Topic: Collective Bargaining

Article Lecturers Contingent Faculty
CFT Senior Vice President Lacy Barnes

Lecturers rally at nine UC campuses in statewide action
1700 supporters turn out to stand with lecturers

As hundreds of lecturers, students and other workers at the Berkeley campus of the University of California gathered in front of the MLK Student Center, they began to chant. “UC would not be anything, Without teaching faculty, ME!” Leading them was Lacy Barnes, senior vice president of the CFT, and former full-time faculty member and president of the State Center Federation of Teachers.

Article Coronavirus
students waiting for outside class "Engines, Fuel and Ignition"  to begin

What’s on everyone’s mind? The return to in-person
From urban to rural, community college locals weigh in

Most faculty members, staff, and students at the state’s community colleges have been teaching, learning, and working online for more than a year and a half due to COVID-19. Many planned to go back to their campus in the fall semester, but after a brief period of hope that the virus was on the way out the delta variant emerged in the summer, and in many areas, COVID is surging again.

Article Lecturers Coronavirus

Back to the classroom, but no contract
Facing inequity, lack of COVID protections, 96% of UC-AFT members vote to authorize strike

As they have for the past two years, lecturers at the University of California continue their effort to get the administration to bargain a fair contract. The last agreement between the university and the University Council-AFT, expired on January 31, 2020. The union’s negotiating committee has met with UC’s bargaining team on 50 occasions, yet the four most fundamental issues are still outstanding — high turnover rates, lack of performance reviews, widespread uncompensated labor, and compensation itself.

Article Lecturers Contingent Faculty

Job security still on the table for UC lecturers, members vote to authorize strike
UC-AFT keeps the pressure on for fair continuing appointments

Update: On June 1, UC-AFT members voted to authorize a strike, with a “strong majority” of  nearly 7,000 members turning out for the vote, and 96% voting to authorize a systemwide strike should the UC Office of the President fail to meet UC-AFT’s collective bargaining demands.

Article Pay parity Part-time faculty

How Peralta won the first pay parity in CA community colleges
San Mateo Federation campaign makes big strides toward parity

Equal pay for equal work. It’s a simple idea, but one that has remained all but elusive for part-time faculty, so much so that some have decried the quest for it as a Sisyphean effort. However, the recent gains made by the Peralta Federation of Teachers shows that parity is possible.

Now, Peralta pays its adjuncts at the same hourly rate for teaching and office hours as its full-time faculty — a first in the California Community College system.

Peralta reaches 100 percent pay parity; locals win distance education support
From course conversion stipends to health benefits extensions

In spite of the pandemic, a number of local unions won big gains for adjuncts, from parity pay to distance education, to the preservation of healthcare for adjuncts with reduced loads. These wins are especially significant at this time in which revenues are falling and concerns over future budgets made many administrators skittish to bargain.

Article Coronavirus Elections 2020 Wildfires

Unions are the anchor during a perfect storm
Locals navigate pandemic, reopening, wildfires, elections, social unrest

Facing the threats of COVID-19 and wildfires, local unions and districts across California are trying to figure out how school will look this semester.

• • •

Orange County was one of the first to push for in-person instruction after it had been prohibited based on the county monitoring list.  At the beginning of the summer, the members in the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers were pretty much evenly divided about that.

Adjunct faculty leaders organize, meet challenges of pandemic
The union picture — now and in the months ahead

The ongoing COVID-19 experience for part-time instructors has demonstrated their great collective strength and resiliency, despite limited pay, benefits, job security, and often minimal support.

Several local union leaders — who are part-time faculty — report that beyond the initially hectic and at times frenzied process of transitioning to remote instruction and services, faculty have more or less still been able to teach a semblance of their face-to-face course.

Article Part-time faculty AFT

“An Army of Temps” — AFT’s call to action
New AFT report attaches numbers to the human crisis in higher education

Part of the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic is that for those who were already at risk, it has laid their situation bare. This is a part-timer reality.

“While it may seem like an odd time to be putting out the “Army of Temps: AFT Contingent Faculty Quality of Worklife Survey,” frankly, it’s about as good a time as ever to show the fragility of this workforce.”

Article Lecturers

Thousands of UC lecturers mobilize for job rights, fair salaries
Academic and blue collar workforce fight back against university’s substandard pay

When Josh Brahinsky isn’t teaching “Academic Literacy and Ethos” and “Brain, Mind, and Consciousness” classes to new students at UC Santa Cruz, the lecturer is researching bio-cultural anthropology at Stanford University, teaching at San Jose State, or leading online classes at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania.

“UC only pays me $19,900 yearly,” Brahinsky said. “That’s not enough to live on, so I have to make up the difference somewhere else.”

Article Labor Solidarity

State Supreme Court victory brings back pay with interest to Antelope Valley College staff
Local wins fives years of back pay with interest for overtime imposed by anti-union administration

It took more than five years and reached all the way to the California Supreme Court, but the Antelope Valley College Federation of Classified Employees has knocked a toxic administration on its heels.

“Justice moves slowly, but the fight to protect collective bargaining rights is always worth it,” said AFT Local 4683 President Pamela Ford.

Article Part-time faculty Labor Solidarity

Part-timer takes the helm at State Center Federation of Teachers

One of the great powers of a union is its ability to uplift the living conditions and status of its members, not just at the bargaining table, but within the structure of the union itself — when the seemingly most marginalized members assume leadership roles.

In local unions representing all faculty, there has been a recent trend of the membership electing a part-time faculty member to lead the union, with significant support from the full-timers. There is perhaps no better example of this, though he might be reluctant himself to say so, than Keith Ford.

Article Lecturers

UC lecturers take bold stand with university in negotiations
Momentum has built activism and organizing success

Eighty UC-AFT members and their allies showed up at the first bargaining session at UC Davis as lecturers began their contract negotiations last spring. The impressive number of rank-and-file members in the room to support the team helped them win open bargaining, says UC-AFT President Mia McIver.

California Teacher CFT 100

Commemorating 40 years of collective bargaining
The difference one law makes for teachers and classified employees

Editor’s note: California Teacher published this article in 2015, 40 years after K-14 teachers and classified staff won collective bargaining rights in California.

By Elaine Johnson

On May 20, 1976, I cast the first vote for teachers’ collective bargaining in the state of California. TV cameras recorded the event at Redwood High School in Larkspur, and in those pre-DVR times, the family watched it that evening on the 6 o’clock news.

California Teacher CFT 100

Memoir of a Union Lobbyist: 50 Years Looking Back

Editor’s note: This memoir was originally published as “30 Years Looking Back” in August 1999 by the Institute of Industrial Relations in CPER, A Periodical of Employee Relations in the Public Sector. 

By Mary Bergan

I begin with Robert Reich’s admonition that a memoir is not a history. It chronicles events as the writer remembers them. This is a memoir.