Re-class requests

Remember to read the mandatory disclaimer. Peter Seaman created this page in March 2018, but there could be changes at any time.

In 2017, a bunch of issues arose regarding re-class requests.

But first, what is a re-class request? The word "re-class" is short for "re-classification," and refers to an employee's desire to have her/his position re-scoped so that the pay for the position is increased. For example, an AP in a level-three position may think it should really be a level-four position, which is paid more. For that to happen, HR has to approve a re-class request, or what they call a "classification review." HR has a very nice web page that explains how the process works and has a link to the form that needs to be filled out.

Who fills out the form? You'd think that a supervisor would be the one to fill out the form, since managers are responsible for hiring and firing. But in most cases, an individual AP will fill out the form. There have also been cases where a group of APs who do the same or similar work have filled out the form as a group, but despite the obvious advantages a team approach would convey, this situation is rarer.

It's also possible for HR to initiate their own classification review of positions. In 2017, HR reviewed all of the student-resource-center positions and decided to move some to the AP5 level. They left other positions at the AP3 and AP4 level, which caused great consternation among APs in those positions. Those APs then appealed to senior leaders at PCC, who decided to move the rest of the positions to AP5. But out of this process came some important lessons:
  • If you are planning to submit a re-class request, be sure to submit a courtesy copy to both HR and the union office at the same time you submit the initial request to your supervisor. Why take this extra step? Because supervisors can change, and supervisors can lose stuff. In 2016 an AP submitted a re-class request, and despite hearing from HR about her request, over a year passed before HR claimed it had never received the request! If you submit a copy of your request to the union office, your reps can help keep tabs on the request and put pressure on HR to move it along. But be prepared for HR to take its sweet time: nothing at PCC happens quickly, and HR has taken years to process re-class requests and tell APs, Sorry - we didn't approve your request.
  • APs have sometimes been surprised to learn that a re-classification to a higher level can lead to a reduction in steps. That's because a provision in our contract (Article 16.16) requires that the AP be placed on a step that results in at least a five percent increase (apparently the provision exists to keep costs in check). To use an example from the 2017 pay table, let's say an AP is at level 3, step 10, making $57,823 per year, but then her position is reclassified to level 5. The AP will then be placed at level 5, step 8, which is $61,224 - the highest step that is five percent more than what the AP had been making. Even though the AP is earning more money, the loss of steps can feel like, um, a step backward. But while it's true the number of steps is reduced and the AP is placed lower on the step-ladder, the AP will get more raises (3.5% per year) than s/he would otherwise have gotten in a career. It's a trade-off but pay for the AP is higher overall - just not as high as if the AP were allowed to stay on the same step.
Here's one more thing to consider if you are applying for a re-class of your position:

When a position is re-classified and paid at a higher level, guess who pays? Your pay comes out of your division's budget! It means that whoever handles your division's or department's budget needs to be fully in support of your re-class request - and that's doubly important if you are in a grant-funded position. There was at least one case where an AP filled out a re-class request and her manager fully supported it - all the way to the point where the manager learned the AP's higher pay would come from her department's budget! At that point the manager withdrew her support for the request and the AP felt really betrayed by this new stance, and rightfully so. The bottom line is that if you decide to apply for a re-class request, make sure your manager knows his/her support of the request means the funding comes from the department's budget (most managers know, but you can never be sure what managers know at PCC).

Article 5 (see 5.7 and 5.8) of our contract has more info on classification of AP positions, including provisions for appeal, if you wanted to appeal a re-class decision.