Nevada Faculty Alliance
 

NFA News Archive

  • 21 Nov 2016 5:55 PM | David Steel (Administrator)

    The following statement was delivered to the PEBP Board at the 11/17 meeting, by Kent Ervin, on behalf of NFA:

    Good morning. My name is Kent Ervin E R V I N. I am an active participant and today I am speaking on behalf of the Nevada Faculty Alliance, which represents NSHE faculty statewide. My comments are for the record.


    We are concerned that the plan changed proposed in Agenda item 9 represent a significant reduction of benefits and net compensation.  While we appreciate that so-called “excess reserves” are being used to maintain some of the so-called “enhancements”, the net effect is a reduction of benefits.  Excess reserves are simply savings by PEBP due to overaggressive past cuts in benefits and poor cost projections, and enhancements are simply partial restoration of those benefits.  The 2015-2017 plan design, including those enhancements, should serve as the base model moving forward.  Changing plan design year-to-year is confusing for participants and likely contributes to the extremely bad streak of actuarial cost predictions over the past 5 years.


    Regarding the specific proposed cuts, the worst for participants is the increase in deductibles from 1500/3000 to 1600/3200 or higher, well above the HSA minimums for HDHP plans, and the possible decrease of the 80/20 coinsurance rate.  These regressive cuts hit hardest those participants who have the highest health needs and the lowest incomes.  The HDHP out-of-pocket maximums are unaffordable for our starting classified employees.  


    Decreasing HSA/HRA contributions has the same net effect as increasing the deductibles, and is also highly regressive. The reduction or elimination of HSA/HRA contributions for dependents is unfair because the rates and employee premiums are set based on the four tier groups, not the number of dependents. Effectively, you are decreasing the net deductible as the number of dependents increase. The HSA contributions should be a constant percentage of the deductible for all tier groups.  


    The two options for supplemental HSA contributions each have problems. Treating HSA matches differently from HRAs in unfair to those ineligible for HSA.  Tying HSA contributions to a revived wellness program flies in the face of firm legislative guidance not to fund a wellness program and risks legislative pushback on the PEBP program.


    The idea of taking back HRA balances over $5K is penalizing those who have carefully saved up most for future needs, which the proposal encourages for HSA participants. Furthermore, it will fail to realize savings because those participants will spend down their balances as soon as this scheme becomes known.


    Decreasing life insurance to $5K for retirees and $10K would be restoring cuts from previous levels prior to the great recession, $10K/25K.  $5K isn’t even enough for a basic funeral. 


    We are also highly concerned about the changes to retiree subsidies. Would retirees lose their Part B reimbursement?


    Finally, the current proposals do not reflect the potential impacts of a flat state subsidy or a 5% reduction along with the medical cost trends.  You as board members should insist on a report on the full cost of maintain the current plan design including so-called enhancements.  Then we can start from there to address budget realities. The participants and legislators deserve to see the actual state of affairs, rather than have those hidden until it is too late in the process to make informed decisions.


    Thank you. I look forward to working with all of you on behalf of the Nevada Faculty Alliance and NSHE participants.


  • 15 Nov 2016 9:14 AM | David Steel (Administrator)

    Dear colleagues:


    I would like to introduce myself, Kent Ervin, as the legislative liaison for the Nevada Faculty Alliance for the 2017 session of the Nevada legislature. I am a Professor in the Chemistry Department at UNR, starting here in 1990. For NFA, I will be following legislative issues and representing all faculty state-wide to the best of my ability. Here is a post-election update.


    The Nevada Legislature experienced a blue wave in the election, changing the party leadership of both houses:

        Nevada Senate 11-10 Democratic

        Nevada Assembly 27-15 Democratic


    The Democratic majorities mean equal pay and Lily Ledbetter bills and a strengthening of legal redress for employment and civil rights protections--bills that were quashed in the Assembly in 2015 after support for weakened versions in the Senate--will have a good chance of passing. A campus carry bill, which was opposed by NFA last session, is much less likely to be viable.


    Regardless of party affiliations, however, support of higher education is not at the top of priority list for a majority of legislators, and there are old and new legislators who have an incomplete (to be kind) understanding of what university and college faculty do. Changing that is our major challenge.


    What we hear about the Governor's budget, to be presented in January, is not encouraging. Estimates of projected budget deficit range from $400M to $800M, after accommodating case-load growth in Medicaid, K-12 education, and higher education. It is rumored that the Governor's budget is unlikely to include either COLA or merit/steps for state employees, in which case those would have to be added and funded later. Any tax increases would require a two-thirds majority, and it would be a huge surprise if the Governor proposes any. This means a difficult session for the budget.


