What an exciting moment! We are on the verge of making history at CCA. Ballots will be showing up in your mailbox any day now, and it’s our chance to finally be in a position to negotiate the terms of our employment. It’s important to remember that forming a union is not about creating a division between faculty and the administration, or between ranked and non-ranked faculty. It’s about taking our position as adjuncts in a federally-protected legal framework that allows faculty to sit down with their employers as equals and produce a contract that serves everyone’s interests--including those of our students. Teaching conditions are learning conditions.
Unfortunately, there’s been some anti-union messaging popping up, and we just want to take this opportunity to clear up any misconceptions:
FALSE: We haven’t had enough time to think this through.
TRUE: Adjunct faculty have been meeting and discussing this issue since last February, including multiple meetings over the summer, along with many group and person-to-person emails and phone calls. If you assigned your students a research project 7 months ago and they came to you now to say that they haven’t really had enough time, what would you tell them?
FALSE: The union is rushing the vote.
TRUE: Over the summer, several adjunct faculty members expressed concern to SEIU about the potential complications of a summer vote, and SEIU heeded our concerns--this is why the vote has been scheduled while school is in session. Ultimately, the final date was determined by the National Labor Relations Board; however, holding the election early in the semester was something that we advocated for. The administration has already had plenty of time to send us letters, emails and hold meetings. Do we really need to drag out the election process any longer?
FALSE: “No” doesn’t really mean “no.”
TRUE: As any academic can tell you, in a “yes” or “no” election, relative positions are not on offer. But, since you’re already an academic, the argument that “no” means “not yet” or "unsure" should be easily deciphered as a delaying tactic (and certainly NOT a neutral position). If we were inclined to dance the rhetorical foxtrot, we could just as easily say that “yes” means “let’s try it for a year” and “unsure” means “vote yes to support your fellow faculty.” As much as we hope that you’ll vote “yes,” we won’t insult your intelligence by telling you that a “yes” vote means something other than “yes.”
FALSE: CCA’s track record shows that it can do better without a union.
TRUE: CCA is a great place to work but, under current conditions, change happens slowly, selectively, and at the discretion of the administration. This is a paternalistic relationship at best, and one that can easily be disrupted with administrative staffing changes. Although CCA may be better than the national average, the national crises in education is an extremely low bar to set as a standard. When we form a union, we can sit down with the administration as equals, discuss what’s best for our college, and arrive at a contract that truly reflects the needs and desires of our learning community.
FALSE: CCA can’t really afford to make these changes.
TRUE: We all care about the economic health of our school. However, this is a legitimate question asked in a misleading way. It's often paired with the false assertion that paying adjuncts a living wage will necessarily mean a decline in program funding, financial aid, or other faculty/staff/student resources. Here are the facts:
- CCA increased its net assets by over $7 million in the last fiscal year, and increased its total revenue by $400,000 to $84.1 million.
- In the all-faculty meeting, Melanie Corn reported that enrollment was looking "great."
- There appears to be enough money coming in for Steve Beal to feel justified receiving an $85,000 BONUS (in addition to a $413,000 salary and a $43,000 raise). His bonus alone is more than the combined annual salaries of 4 Lecturers. Can CCA really afford this, when faculty are not even being paid a living wage?
- Don't just take our word on it. Here's what Mark Cassell, Associate Professor of Political Science at Kent State University, has to say about the subject of unionization and its effect on university budgets after analyzing 23 years worth of data: "The empirical analysis included several measures of university performance that reflected values of efficiency and effectiveness. Based on the experience of 432 public four-year institutions over 23 years, I find that unionization improves efficiency and effectiveness. Unionization contributes to lower budgets, higher graduation rates, and a greater number of degrees and completions." - from The Impact of Unionization on University Performance: A Cross-sectional Time Series Analysis Can we afford not to make this step forward?
We love CCA and we want to see it reach its best potential as a national leader in community-building, social justice, and creative pursuits. Please join us in voting “yes” to form our union. The time is now!