NEA Affiliates in Action
- Gearing up for budget battles in the face of a declining state economy, the California Faculty Association has announced that it is not prepared to give up on quality public higher education in the state, despite California's massive budget deficit.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed cutting $312 million from the CSU system, which equates to an $875 cut for each full-time equivalent student, according to CFA. Student fees also are slated to increase 10 percent, meaning students would be paying more and getting less. In addition, the CSU administration estimates it would turn away at least 10,000 eligible new freshmen.
"While the threat to the CSU is real, we must remember the governor's January budget is just the opening salvo," said CFA president Lillian Taiz. "We know that higher education is part of the solution to a struggling economy.
"We look forward to productive discussions with the CSU Administration. We must work together to prevent these cuts that would have a devastating impact on the state's economy."
- Graduate Assistants United (GAU) at Florida A&M University (FAU) have reached a tentative agreement with the college's Board of Trustees on a new three-year contract that will provide employer-paid health insurance for the fist time. The contract covers more than 180 graduate employees of the university, including graduate assistants, research assistants, and teaching assistants.
The new agreement also provides a $1,000 increase in the minimum grad assistant stipend and 2 percent across-the-board pay increase in the first year of the contract for all graduate assistants. Salary will be re-opened every year, as well as any two issues each side wants to negotiate.
“We are very excited about obtaining health care. This is the first time it will be offered to graduate employees at the university and it is a big step in improving our quality of life. We are proud of this agreement.” said GAU head negotiator Johnique Billups. Graduate Assistants United is an affiliate of the United Faculty of Florida, NEA/AFT.
- The Roger Williams University Faculty Association recently won an arbitration contesting a denial of a promotion to full professor.
The case that NEA Rhode Island argued centered on procedural violations. Under the contract, the professor's dean was required to write a recommendation report to the provost, who in turn would submit his recommendation to the president. But before the dean could send a report, the provost demanded that the report recommend denying promotion. The dean acquiesced, and the president denied the promotion.
In finding against the university, the arbitrator noted that such procedural violations were not minor matters of mechanical requirements. Rather, the university’s perversion of procedures not only made it impossible to determine if promotion was warranted, but also damaged the legitimacy and credibility of the process.
This case was one of seven at the university in 2006—07, all ending in reversals of the university’s decisions, three by arbitrators, three reversed by the president after the union filed for arbitration, and one reversed through a negotiated settlement.
- William E. Scheuerman, president of the United University Professions (UUP), which represents 33,000 faculty members and other employees at the State University of New York, has been named president of the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Scheuerman, who served as UUP president for 14 years, also served on the executive committee and executive council of UUP’s national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and chaired AFT’s Higher Education Program and Policy Council.
The National Labor College is exclusively dedicated to educating union members, leaders, activists and staff. Originally founded by the AFL-CIO in 1969 as the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, the center became the National Labor College in 1997 offering undergraduate and graduate degree completion programs for union members seeking to finish their college education.
The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.