OCC-AFA Newsletters

Adjunct News

January 2018

2017-2021 Contract approved


The AFA contract with the Oakton administration that will govern us for the next four years was approved by 91 % of those members voting and the Oakton Board of Trustees at their Dec. 5 Board meeting.    Among many improvements are raises, a vastly increased professional development allowance, and pay for participation in student success and strategic plan initiatives.  In a nutshell (thanks to John Bishop for his summary):


  • Beginning this past August, there will be a 2.99% raise each year of the contract. In your Dec. 29 paycheck, you will see the retroactive amount of the raise covering Fall term listed as separate line items labeled Contractual Retro. (questions? email payroll@oakton.edu, including your full name and Banner ID).
  • In year 3 of the contract, steps 15 and 17 will be added.
  • Librarians have had their faculty status (from “staff”) and pay restored to LHEs and adjunct salary schedule.
  • The Affiliated Adjunct contract will continue for two more years and then sunset in the third year of the contract (Fall 2019).
  • Adjuncts can have 12 LHEs in Spring and Fall semesters with a combination of courses taught and additional activities or responsibilities in the college (such as working on a committee or taking a CPD course). 13 LHE’s are possible with administrative approval. 27 LHEs cannot be exceeded in one academic year.
  • A pool of 12 LHEs per year will be available to pay adjuncts for participation in strategic plan initiatives and student success initiatives. We have tried to increase the voice of adjuncts and involvement in college policies; this allowance enables adjuncts to do so.
  • If a class is canceled ten days or less from the start of the semester, $150 will be paid. This is increased from 7 days and $91-$133/course.
  • Professional development reimbursement is raised from $125 a year to $375 a year. Use of the fund can be delayed and $750 can be requested the second year.

–     Professional development funds can also be used to pay

membership dues in professional organizations or


  • The pool of money available for development reimbursement will increase by $1500 each year of the contract.
  • There will be reimbursement for mileage between campuses for required meetings or classes.
  • An adjunct channel on myOakton with links to essential and helpful information will be set up.
  • There will be a mentorship program for new adjuncts; the joint planning committee for this begins Spring of 2018.


AFA President’s Comments to Oakton College Board of Trustees, December 5, 2017

re:  New AFA Contract and Health Care

As the President of the Adjunct Faculty Association and a member of the negotiating team, I would like to address the Tentative Agreement which you will vote on this evening.  The contract was ratified by 91% of the voting members last week.  We reached this end through an Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) process.  It was a collaborative and congenial process that used problem solving skills to address the interests of the administration and the adjunct faculty.  It worked!   You are about to vote on a Tentative Agreement that met the test of acceptability on both sides and is generally, and I think we can all agree, a “good” agreement.

However, there is one critical, ethical and social justice issue that needs to be addressed by both sides – and that is health care.  In the course of generating this agreement, both sides recognized that there is a need for health care and that in some respects, the past contract recognized this need.  The new contract leaves affiliated adjunct faculty who have benefited from health care coverage behind, as well as current and future adjuncts without real access to affordable health care coverage.

It seems that in order to provide for all, we continue to create a vacuum that leaves members and their families without health care coverage which can result in poor access to health care, including medications for asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure, therapies for autistic children and life-saving cancer treatments.  Our adjuncts and their families are in potentially life threatening situations which disrupt their ability to function well in the classroom. These are some of the real life examples that are now lost by our affiliated adjuncts.

Both negotiating teams had heavy hearts when the Tentative Agreement was reached with regard to health care needs.  We had spent many hours in AFA team meetings and hours in IBB sessions discussing health care and the impact of removal and the potential of creating an insurance pool.  Our duty, as with any agreement, is to meet the needs of the College and all adjunct faculty at Oakton.

We ask the Board and the administration to collaborate with us moving forward to find a solution(s) to this pressing issue for the health of our community, including leading the consortium of community colleges, of which Oakton is a part, to provide some access to health care for adjunct faculty.

Thank you.

Cheryl Thayer


The Persistence Project

Participating in the Persistence Project also counts toward Professional Development, and the new contract has made this easier.  To accommodate the time spent getting to know your students at the beginning of the term, one can reallocate some office hours to the first few weeks of class to accommodate the time spent with students as the project requires.  Your course syllabus and office hours form should reflect these changes.

Commuting Between Campuses?

Keep track of the days on which you need to commute on the same day beween campuses because of your class schedule or department/division meetings so that at the end of the semester, you can submit a request to be reimbursed for the mileage.  Each division might handle this a little differently, so ask your division staff how to request this at the end of the term.



