WW – October 19th, 2022

Hi All,

Recently our union has been under attack by an anti-union misinformation campaign from within our union. These attacks have been occurring for over a month and have been designed to create division between tenured and non-tenured faculty. AFT 1521 believes in the free speech rights of its members and encourages healthy descent. Decent is necessary to continue growing and better serve our members. But we can no longer stand by without a response to these continued attacks as we head into what may be the most challenging contract negotiations we have ever had.

I believe this misinformation campaign has been effective with a small number of our members and some of this is our fault as a union. We have not done a great job of messaging and educating our members on our wins in the contract for full and part-time faculty. Often this was out of fear that we could anger the other group, but I believe this is misguided on our part. Most of you understand that contract negotiations are tough, and we must fight for everything we get. Since Janus, union busters have increased their efforts to weaken and divide unions. Anti-union forces celebrate our division. A divided union is a weak union. We must unite and fight for each other, not with each other.

Unions have given Americans everything we enjoy about our jobs, fewer working hours, higher wages, benefits, healthcare, paid holidays, overtime pay, etc. To hurt the labor movement is to weaken worker rights. Some individuals want to dismantle our union. Without our union, we could lose things like seniority rights, class sizes could rise leaving adjuncts with fewer jobs, and we couldn’t protect our healthcare and retirement benefits.

Our union has a history of fighting for all our members and has secured one of the best contracts not just in the state but in the country. Can we do more? Could it be improved? YES! That is the point of going back to the table every three years. We get to fight to strengthen our contract for all our faculty, students, and campuses.

I promise we will continue to fight for the rights, benefits, and jobs of all our faculty. Every one of you deserves that. You need to be respected and compensated for the transformative work you do. If you care about the issues for adjuncts, full-timers, non-classroom, CTE, and non-credit faculty, this is not the time to be a house divided. We need as much help as possible during this contract campaign. We will continue to work hard for better benefits, wages, and working conditions for all our faculty.

We can only win a fight based on facts, not fiction and lies. If you have questions or concerns, contact me; let’s talk, listen to each other, and work together to get what we all deserve. I believe in the power we have when we fight together. Join us in the upcoming contract campaign and let’s get the contract we deserve. I have listed some of our many past wins below:

  • Our adjuncts are number four in California for hourly wage.
  • Two career increments were added for adjuncts.
  • We secured a 15% increase in funding towards adjunct health care and a full year with 100% during covid. Currently working with CFT, we got state legislation to get 100% for each adjunct and their family.
  • We are now fighting to get the district the same healthcare at the same rate for adjuncts.
  • We are also one of the few districts where the adjunct is paid at the same rate for lecture and lab hours of instruction.
  • We get paid by the class, which is calculated for 20 weeks of work but only scheduled for the equivalent of 18 weeks of instruction.
  • We have some of the strongest adjunct rehire rights in the state, with seniority rights to classes and the right to the same day and same time whenever possible.
  • We have ensured the contribution to medical at only a 0.33 load, while Ed Code requires 0.4.
  • We got ancillary pay for other duties that do not affect the 67% teaching rule.
  • We have guaranteed the ability to retiree and return to teach, and if meeting eligibility.
  • The union fought for and continues to fight for all evaluations and the tenured process to be instructive and not punitive.
  • After losing the Healthcare Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), the Guild fought hard and was able to have that restored.
  • We improved our PPO plans from an 80% covered and 20% copay to a 90% covered ten-dollar copay with no cost to our employees.
  • We improved our vision care to cover polycarbonate lenses and all coatings and were able to add computer glasses coverage for all employees.
  • We were able to add reimbursement for retirees for Medicare Part B premiums.
  • Full-time faculty will benefit from a secure retirement that will be payable for the rest of their lives and can be shared with beneficiaries.

In Unity,

A. James McKeever PhD

AFT 1521 Faculty Guild President