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Angela Calcaterra

Staff at Logan College organized for respect.

Your rate of pay should not depend on your father’s last name, and your likelihood of job promotion shouldn’t vary according to your family’s connections. Yet, educational support professionals at John A. Logan College, a community college in southern Illinois, have felt for years that their recruitment, compensation, and promotion depend more on institutional nepotism than personal professionalism.

The school’s salary scale is indecipherable, says Angela Calcaterra, campus coordinator for students with hearing disabilities. But what is clear, she says, is that “it [the salary scale] favors employees with connections.” That, Calcaterra continues, demonstrates a lack of respect for the work done by Logan’s professional staff—those Calcaterra calls “the people in the trenches”—whose work is key to college access and student success. “We feel very undervalued,” Calcaterra says. Tired of inequity and disrespect, Logan’s professional staff formed the Logan Professional Staff Association, which was certified by the Illinois labor relations board in May.

Led by co-presidents Calcaterra and Beth Stephens, a career counselor, the new Illinois Education Association/NEA-affiliated union is comprised of nearly 70 non-teaching employees who work in financial aid, student services, the library, IT, and more. These union members are counting on their newly acquired collective bargaining rights to win a real salary scale that is transparent, comprehensible, and provides for appropriate professional advancement. Their bargaining team is “rarin’ to go,” Calcaterra says.

 

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Published In

1-Oct-14

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