February 22, 2007

Mrs. Charlotte Lofft
c/o Chabot College
25555 Hesperian Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94545

Dear Charlotte:

The members of CARE want to congratulate you on the effectiveness of the Association in its bargaining for current faculty. Wages and benefits are finally approaching proper levels for a hardworking, well-educated, and effective faculty.

Unfortunately, we retired before this current wave of sanity hit the District. As retirees, we are in a strange no-man's land, with no corporate agency having legal power directly to represent us in negotiations which would alter our benefits. We were pleased that there was no conflict with the Association in the recent upset over retiree medical benefits, and are very happy that the outcome was advantageous to the retirees, with no lessening of benefits to active faculty.

It is clear that emeritus faculty and staff retired with a certain set of financial expectations and that substantial negative changes to those benefits would have hurt many people significantly.

When there was a similar crisis in 1993, CARE successfully argued the following points:

  1. Each person who retires from Chabot after having met the requirements for lifetime medical benefits has an individually vested right to those benefits.
  2. Neither the District, the bargaining units, nor CARE can bargain away those rights. To attempt to bargain those rights away would be wrongful interference with a contractual relationship, and would be actionable under the laws of California.
  3. Both the bargaining unit and the District have a duty not to interfere with each retiree's contractual right to medical coverage that is at least as good as the retiree had when he/she was hired by the District, without any payment on the retiree's part.

We believe now, as we did in 1993, that if individual retiree rights are put firmly "off limits" by the District and the bargaining units, the bargaining units can use their time more efficiently on other important issues, rather than being diverted by District attempts to use the bargaining units to attack retirees.

Congratulations on your very successful negotiations. We hope that close coordination between CARE and the Association will continue, given its vital importance.

Helen Bridge, CARE President

Prepared with the assistance of:
Esther Goldberg
George Anna Tow
Art Larson