    We will carefully monitor Bill Draft Requests about reforming or restructuring NSHE.


    At it's meeting on 11/17/2016, the PEBP Board will be considering benefits changes and cuts to meet the Governors request for flat and 5% lower budgets. This will be a big battle just to maintain what we have now.


    The next big event to watch is the Economic Forum revenue projections in early December.


    NFA members will receive periodic updates such as this during the legislative session. I appreciate all feedback. NFA will be seeking your input to your local legislators on issues of critical concern--hope you all will help.


    Best regards,

    Kent Ervin


  • 20 Oct 2016 1:11 PM | David Steel (Administrator)

    NFA's Southern and Northern Political Action Committees have completed their endorsement processes for the upcoming election. We spoke to many candidates about the need to increase funding for higher education, particularly faculty compensation. Our endorsements are as follows:

    South

    Senate:

    District 1: Patricia Spearman

    District 3: Tick Segerblom

    District 4: Kelvin Atkinson

    District 5: Joyce Woodhouse

    District 6: Nicole Cannizzaro

    District 7: David Parks

    District 11: Aaron Ford

    District 18: Alexander Marks


    Assembly:

    District 1: Daniele Monroe-Moreno

    District 3: Nelson Araujo

    District 4: John Piro

    District 5: Brittney Miller

    District 6: William McCurdy II

    District 7: Dina Neal

    District 8: Jason Frierson

    District 9: Steve Yeager

    District 10: Chris Brooks

    District 11: Olivia Diaz

    District 12: James Ohrenschall

    District 14: Maggie Carlton

    District 15: Elliot Anderson

    District 16: Heidi Swank

    District 17: Tyrone Thompson

    District 18: Richard Carrillo

    District 20: Ellen Spiegel

    District 21: Ozzie Fumo

    District 28: Edgar Flores

    District 29: Lesley Cohen

    District 34: Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod

    District 37: Sean Lyttle

    District 42: Irene Bustamante-Adams


    North

    Senate:

    District 13: Julia Ratti

    District 15: No endorsement was made in this race, due to the excellent credentials of both Heidi Gansert and Devon Reese. Both candidates have very good, but different, credentials to serve in the Nevada Senate. Heidi Gansert has extensive experience with legislative matters and knows the NSHE budget process well, having worked for UNR for the past three years. Devon Reese is an articulate, up and coming attorney who voices very strong support for higher education, and is looking for ways to increase funding for the Nevada System of Higher Education.


    Assembly:

    District 24: Amber Joiner

    District 25: Jill Tolles

    District 27: Teresa Benitez Thompson

    District 30: Mike Sprinkle

    District 31: Skip Daly


    Regents

    District 6: Michael Wixom

    District 7: Mark Doubrava

    District 8: Cathy McAdoo

    District 9: Sara LaFrance

    District 11: Jason Geddes


  • 04 Oct 2016 4:07 PM | David Steel (Administrator)

    A Message from Nevada Faculty Alliance President Jim Strange


    October 3, 2016


    I hope everyone’s Fall semester is off to a good start and proceeding smoothly. I wish to tell you about some of the good things the Nevada Faculty Alliance has going on across the state.


    Collective Bargaining


    Faculty at CSN voted to certify collective bargaining in April. This successful campaign was a team effort between NFA members and other faculty at CSN, state NFA led by Executive Director David Steel, and the AAUP. Currently CSN-NFA is assembling its bargaining team and has formally requested to bargain with the CSN administration. Join me in wishing them the best in their effort “at the table.”


    WNC is preparing to enter negotiations for the renewal of their Collective Bargaining Agreement. The overall relationship with the WNC administration is good, and all are hopeful for constructive negotiations.


    Collective bargaining training was held Sep 9th and 10th at CSN. Mike Mauer  from the AAUP led the training. David Steel is planning to give negotiation training to chapters in the north based on these training sessions.


    Preparation for the 2017 Legislative Session


    The NFA currently has a promising lead on a lobbyist for the 2017 legislative session. Top priorities are faculty compensation and benefits and the NSHE Funding Formula. The NFA will be watching for any initiatives put forward by Governor Sandoval or the legislature which could potentially impact working conditions at the universities and colleges.


    Political Action Committees: Preparing for the November Elections


    The NFA Political Action Committees north and south have given a series of endorsements for both NSHE regent and state legislative races. The northern endorsements are complete, the southern vetting process is ongoing.


    PAC members have questioned candidates on issues relating to higher education, from funding, including faculty pay, to the potential restructuring of NSHE. So far, SPAC endorsed candidates, all of whom have spoken face-to-face with PAC members, are:


    Senate:

    District 3: Tick Segerblom

    District 5: Joyce Woodhouse

    District 6: Nicole Cannizzaro

    District 11: Aaron Ford

    District 18: Alexander Marks


    Assembly:

    District 3: Nelson Araujo

    District 4: John Piro

    District 6: William McCurdy II

    District 8: Jason Frierson

    District 9: Steve Yeager

    District 10: Chris Brooks

    District 15: Elliot Anderson

    District 17: Tyrone Thompson

    District 20: Ellen Spiegel

    District 21: Ozzie Fumo

    District 29: Lesley Cohen

    District 34: Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod


    The NFA northern PAC has also been active. Endorsees:


    Assembly:

    District 24: Amber Joiner

    District 25: Jill Tolles

    District 27: Teresa Benitez Thompson

    District 30: Mike Sprinkle

    District 31: Skip Daly


    Senate:

    District 13: Julia Ratti

    District 15: No endorsement was made in this race. Both candidates have very good, but different, credentials to serve in the Nevada Senate.


    Regents endorsements:

    District 6: Michael Wixom

    District 7: Mark Doubrava

    District 8: Cathy McAdoo

    District 9: Sara LaFrance

    District 11: Jason Geddes



    Advocacy/Legal Defense


    Chapters and members of the state board have been handling various issues and cases over the last few months. Most of them deal with disputed evaluations, support through grievances, and workload disputes.


    NFA Vice President Rob Manis and David Steel conducted a legal defense training at NSC on September 17. This training covers the types of legal support and methods for assisting NFA members and fellow faculty with various labor issues that can arise.



    Organizing/Recruitment


    Steven Cohen has been hired as an organizer to work UNLV. David Steel has met with him several times, put him through training, and has given him materials. We are still searching for a recruiter for UNR. We gained 21 new members in the month of September. David will be discussing new membership goals at the next meeting of the NFA State Board.


    I want to thank you for your continued support of the Nevada Faculty Alliance. Through your support we are able to help improve our professional lives and those of fellow NSHE faculty.


  • 26 Sep 2016 3:44 PM | David Steel (Administrator)

    The NFA northern PAC has endorsed the following:


    Assembly:

    District 24: Amber Joiner

    District 25: Jill Tolles

    District 27: Teresa Benitez Thompson

    District 30: Mike Sprinkle

    District 31: Skip Daly


    Senate:

    District 13: Julia Ratti

    District 15: No endorsement was made in this race. Both candidates have very good, but different, credentials to serve in the Nevada Senate.


    Regents:

    District 8: Cathy McAdoo

    District 9: Sara LaFrance

    District 11: Jason Geddes


  • 20 Sep 2016 11:16 AM | David Steel (Administrator)

    Dear NFA-UNLV Chapter Members,


    Welcome back for the fall 2016 semester! During the summer we held elections and I am pleased to announce our slate of new chapter officers:
    Sandra Owens, President https://www.unlv.edu/people/sandra-owens;
    Al Izzolo, Vice President https://www.unlv.edu/people/al-izzolo;
    Barbara Luke, Treasurer https://www.unlv.edu/people/barbara-luke;
    and Nate Bynum, Secretary https://www.unlv.edu/people/nate-bynum.

    We are all long time members of the chapter and we are honored and eager to serve you. We are inviting all members and potential members to our first chapter meeting of the semester. The meeting will be held at noon on Friday, September 23, 2016 in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs Dean’s Conference Room, 5th floor. Come to the meeting to discuss our/your plans for the chapter, and to enjoy a lunch that will be catered by Stefano’s Greek and Mediterranean Cuisine.


    This year our UNLV chapter and NV state activities will continue to be focused on advancing the academic freedom, shared governance and financial security of full-time and part-time faculty and academic staff through advocacy, organizing, and nurturing strong alliances http://www.nevadafacultyalliance.org.

    NFA-UNLV has a membership seat on the UNLV President’s Advisory Council (PAC) http://www.unlv.edu/president/advisory-council and we will continue to be active participants in the PAC discussions and decisions of the UNLV President and his cabinet members. At our membership meeting we will discuss items that members what me to bring to the next PAC meeting. In August the NFA state board met in Reno and among other items we accepted the endorsement recommendations from the members of our Southern and Northern Political Action Committees. Come to the meeting to learn the details of the endorsed races and the various amounts of money we have thus far donated to individual candidates. We will also have a couple of as yet unendorsed candidates attend the meeting.


