By Linda Sneed

As a CFT vice president and representative of part-time faculty in my district, I’m pleased by the efforts made by my local union and the CFT to strengthen member engagement and outreach. The CFT “Building Our Power” campaign is helping locals do a better job of not only sharing information with bargaining unit members but seeking their input.

A priority at the community colleges is connecting more fully with part-time faculty. In my four-campus district, we’re starting to accomplish what we’ve been dreaming and talking about for years but not always doing: making contact with all part-time faculty — union members and non-members alike — to hear their concerns and ideas.

We want to know: How do you feel about your work? Are you adequately supported departmentally and institutionally? Are you connected to your colleagues? Are you getting the training you need? Do you feel included? Do you feel respected? How can we organize to make the good work of teaching in community colleges a truly good job?

Part-timers have shared their experiences, offered valuable suggestions, learned more about their contracts, and gotten to know their union representatives in my district and many others. They’ve discovered opportunities to be more involved with the union, making their voices heard not only during contract negotiations, but all the time. Some have become campus union stewards; others have discovered they aren’t union members and want to change that.

This isn’t quick or easy work. But I am proud of CFT, my local union, and many others who are committed to connecting union representatives to part-time faculty. We are taking more time to have one-on-one conversations with colleagues about their working lives and their ideas for positive change. We’re not just talking but listening. And we’re creating new mechanisms to act on what we hear, for the good of us all.

SNAPSHOT: The AFT is the place to be!

  • 372 part-time faculty joined AFT Local 6185 at Allan Hancock College since fall 2013.
  • 600+ part-time faculty have joined AFT Local 1521 in the Los Angeles Colleges in the past year.
  • 48 part-time faculty joined AFT Local 6262 at the College of the Canyons in just six weeks.

Linda Sneed teaches English part-time at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento and is an executive board member of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2279.