy changes—some of which have already occurred.  As the agreement notes, “These changes have institutionalized many of the remedies which were initially sought by the plaintiffs at the time of the filing of this case.”

The lawsuit was but one part of a multifaceted campaign that began when the ACCJC made its unfair and illegal decision in 2013 to terminate the accreditation of City College of San Francisco. That decision was only the agency’s most egregious action after years of punitive, arbitrary, inconsistent and expensive misbehavior affecting many community colleges across the state, including letting Compton College languish for years outside accreditation.

Since no one had ever fought back against an accreditation decision of this nature before, it took a great deal of research, planning, and organizing to create a path to victory. Ultimately, this campaign involved the courts, the media, the streets, the state community college board of governors and chancellor, and elected leaders.  

While the greatest burden was shouldered by CCSF faculty and AFT 2121, our campaign could not have reached its successful conclusion without the help of CFT leaders, members and staff across the state and, crucially, support from the national AFT. 

The CFT’s lawsuit sought to force the agency to stop violating its own rules and the rule of law.  ACCJC’s attorneys used every tactic in the book to delay our day in court.  

Last year, however, changes in Commission leadership led to fruitful discussions.  As a result, CFT withdrew its lawsuit in response to ACCJC’s adoption of a series of reforms.  While we did not get every reform we would have liked, the changes are substantial, and will result in a far more transparent and accessible accreditor.
The importance of this struggle is that it not only saved City College of San Francisco, which is now accredited for seven years, and brought re-accreditation to Compton College.  It has also put in place a much more fair accreditation system for all California’s community colleges.  This could not have happened without a strong union and a determined membership.
While we believe the new president of the ACCJC and the commission itself are committed to a more collaborative approach, it will take continuous monitoring to make sure these changes take place as our agreement intends. Today,we have reason to celebrate. 
In Unity,
Josh Pechthalt, President
California Federation of Teachers


July 27, 2017 Round-up: State Budget Gains, Free Padres Tickets

Last month, Governor Brown approved the final budget package, which includes $8.6 billion.  That’s an increase of $270.2 million over the 2016 Budget Act!  Our state union, CFT, played a major role in securing these gains.  Highlights include:

  • $183.6 million to support increased community college operating expenses in areas such as employee benefits, facilities, professional development, covering faculty from PT to FT, and other general expenses
  • $5 million additional (70% increase) for the Part-Time Faculty Office Hours program (total annual statewide funding is now at $12.12 million)
  • Details are at

PFF’s ticket giveaway to the Padres Labor Day baseball game happens again this year!  Look for details to roll out on Monday.  At Plenary we’ll raffle off pairs of tickets to PFF members.  This has become a super fun tradition!


July 17, 2017 Round-Up: Negotiations Update

We hope you’re staying cool this very hot summer!

PFF has already engaged in Negotiations for the 2017-18 contract, and will be meeting weekly from here on out.  Jenny Fererro is the lead negotiator, serving alongside fellow full-time faculty member Teresa Laughlin and part-time faculty members Colleen Bixler and Barbara Baer.  District representatives Shayla Sivert and Ron Perez are working with the District’s lawyer.

Our priorities include negotiating the part-time job security language (SB 1379), increasing the paid office hours for part-time instructors, maintaining health benefits, and increasing salary for all faculty.

Remember that only official PFF members may vote on contract approval!  If you have questions about your membership status, please reply here, and our Organizer will get back to you.


MAY 22, 2017 Round-Up: Committee Representatives; AFT Benefits

As we all wind down the semester, PFF has a few announcements:

Would you like to be a PFF representative on the Catastrophic Leave Bank or the Accreditation Steering Committee?  Please contact PFF Organizer Debbie Forward at this email address.

Our membership is growing - and you don’t want to miss out on the incredible benefits for which you are already paying!  You can check your PFF membership status, or how to access your benefits, by replying to this email.  If you know you need to send in a membership form, it’s attached.

PFF leadership continues working throughout the summer, addressing fall planning, contract negotiations, grievance matters, and any issues you need to discuss.  Please reach out your Co-Presidents:

  • Teresa Laughlin, Full-Time Co-President
  • Colleen Bixler, Part-Time Co-President


May 16, 2017 ROUND-UP:  Data Breach, Pay Inequities

New Executive Board members were installed at last week's PFF meeting, where colleagues also celebrated Shannon Lienhart's 10+ years of dedication to faculty!  Check the newsletter in your campus mail for the 2017-18 slate and other news.

Current issues we're working with include:

  • Faculty compensation for the data breach
  • Pay inequities for some coaches and part-time faculty in Athletics - Grievance officers will begin communications with Administration to resolve the disparity

If you haven't yet heard, an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed which allows full-time, non-tenure track faculty to apply for a lateral transfer.

PFF Agendas and Minutes are regularly updated on the web site:

Be sure to pick up your PFF Commencement '17 Newsletter in campus mail!


September 16, 2016 Round-Up: the Budget, the Governing Board Mtg, and Class Cancellations


The Budget

On September 13, the Governing Board adopted the 2016-17 Budget, which was created under the supervision of Vice President Ron Perez, Director of Financial Services Carmen Coniglio, and Budget and Payroll Manager Brandi Taveuveu.  From their incredible work comes a few highlights:

  • The team identified over $6M of additional monies for our General Fund.  What was supposed to be a $15.3M ending balance is now over $21.8M.  When you see the almost 2” thick printed Budget, you'll feel the devoted work this team has done, and we all know what that money means to our campus!  
  • The District has an additional $12M in one-time funds that are part of the Fund 41 Capital Outlays Budget, bringing the total “cushion” to nearly $35,000,000.
  • Another surprising number is $202,832 that Instruction had in surplus from 2015-16.  This figure includes $167,000 earmarked for instructional travel expenses, $16,000 for instructional supplies, and $19,000 for tutoring.  This $202,832 has now been absorbed into the ending fund balance.  

We thank Perez, Coniglio, and Taveuveu for their hard work!

The 9/13/16 Governing Board Meeting

Noteworthy from Tuesday’s Governing Board meeting:

  • President Superintendent Joi Blake shared news of recent meetings.  She, the San Marcos Mayor, and the CSUSM President are outlining ideas to partner with local officials.  She has also reached out to local Native American tribes to rebuild relationships with Palomar.  
  • Faculty Senate President Travis Ritt, acting on behalf of the Senate, contested an item on the Consent Agenda.  The Administration and the Governing Board respected the wishes of the faculty, and also asked that it be pulled.
  • PFF Co-President Shannon Lienhart voiced concerns regarding early class cancellations (which PFF has begun to explore in its blog  Board members and President Blake listened intently and requested additional, related information from the District in regards to this practice.  

PFF is pleased that the faculty voice is being heard, and we all look forward to progress!


“Your Class: Cancelled"

Remember to check out PFF’s blog on class cancellations - we just posted again: