NEA Affiliates in Action
The California Faculty Association (CFA), which reached a groundbreaking contract settlement with the California State University system (CSU) in 2007, has received official notice that the CSU Chancellor’s Office wants to reopen bargaining on the pay raises promised to the faculty this fiscal year.
“This is not unexpected,” said CFA President Lillian Taiz, a history professor at Cal State Los Angeles. “We anticipated this response, and CFA has been preparing for this possibility for months.”
The CSU administration has the right under state law to call for new bargaining in years in which CSU funding falls below a minimum level. Although nearly $100 million was added to the governor’s proposed state budget, largely due to the work of the CFA-initiated Alliance for the CSU, the university funding remains low enough this year to trigger the reopener.
But CFA has more leverage now than in the past because in its last contract the union won the right to strike or invoke binding arbitration if there is no agreement on salary.
Members of the United Faculty of Evergreen at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington have overwhelmingly ratified their first-ever collective bargaining agreement.
After eight months of negotiations, the agreement came after a marathon 42 hours of bargaining over three days in late October.
In addition to providing grievance and arbitration procedures, the three-year agreement improves job security for adjunct faculty, expands employee leave, and offers an immediate 10.5 percent salary increase, plus bonuses and additional raises in the second and third years.
UFE is the newest faculty union affiliated with the United Faculty of Washington State (UFWS). At Central, Eastern, and Western Washington universities, the unions have already agreed on contracts. UFWS unions represent 2,100 faculty members who teach more than 30,000 students.
UFWS is affiliated with the Washington Education Association, NEA , AFT Washington, and the American Federation of Teachers.
In the 2008 elections, three members of United Faculty of Florida (UFF) ran for seats in the Florida House of Representatives, winning all three, despite being outspent by their Republican opponents.
In St. Petersburg, Bill Heller won re-election handily, by a 20-point margin. The other two races were very close. Keith Fitzgerald won in Sarasota despite being targeted for defeat in his bid for re-election by the Republican party which heavily outspent him in the race.
Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda won a close race in Tallahassee over Peter Bouleware, a former linebacker for Florida State University and the Baltimore Ravens. While final reports aren’t in yet, she was outspent at least 4-1.
These three faculty members join Senator Charlie Justice (D), a faculty member at the University of South Florida, elected previously with UFF support. Rep. Curtis Richardson, a UFF member, is term-limited and will be running in 2010 for the Senate and is expected to win.
Eugenia Paulus, a chemistry professor at North Hennepin Community College, in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and a member of Minnesota College Faculty, the NEA/AFT and Education Minnesota affiliate, representing the state’s two-year college faculty, is the 2008 Professor of the Year in the community college category.
Paulus said she taught at a community college to “make a difference at a place where everyone is welcomed.” Among other accomplishments, she developed a Web-based tutorial to teach her students hands-on laboratory skills, after she realized that many of her students lacked those skills.
Other Professor of the Year winners: Jerusha B. Detweiler-Bedell, Lewis & Clark College, Wei R. Chen, University of Central Oklahoma, and Michael L. Wesch, Kansas State University.
The awards, given annually by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, recognize professors for their influence on teaching and their commitment to undergraduate students.