January 2021 State of the Union
Welcome back colleagues!
What a year 2020 was! We are hopeful and excited about 2021. Here is the Federation’s January 2021 State of the Union.
Federation membership remains strong, though we have a few colleagues who are not currently members. Throughout the spring semester, the Federation will be directly reaching out to these colleagues to discuss the union and the benefits and importance of membership.
The Federation’s Financial Health
The 2020 reorganization of our office and a renewed focus on trimming expenses have strengthened our union’s financial position.
The Executive Board has identified an issue with our current dues structure. We still use a flat rate, which is regressive in nature. A FT faculty member making $65,000 pays the same as a FT faculty member making $85,000; a PT faculty member with one assignment pays the same rate as a PT faculty member with three assignments. Later in the spring, the Federation will ask members to consider changing to a “percentage of income” rate to replace the flat rate. It will be more fair and we can use a percentage of income structure in a way that the majority of members would not see a meaningful difference in dues while a few folks on the edges will pay a little more or a little less every month.
Organizing for a Stronger Voice
In 2020, the Federation’s Executive Board launched a number of projects to strengthen our union and support our members. The new website has been useful for providing members with union-related information and updates.
In Fall 2020, we launched Federation Meet Ups in Humanities, BSS, NS, and for Part Time faculty on an experimental basis. These monthly meetings last about 45 minutes and provide an opportunity for members to get the latest Federation updates, ask questions, share ideas, and meet up. Participants appreciated these meetings and requested that the meetings continue. We see these meetings as crucial to building the kind of union culture necessary for a strong voice on campus. We would like to see these meetings happen in every division and program. We will help you get your division Meet Ups going if they are not happening already—just drop us a note.
We have activated several committees to build our union’s capacity. We have an active Part-time faculty committee as well as committees for organizing, grievances, communications, political education, and research. If you want to lend a hand to the Federation, these committees are a great way to get involved.
As you have seen, the Federation’s Executive Board is proposing changes to our Constitution to clarify officer and committee responsibilities and clean up the language of the document. The proposed changes are also part of a strategic restructuring of the Federation. Members will vote on these changes, which you can see at: https://aft1388.org/the-federation-executive-board-recommends-changes-in-constitution
In the political arena, Federation members revitalized the Committee on Political Education (COPE), which is a separate legal and financial entity that gets involved in BOT elections and local and state ballot measures. The COPE made significant progress in 2020, especially in building relations with the Trustees and community and political leaders in the South Bay.
In 2020 election cycle, we got two new trustees and we are hopeful about the new composition of the Board. The Federation is also stepping up its efforts to engage and work with the BOT to move the college forward.
Contract and MOU updates
Our current contract (BOT ratified in October 2020) will expire December 31, 2022; our current COVID MOU will expire June 30, 2021. We will begin negotiating another COVID MOU for Fall 2021.
When we do return to campus, full time faculty can create a schedule to be on campus three days a week. Prior contracts required being on campus for four days. In their December paycheck, FT Faculty should have seen an increase in the monthly health care contributions from the District. If you believe there was a mistake in this area, let HR or us know.
With our new contract, part-time faculty are eligible for 2 paid office hours every term and a $75 health care stipend.
We strongly encourage FT faculty to be more involved in PT hiring; if we are not involved, the deans will have a disproportionate amount of influence in the hiring of PT faculty.
We are already preparing for our next contract negotiations, which are set for 2022. We believe we will be in a better position at the bargaining table, but there is a lot of work to get us to that place. Please consider lending a hand to the union.
On our website, we have our current contract, MOUs for working during COVID, information for filing for unemployment benefits, and more. Use the website to learn more about your rights and benefits as a union member. Want something added? Let us know.
Hong Herrera Thomas (HIST) put together a really helpful “faculty resource” guide. You can download the guide here: https://aft1388.org/ecc-faculty-resources
Lastly, we really appreciate the work you do for our students, the college, and the communities we serve. If you ever have questions or want to lend a hand, please get in touch with us.
The Executive Board