    As your new NFA - UNLV chapter president I am committed to improving the employment experiences of our faculty via confidential consultations, supportive advocacy, and policy change. And I invite you to contact me in confidence regarding any matter that may be of concern to you or your colleagues. We want to hear about the problems, solutions, questions, and successes related to your working conditions as UNLV faculty, academic professionals and graduate students. Thank you in advance for your time and energy to be focused our NFA activities in the coming year.


    In Solidarity,

    Sandra Owens, NFA - UNLV President Sandra.owens@unlv.edu (702) 612-6371
    David Steel, NFA Nevada Executive Director (Dsteel@Nevadafacultyalliance.org) Steven Cohen, NFA - UNLV Part-time Organizer (CohenS3@Unlv.nevada.edu)

  • 19 Sep 2016 4:29 PM | David Steel (Administrator)

    Candidates were informed that they could make a short statement that would be available to voters. The following are the statements that were received, by alphabetical order of last name:

    John Aliano

    My name is John Aliano, Program Director for Videography & Film. I have worked at CSN for six years and feel I can be an asset to the bargaining team and NFA. As we move forward with collective bargaining it is important to advocate for many interests represented by a variety of classifications within the CSN community. I have been an active participant in numerous meetings thus far and will continue to support the best interests of our hard working faculty.

    Regards,
    John



    Jerry Hodges

    My name is Professor Jerry Hodges and I have been at CSN for some 23 years. I have been very involved in college service over these many years and have been a strong advocate for faculty over my tenure at CSN. If elected as a member of the bargaining team, I will continue to be a strong advocate for faculty in the collective bargaining process.



    Aminul KM

    I believe in shared governance. We can make Collective Bargaining a part of shared governance in this beautiful institution of CSN. I will work with the administration on our behalf to make sure that we have proper health and salary benefits. Even though CSN is the one of the biggest community colleges in the U.S, our benefits are less than our peers. Our salaries are below national median, and our health benefits are even worse. How could one of the biggest community colleges in the country doesn’t even fall in the top 500 in salaries and benefits? With inadequate compensation and poor benefits, we are having trouble recruiting the best teachers and retaining scores of our excellent colleagues. A strong CB team can improve our salaries, benefits, and overall environment, and make CSN one of the premier institutions in the nation.

    Aminul KM

    Mathematics


    Joseph Miller

    I believe that the collective bargaining team will play a critical part in the future of CSN, and members of the team should have broad background in terms of the experiences at CSN. A short summary of my experiences is below:

            • Over the years I’ve been a part-time instructor, emergency hire instructor, tenured track, and tenured faculty. I started in 1999 as a part-time instructor.

            • At times in addition to teaching I’ve served as a Program Director and Department Chair.   In both of those positions I strongly advocated for the interests of the Program faculty or Department faculty when in those positions.

           • I’ve served in the Faculty Senate for close to 10 years.



    Jennifer Nelson

    Collective bargaining at CSN gives academic faculty, counsellors, and librarians new status in the shared governance of this college. Through our representatives at the bargaining table, we are made equal parties with our administrators in the processes of contract negotiation. The training for negotiation I have completed over the last two months has by no means made me a perfect candidate for your bargaining team. What I offer is professionalism and over 15 years' experience with faculty issues at CSN, seen from the perspectives of the classroom as a tenured professor, the Faculty Senate  as an Arts & Letters representative, and NFA leadership (currently, as chapter VP and state board Treasurer). If elected as a negotiator, I will work tirelessly to support the negotiating team's efforts to bring the best possible contract to you for ratification. Thank you in advance for your vote.


    Jennifer S. Nelson, Ph.D



    T. Raghu

    NFA Colleagues,
    I have been a professor of philosophy in the department of social sciences at CSN, West Charleston campus, for twelve years. I currently serve at CSN in the Workload & Evaluation Committee, the Strategic Futures Task force appointed by President Richards, and the departmental program review committee. I strongly supported the NFA in its attempt to win the Collective Bargaining election. I have attended the CAPE session on "Faculty Rights and Processes under Collective Bargaining" and, of course, the NFA Collective Bargaining training session. I am strongly committed to achieving expertise in all relevant policies and procedures impacting faculty rights and interests. Ensuring a healthy, supportive, and productive work climate for faculty at CSN is one of my top priorities. Another priority is inclusion, without which diversity is a charade. If elected to your bargaining team, I will work to the best of my ability to alleviate and eliminate work climate factors at CSN which undermine faculty rights, interests, morale, and meaningful participation.
    I look forward to your valuable support in this election. If you have any questions, pl. do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail or by phone.
    Best,
    Thill Raghu


    Steve Soltz

    Dear fellow NFA members,


    I am running for a position on the bargaining team, which will be negotiating your contract terms with CSN. I have been involved with the effort to gain collective bargaining rights since it began. I was never a union man. But the circumstances that have come about regarding our pay and benefits over the last eight (8) years have made it such that I saw no other way to make change, other than collective bargaining. I can assure you that if I am chosen as a member I will do my part to see that the faculty are given the best contract that can be done, under the constraints of Nevada and NSHE law.


