One of the more talked about resolutions passed by the biennial AFT Convention this July was Resolution 15, which calls for AFT to support City University of New York adjuncts in their quest to achieve through “actions, demonstrations, and advocacy,” a minimum of $7,000 per three-credit class. The resolution, which passed with resounding support and no opposition, also supports this minimum in “all other AFT locals’ campaigns for fair adjunct pay.”
On May 5, the State Council approved a resolution put forth by the CFT Part-Time Committee, calling for CFT to sponsor legislation “to establish a permanent healthcare program for part-time faculty and their dependents.”
If there were perhaps one way to describe the legislative campaign waged by CFT this year as it regards both part-timers and the community college system, one could say it was “spirited.” Despite the sea changes proposed for the entire system, the union still won improvements for part-timers.
The Janus v. ASFCME decision had just come down from the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling, overturning 40 years of legal precedent and marking the abrupt end of union fair share, or agency fee, for public employees. Now non-union members who benefit from the hard work of unions who still represent them at the bargaining table would no longer be required to pay their fair share.
The month of October is once again time to give special attention to part-time faculty issues. Officially, Campus Equity Week is the week of October 22-26, but what’s more important is that campus communities get the word out this fall before the legislative process begins.
Send a letter to Gov. Brown asking that more money be put in the State Part-time Office Hours Fund. These letters work. A similar campaign last year helped secure a $5 million increase in the fund, an increase of over 70 percent. That said, the state fund only matches about 10 percent of paid part-time office hours funds, which is why office hours funding is either limited or non-existent in most districts.
There are adjunct survival guides out there which give basic union info, and perhaps maybe where the copy machines are located on campus, then there’s The Part-Timer’s Almanac, which is perhaps the most comprehensive, adjunct-oriented union publication put out by a local union ever.
Even if you have received a tentative offer of employment for the next semester, you are entitled to apply for unemployment benefits over the break immediately upon completion of your last working day of the semester.
Adjunct instructors are considered at-will employees, because despite the “tentative assignment offer” one may receive, this is not legally considered a “reasonable assurance of employment.”
The forthcoming Supreme Court ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME poses a serious threat to union strength. Any union is only as strong as its membership base, and when unions have higher percentages of the workers in its unit as active members, they are stronger at the bargaining table, and better able to protect its workers from violations of their rights.
At this year’s CFT Convention, delegates passed Resolution 15 calling for the CFT to support changing the workload cap in a community college district to 80 percent of a full-time equivalent load, effectively allowing part-time faculty to teach up to 12 units.
Successful CFT-sponsored legislation calls for districts to negotiate
Community college districts will soon be compelled to negotiate what CFT-sponsored legislation calls “reemployment preference for part-time, temporary faculty.” The landmark provisions require districts to negotiate with the union in order to receive significant funding available from the state Student Success and Support Program.
Why does anyone join the union? …because someone asks them
Member organizers from local unions throughout the state joined forces at Palomar College to meet one-on-one with part-time faculty agency fee payers who had not yet signed their union cards — and asked them to join the union.
Workers at three Bay Area private schools gain a stronger voice in the workplace
When math teacher Cheryl LaBrecque joined the staff of the French American International School in San Francisco in 1999, the preK-12 school was small and “things worked better.” Staff members “had a closer relationship with administration,” she says. Since then, it has become “more corporate, more top-down, more about money.”