Editorial: The sad state of the union

Posted: November 28, 2017 in Uncategorized



What CCFT has asked you to do is untenable on so many levels.

1.) First, let’s see if I got this right. The union is in mediation and fact-finding (mega dues $$$ used on legal fees), for 1% more for the prior academic year, 2016-17. I have one question to ask: Why?  If a union team can’t pry 1% from the district without all this, they might think about doing something else.

Our union went to salary mediation only several times in its first 14 years. And, each time, it was for something noteworthy. We never came out of mediation with less than a full 3% salary raise in addition to anything else we may have agreed to prior to mediation. One mediation session was particularly memorable. At the close, we ended up getting everything we wanted. In fact, Mike Hargett, then CBO, asked us, after we signed the mediated agreement, why we got everything and they got nothing (it’s true; they didn’t get anything). He seemed surprised. I told him that next time might be better for him. The district wasn’t happy with the outcome and fired their chief labor negotiator, upset that the union was getting a lot of stuff and the district wasn’t. That’s what supposed to happen.

The point is that we–every one of our negotiation team–knew what we were doing. We worked to be one step in front of the district at all times. This union is reactionary. Bad place to be, especially with the virulence of the anti-union animus that Cuesta has been famous for statewide for decades.

2.) CCFT is asking part-time faculty to either participate in this campaign only if they want to but if they don’t, “we instead ask that you support your full-time, tenured colleagues who are participating.” You’ve got to be kidding.

These are the full-time “colleagues” who overwhelmingly voted against their part-time “colleagues” in the small-step-toward-parity vote in the last contract ratification election in May 2016. Some, or many, of these full-timers who voted against the part-timers had formerly been, at least I thought they had been, strong part-time supporters. Not so. Part-timers appear to have a handful, at best, of full-time supporters–supporters not in cheap words, but in the true sense: that they would absorb some pain for their part-time sisters and brothers.

These are the full-time faculty who did nothing to put the union president on the hot seat last Fall for failing to make a serious case for part-time parity with the district in October 2016 as she promised.   She lied—true–to the part-timers when she was hustling to get their vote that they should be patient, that the union will go back and get the district to move toward parity in October, blah, blah, blah. From what I hear, the union is putting a lot of energy toward getting increased part-time office hours and can’t get them. The increased office hours are nothing compared to a salary increase. Part-timers already told you in all of the many surveys you’ve sent out that salary comes first, including a move in parity.

And, the union is asking the part-timers for solidarity.

3.) CCFT is proposing that faculty jump on the “Work to Contract” campaign bandwagon. Shame on any faculty that have been working more than what their contract requires all these years. I’m kind of doubting that this is a great number of the rank and file, but I certainly may be wrong because I know very little about this Cuesta.  Many faculty I know are keeping their heads down, doing their job, and doing nothing more. Or, they’re trying to teach online.  And, they’re keeping an eye on their retirement count-down calendar.

Why do you think one of the biggest tenets of unionism is that workers get paid for all their work? Because it was the blood of the worker that was spilled in that fight. Don’t you see? Unions are supposed to set a level playing field since it is the bosses that have all the power. When you work for free, they laugh at you. They know they are in charge. What good has playing nice, like the NAGS (New-Approach Group) wanted done for faculty? How many new full-timers can barely afford to rent in the county much less in SLO proper? How do you think the low salaries of our part-timers fare?

But, you go right ahead and be proud of the 20 faculty who tagged along to the administration building when mediation started. You think that makes a hoot of difference with those on the hill? Do you really think that “work to contract” will make the least bit of difference here? If you don’t get that it won’t yet, I’m not sure what will clue you in.

When I was booted out of office in 2008, Cuesta full-time faculty ranked overall (with the exception of low starting salaries which was next on our planned to-do list) at approximately 35/72 districts. And, some individual faculty pay categories were even higher. Part-time salaries were in the upper quartile. Now, we have fallen to the bottom ranking due to this union and its predecessor.

All the hard work done over the prior years that we all worked together to achieve—gone.

Truthfully, I’m not surprised at the results. It was a game, a competition to them. What I am very surprised about is that the faculty think so little of themselves and their value to this institution and its students that they fall for any of this and just don’t get stinking mad and do something.


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  1. Guest says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated! Keep up the good work!

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