“The union does nothing for me, and I’ve never even joined. Why do I have to pay dues?”
This question was posed by an adjunct faculty member in a department retreat attended by one of our E-board members. The question made us cringe, but we realized it was probably echoed in many minds throughout the COC adjunct faculty. We will answer that question here.
The union does a great deal for you, most of which happens in closed negotiations with COC administration, which becomes contract terms for ratification with the SCCCD Board and the AFT Local 6262 membership. The terms of the agreement dictate how COC must treat every adjunct faculty member and non-credit instructor; not just AFT members. That means every negotiated item we win, we win for all COC adjuncts.
- Every salary increase;
- Every Flex credit compensation schedule;
- Every non-instruction rate increase;
- Every employment security enhancement, including one-year assignment eligibility and experience considerations;
- Every resource enhancement, including staff parking and adjunct faculty offices;
- Every job protection enhancement, including policies and procedures for teaching evaluations and grievance resolutions;
was won for you in union negotiations.
Negotiation is an almost never-ending activity. Over the past several years, weekly negotiations for contract ratifications were scheduled over most months of the fall and spring semesters, with many sessions taking place in winter and summer. The current contract expires in June, 2014, and negotiations for the next contract begin at the end of the spring, 2014 semester.
All adjunct faculty, regardless of union membership are surveyed to inquire what you most want negotiated in the next contract. We will work hard to win important improvements for every single COC adjunct faculty member. We need your input on those surveys, but we research issues and spend considerable time and effort to assess the items we need to negotiate, even when the adjunct faculty participates only minimally in our survey efforts.
The expense of building, maintaining, and growing our labor union is met through agency fees deducted from the pay of those whom the union benefits. The dollar amount of those fees is far exceeded by the compensation increases the union has won for the part-time faculty to date. Moreover, while the union never stops striving for fairer compensation and benefits, Local 6262 has never increased the agency fees since it was established.