NEA Affiliates in Action
On March 10, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) determined that the adjunct faculty at Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) had voted to join the full-time faculty association and the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), ending a seven-year effort and providing PSEA its first union election victory in higher education since 1991.
This is the second of six PSEA-represented community colleges to include adjuncts. The other six Pennsylvania community colleges are represented by the Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers, and one is independent.
The New Jersey Education Association’s (NJEA) newest higher ed unit is a 107-member ESP unit at Camden County College, comprising custodial, maintenance and security employees. They voted for an increased level of service and expertise at the bargaining table, as well as to join their full-time faculty and administrative professional colleagues as part of the larger NJEA higher education community.
The University of the District of Columbia Faculty Association (UDCFA) is involved in a contentiousbattle with the university administration as the new president Allen L. Sessoms attempts to restructure the university and create a community college.
NEA Executive Committee member Princess Moss presents a $10,000 grant check to University of the District of Columbia Faculty Association President, Dr. Mohamed El-Khawas, to assist in helping the NEA affiliate strengthen its collective bargaining advocacy as it battles to protect faculty rights during the university's restructuring.
In February, at an emergency membership meeting, the UDCFA unanimously approved a vote of no confidence in president Sessoms. He had proposed doubling tuition during the worst economic crisis since the Depression and eliminating open admissions to the university’s four-year programs. He had also abrogated the existing collective bargaining agreement and has failed to negotiate in good faith with the Association, which has now gone for over a year without a contract.
More recently, UDCFA has won an arbitration victory requiring the university to comply with the tenure clause of the collective bargaining agreement, and directing it to grant tenure retroactively to all faculty members who had been wrongly denied tenure.
After nine months of talks, the Finger Lakes (NY) Community College Professional Association, the college, and Ontario County, have finalized a three-year contract that strengthens job security and increases wages for middle-level professionals at the college.
The settlement provides salary increases of 3 percent, 3.5 percent, and 3 percent each year, retroactive to September 2008, as well as step increases and longevity pay. It also con-verts “continuing appointments” to permanent positions after a probationary period.
Prior to the new agreement, Association members were subject to a seven-year “continuing appointment” after completing a five-year probationary period. According to New York State United Teachers Labor Relations Specialist Flo Ann Harris, someone could have worked at FLCC for 15 years and then been fired at the whim of a supervisor.
In an effort to prevent layoffs and program cuts and in hope of persuading the Board of Trustees not to increase student fees at the University of Massachusetts’s Amherst and Boston campuses, the Massachusetts Society of Professors has tentatively agreed to a one-year moratorium on salary increases for 2008–09.
The union made significant gains in contract language, including more flexible sabbatical leave and the ability to draw from the union’s sick leave bank to provide paid leave under the family medical leave act.
Following the 2008–09 pay freeze, salaries will increase by 1.5 percent in 2010 and 3.5 percent in 2011 and 2012.
The State College Education Association (SCEA), an affiliate of the Nebraska State Education Association/NEA, has won an arbitration decision that provides an 11 percent across-the-board salary increase for faculty at Chadron, Peru and Wayne state colleges for the two years 2009–2011.
The arbitrator rejected the employer’s final offer that froze full professor salaries for the 2009-2011 biennium, while providing varying salary increases for other ranks. The Board of Trustee’s has appealed the decision to the Nebraska Commission on Industrial Relations.