NEA Affiliates in Action
- The Board of Trustees of the College of DuPage in Illinois has rescinded a policy resembling the so-called “Academic Bill of Rights”—David Horowitz’s statement about faculty responsibilities widely derided by faculty groups as a distortion of academic freedom principles—that the board had adopted earlier.
The action followed board elections in which the electorate voted out supporters of the Horowitz measure. Faculty Association leaders at DuPage, as well as the NEA National Council for Higher Education and the American Association of University Professors, had communicated to the board their concerns that the policy was an attack on academic freedom.
- In response to the state’s financial crisis, the California Faculty Association is sponsoring a bill in the state legislature that would create a stable funding source for all three segments of public higher education in the state by enacting a new tax at the wellhead on oil and natural gas “severed” from California land or water. Visit http://www.calfac.org/ for more.
- The Massachusetts State College Association, the NEA Massachusetts Teachers Association affiliate representing teaching faculty and librarians at the state’s nine state colleges, has ratified a new three-year contract with the state Board of Higher Education that will provide 8.5 percent in base salary increases over the life of the agreement. In addition, the agreement provides a pool of money to be used to address salary inversion and compression issues, and it changes post-tenure review from a mandatory to voluntary process tied to salary increases. To find out more, visit www.mscaunion.org.
- The 350-member Classified Staff Union of UMass Boston has ratified a four-year deal: a one-year extension of the current contract and a three-year contract that will begin on July 1. Recognizing the financial difficulties facing the Commonwealth, the union agreed to bypass pay raises for the current year and accept modest pay increases during the next three years.
- By an overwhelming vote of 448-140, Florida State University graduate assistants have chosen the United Faculty of Florida, an affiliate of the Florida Education Association, NEA, and the American Federation of Teachers, to represent them in collective bargaining. The new union, the FSU Graduate Assistants United, will represent 2,800 graduate employees.
Despite end-of-semester exams, 600 graduate employees cast ballots, and 76 percent voted in favor of UFF representation.
Key issues during the campaign were concerns about increasing workloads, substandard, inadequate pay, expensive health insurance that employees had to purchase, and a lack of input on any issues having to do with working conditions. International students in engineering and the hard sciences, who mobilized for quality-of-life issues—including substandard housing conditions and limited childcare options—were a major source of support.
“We teach a majority of the classes at FSU,” said FSU-GAU Co-President Danielle Holbrook. “Without our labor, the university could not function, but we’ve had no legal voice in how we are treated, so we organized a union and are ready to negotiate with the university.”
- Faculty members at Montana State University-Bozeman, both full-time and adjunct professors, have voted to join the 17,500-member MEA-MFT, an affiliate of NEA and the American Federation of Teachers. Montana State-Bozeman was the last public college or university in the state without a faculty union. Tenure track and adjunct faculty voted separately to join the union, and will form two separate locals, both affiliated with MEA-MFT. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members voted 168 to 156 to unionize. Adjunct professors voted 101 to 51 in favor of the union. Eric Feaver, president of the MEA-MFT, said: “We look forward to representing all faculty at MSU-Bozeman regardless of how they voted.”