NEA Affiliates in Action
The Illinois Education Association easily beat back an attempt by Waubonsee Community College to decertify the part-time and non-credit faculty unions at the college by challenging the union majority status after the unions’ first contracts expired.
The turnout exceeded all expectations and the unions’ victory margins were far greater than the margins four years ago when the unions won representation. The credit faculty voted 84–19 and the non-credit faculty 39–7.
-The Broome Community College (NY) faculty has voted “no confidence” in the college’s Board of Trustees and called on them to resign. The faculty list a number of specific complaints, including mishandling the appointment of a new president, failing to advocate for more money from the county to support the college, and refusing to bargain in good faith on a new collective bargaining agreement with faculty. “We agonized over doing this. We are not doing it lightly,” said faculty association president Greta Wingate.
In October, members of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA), NEA’s higher education affiliate in the state, overwhelmingly rejected the university administration’s “best and final” contract offer, which included a two-year, 5 percent salary reduction, a payroll lag this year, plus a reduction in the employer’s health insurance contribution. More than 86 percent of the UH faculty voted against the contract offer, after the UHPA leadership recommended rejection.
Governor, Linda Lingle has restricted legislatively appropriated funds to the university by $73 million, giving rise to the crisis. However, terms of the prior contract continue in force, according to the union’s executive director J.N. Musto. The union has proposed deferrals of salary increases and loans, as well as selective hiring freezes, as ways to address the university’s financial difficulties.
Musto noted that the faculty brings $150 million more in grants and research into the state than is expended on their total salaries.
Over the past month more than 20,000 California State University (CSU) students, faculty members, staff, alumni, and community supporters have signed on to support California Assembly Bill 656.
The legislation, authored by Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico and sponsored by the California Faculty Association (CFA), seeks to create a dedicated, stable funding source for all three segments of public higher education by assessing a 9.9 percent severance fee on oil and natural gas extracted from California land and waters. Find out more at www.calfac.org.
CFA, along with allies from every part of California’s public education system (students, faculty, staff, parents, labor allies, alumni, and community supporters), is also launching an electronic march, or E-March, on the Governor’s office to demand adequate funding for public education in next year’s budget proposal. To join the E-March, go to: http://tinyurl.com/edemarch.
-The Massachusetts Teachers Association, along with the Massachusetts Community College Council, its affiliate representing the state’s community college faculty, and five individual adjunct faculty members, have filed a lawsuit in the state’s Superior Court claiming the state is denying health insurance to part-time faculty working at community and state colleges and the University of Massachusetts.
The lawsuit is seeking health insurance coverage for hundreds of employees who teach multiple courses per semester at different public institutions, yet are not considered eligible for state health insurance. Currently, there are 4,300 adjunct faculty members teaching at the state’s 15 community colleges and hundreds more at the state colleges and universities.
“We are taking legal action to right a wrong that has been overlooked for too long and get some much-needed relief for these faculty members,” MTA President Anne Wass said. “This lawsuit is about investing in public higher education.”