    Respectfully,

    Steve Soltz


    Ingrid Stewart

    Dear Colleagues

    The other day I overheard a conversation between my friends Ray and Steve. Ray asked what Steve’s son is doing for a living. Steve said, “Well, he wanted to be a teacher, but I talked him out of that. Teachers don’t make any money. Now he works in marketing and makes over half a mil a year.”

    I felt degraded! After all, isn’t it the teachers who educated this marketing manager as well as the doctors and lawyers and such? Therefore, shouldn’t teachers at least earn a salary they can be proud of and that the public respects?

    I would like to be a part of the NFA negotiation team to try to bring back some pride in being a teacher. I understand that I must be professional in my dealings with the administration, be respectful, and have integrity.

    Now, the other side might say that teaching is a labor of love and teachers shouldn’t bankrupt the system. But if the Clark County Commissioners don’t worry about that when they sent a $750 mil request for public funds to the Governor to build a Raider’s Stadium, I won’t even worry about our much humbler requests. According to Channel 8, about 65% of publicly funded stadiums are no longer used after some period of time whereas our profession keeps on giving.

    Sincerely,

    Ingrid Stewart, Ph.D.



    David Wangsgard

    My name is David Wangsgard, and I would like to serve on the collective bargaining team. I currently serve on the NFA executive board as the chair of Membership and Organizing. For the past two years, I have been deeply involved in our efforts to achieve collective bargaining at CSN. I would like to see these efforts through to the successful negotiation of a robust contract for CSN faculty.


    In solidarity,

    David Wangsgard


    Glynda White

    Dear Faculty,

    I ask for your vote to become a member of the CSN/NFA-AAUP Bargaining Team. See below a few pertinent facts, my qualifications and reasons for seeking this position.

    I am a professor and lead faculty of Business and Employment/Labor Law in the Department of Business Administration. I have been at CSN for over twenty years. My many years of teaching at CSN have allowed me to serve on many college committees, interact with faculty in interdisciplinary areas and, afforded me the opportunity develop new courses for the department.

    In 1998 I developed the Employment Law course which includes a component of Labor Law with collective bargaining. The class introduces to students this area of workplace law as they prepare to enter the business environment. I am currently teaching this class.

    I hold the Juris Doctor degree and, a trained lawyer. My work experience includes working in law offices in different states, EEOC, Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) and the US Department of Commerce, specifically Economic Development of Administration (EDA).

    I am seeking to become a member of the bargaining team because I believe in Academic Collective Bargaining. I have good skills in persuasion and advocacy for the best interest of the unit. It is my position that an effective labor-management plan provides a positive and productive workplace climate for all parties. Academic Collective Bargaining is a method to bring about equality, genuine shared decision making and improved conflict resolution.

    I know how to bargain in good faith and I am a strong advocate. And I want to represent you!


    Thank you for your vote!


  • 15 Sep 2016 10:45 AM | David Steel (Administrator)

    The NFA southern PAC has been active this election cycle, interviewing and endorsing candidates.

    PAC members have questioned candidates on issues relating to higher education, from funding, including faculty pay, to the potential restructuring of NSHE. So far, SPAC endorsed candidates, all of whom have spoken face-to-face with PAC members, include: 


    Senate:

    Joyce Woodhouse

    Nicole Cannizzaro

    Alexander Marks

    Aaron Ford

    Tick Segerblom


    Assembly:

    Ozzie Fumo

    Elliot Anderson

    Nelson Araujo

    Tyrone Thompson

    Steve Yeager

    Lesley Cohen

    Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod

    John Piro

    Jason Frierson

    Ellen Spiegel

    Chris Brooks

    William McCurdy II


    The NFA northern PAC has also been active. We will be releasing a full list of endorsements prior to the election.

  • 18 Aug 2016 4:59 PM | David Steel (Administrator)

    Cross-posted from NFA-UNLV blog:

    http://nfaunlv.blogspot.com/2016/08/nfa-unlv-table-at-new-faculty.html

  • 17 Aug 2016 5:28 PM | David Steel (Administrator)

    The Nevada State College NFA Chapter has launched a new chapter website. It can be found at: http://www.nfa-nsc.org/

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