During our campaign there were fears that if we unionized, SEIU would be another institution to deal with and that adjunct faculty would once again be subjected to someone else’s rules. As a member of the bargaining team, however, I’ve found that our team of adjunct faculty are truly able to function autonomously. We meet independently, and receive support from SEIU staff when we need it.
We haven’t completed negotiations for our contract, as we just began this process. However, there are many concrete examples of improvements that adjunct faculty across the country have gained over the past few years through SEIU-affiliated unions. The CSU system here in California is affiliated with SEIU, for example, and has negotiated health benefits, retirement benefits, more equitable compensation, and a pathway for longer term contracts. There are lots of other examples. 21,000 adjunct faculty have already organized with SEIU, which is more than any other union in the country. Not all of them have negotiated contracts yet. Many of them have.
Despite not yet having a contract at SFAI, there have been changes. I have gone from being afraid to speak openly to having regular meetings to talk with administration about improvements that adjunct faculty would like to make. We have that right, and we have legal protections as members of a union.
I would also add that my experiences at CCA are very different to those at SFAI and I understand and acknowledge the difference in the two cultures. I respect that people have varied ideas about the value of unionizing. Ultimately, I believe in unions and collective bargaining power and will be voting yes. I felt compelled to respond to blatant misinformation being shoveled out at the last minute. J.D. Beltran did this EXACT maneuver as SFAI was going to vote. As someone who has been working closely with SEIU, I can tell you that the picture she paints isn’t remotely connected to reality. She has not been involved with our bargaining efforts whatsoever and has no firsthand knowledge of what has actually been happening.