(Scroll to end for update)
You should be congratulated! You have a mighty and growing group (two more joined yesterday) of your part-time colleagues who are wicked smart, tireless, and dedicated to improve your lot in life.
You should be congratulated! Because of this team and in a very short amount of time, 44 faculty members were willing to vote against their own, short-term best interest and vote for parity; this is a first, and, in itself, is quite remarkable. This, of course, does not even include those part-time faculty who thought they were members and wanted to vote “No.” Or, those part-time union members who had their classes snatched from them this term and were not allowed to vote “No.” Or, those 20 people who voted and whose votes were not counted because the Election Committee would not verify ballots (easily done; we called faculty to verify routinely because we wanted all ballots counted) when they didn’t find their signature on the large envelope.
Apparently, this was the largest turnout of voters in some time. No surprise there. People tend to vote when their pocketbook is affected.
We clearly did not expect the “No” vote to prevail. But, we had hoped for support from full-time faculty members who had previously stood with part-timers on parity issues. That did not happen. Clearly, money trumped equality and fairness, and, for that, I am deeply sad.
You should be congratulated! Reaching part-time faculty has always been one of the toughest political jobs on campus since they are often scattered among campuses and colleges trying to make a living. Part-time faculty did not come out in droves to vote. That is unfortunate. The team needs to employ better means of reaching them. But, many of you have been reached, and you told us that the part-timers’ campaign actually changed your mind. And, this is only the beginning.
You should be congratulated! This part-time team is exploring working within the union to achieve parity goals. If this doesn’t work, however, they are open to exploring the possibility of breaking off from CCFT and creating a part-timers’ union, such as is the case at Hancock. When we formed CCFT in 1994, we fought to have part-timers included in the same union to the dismay of many of the full-time old guard. The part-timers at Hancock tried for a long time to get the support and bargaining strength from their full-time colleagues to no avail. So, they broke off and formed their own CFT chapter. And, under the leadership of Mark Miller, they have had incredible successes, greater than those of their full-time colleagues, it seems.
In this morning’s email from Stakes, NOT ONE WORD was mentioned about going forward with parity movement for part-timers as the union’s number one goal for October’s negotiations. Not one word. We expect lip service from management but from the union? If any parity movement is achieved in Fall, it will only be because this new working team has made it an issue not to be ignored. If the union truly was concerned about part-time issues, the part-timers’ concerns and efforts this election cycle to achieve parity movement would have at least been acknowledged. They were not.
You should be congratulated! Those of you who “get it” know that the district literally gave this money for raises to the union by robbing the full-time faculty new hire pot of money. This, of course, took potential full-time positions from part-timers who had already turned in their applications! So, part-timers took a double hit–no step toward parity AND no possibility of full-time employment. Yet, no one complained: not the full-timers, not the union, and not the academic senate. You now know where you stand and know that you must step up and step out to make change happen.
You should be congratulated! You do have the support of some full-timers, including the following full-time faculty member who publicly stated: “I stand firmly in solidarity with our PT colleagues in supporting a NO vote on this TA. One goes, we ALL go!! That’s what I thought union was supposed to be about . . . .” Yes, that is what unions are supposed to be about: helping the all, especially those who suffer the most. Solidarity, after all.
How many times during this campaign did you hear full-time faculty say, “We support part-time faculty, but . . . .” What that means is “We’re saying that we support you, but we really don’t. At least we don’t until I get my money.” If these faculty truly supported the part-time move to parity, why weren’t they there fighting for it before negotiations were finished, before it came to a vote and faculty didn’t want to lose what was before them? Why? Because it didn’t matter. Part-timers should not forget that.
If, however, full-time faculty do mean what they said, then they should be ready to do whatever is necessary—whatever is necessary–come October to bring part-timers a step closer to parity.
Historically, women have needed men to help them move up the rung toward equality. People of color have also often needed whites to move forward. LGBTQ individuals have needed their straight allies. Oppressed groups have always needed the help of those in positions of power. So, too, do our part-time faculty need the support of full-timers in their fight. I hope more join in.
So, We’re What’s Left offers you, part-time colleagues, our congratulations. Losing this vote? Meh. It’s only one brick in the wall. If you or any full-timers wish to be part of the exciting movement ahead, please contact us.
UPDATE: WE JUST HEARD FROM A PART-TIME FACULTY MEMBER WHO THANKED ME FOR THIS RESPONSE AND SAID, UNHAPPILY, THAT S/HE WAS PROBABLY ONE OF THE 20 WITHOUT A SIGNATURE ON THE OUTER ENVELOPE . S/HE MISSED THE INSTRUCTION ABOUT THE LARGE ENVELOPE.
This faculty member is not alone. Many, many faculty have missed one or more of the instructions over the years. This needs to be changed. We have the technology. Use it. The above instructor is not one we want to be left out of the electoral process.