        Spring Membership/Dinner Meeting

The Spring Membership meeting will be

held on Sunday, April 22.  Voting for the new

executive AFA board will be held then; a

sexual harassment training is also planned.

Time and location to be announced.


You are welcome to attend the AFA Board meetings

Meetings will be held on the first Monday of the month
from 1 to 2 in the Far Side room (DP room #2444)

               February 5

 March 5

                 April 2

              May 7

June 4


   Come to the Oakton Board of Trustees meetings at 7:30 on:

Jan. 16 DP

Feb. 20 RHC P104

March 20 DP

April 17 DP

May 22 RHC P104

Click here to see the full newsletter for January 2018

18 January newsletter AFA


Adjunct News

April/May 2017

Report on the April Membership Meeting

 The April membership meeting was attended by approximately 40 adjuncts. In addition to dinner and the chance to connect with colleagues, the membership meetings are ‘working’ meetings with issues brought up and votes by members taken.


Title VII and Title IX: AFA President Cheryl Thayer noted that there have recently been problems with students regarding Titles VII and IX.   Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.    According to Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972,No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Issues involving pregnancy fall under Title VII. As a recipient of federal funds, Oakton is mandated to follow these laws; Cheryl warned that adjuncts must follow through if they have been ‘served’ by the administration, or risk being fired. If you have been, call Cheryl or John Bishop.

Negotiations: The negotiation process has started; the current contract ends on August 18. John Bishop explained the collaborative process (“Interest Based Bargaining”) that is being used in our current negotiations. This strategy has been used by the full-time teachers at Oakton with reportedly good results. It is a “a negotiation strategy in which parties collaborate to find a win-win solution,“ focusing on arriving at agreements that are beneficial to both parties. Research has shown that it produces better contracts. Several questions were asked at the meeting, many about LHE’s and health care related issues, but John noted that talk about specifics about the negotiations is not permitted.

New website, new email address

There is a new website, oaktonadjuncts.com, which is up and running. Until everything has been transferred the old site is still running.
There is a different email address: afaoakton@gmail.com. Any union business should be conducted on personal (not Oakton) email.

AFA Membership:
There is just a $30 a year difference between being a full member of the union and a ‘fair share’ payer. Right now, there are about 230 full members and about 100 ‘fair share.’ Although this is far less than a few years ago, it is chiefly because adjunct hours have shrunk due to lower enrollment.

Won’t You Join Us?

 Do you want a voice in whether the new contract will be passed? Only AFA members are permitted to vote. The contract covers much of our lives at Oakton – what we are paid, policies regarding subbing and sick leave, if we can serve on committees and how much we are compensated, how much of a voice we have in how the college is run. If you are not a member, this will happen without your say-so.

One issue that comes up regarding union membership is union endorsement of political figures. Some who object to unions say their money goes to candidates that they themselves don’t approve of. This “PAC” money is the $30 difference between full membership and fair-share. And if this is what bothers you, you can ask for a refund of that money and get it back. It involves a simple email to IEA in Springfield before the end of the year. Now will you join?

Annuitant News

A federal judge has ruled that the law suit against Oakton filed by former math instructor Barry Dayton alleging violation of age discrimination laws can proceed as a class action law suit, according to a May 25 article from the Daily Herald. Over a year ago, Oakton decided to no longer employ retired instructors receiving SURS pensions (“annuitants”) who had returned to teach classes. The judge’s decision means that these 79 former employees can be included in the lawsuit.  Barry and his colleagues are asking for the opportunity to teach again at Oakton and to receive lost wages.

This lawsuit approaches the problem differently from the complaint that the AFA brought against the administration on behalf of the annuitants. That complaint was based on language used in the AFA contract with Oakton that resulted in an arbitration, which the administration won. We wish Barry and his colleagues success.

Are You Eligible to Continue Teaching?

 Every five years, adjuncts are required to give evidence of their professional eligibility. One needs to show what professional courses, conferences, workshops, and so on that they have attended to continue to be up to date. Take this seriously. It takes some time to round up all the material and summarize what benefit it has had for you – I just finished mine last night – so don’t put it off. Mine is due shortly; yours might be also.

Brava! Bravo!

Peter Kolos of the Division of Social Sciences and Business won the 2016 Ray Hartstein Awards for Outstanding Professional Excellence in Teaching for part-time faculty. Congratulations, Peter!

In whatever area you have achievements,
let us know so that we can share your good news.
Contact: Linda Berendesen

Adjunct News from Colorado: Adjunct Fired     Per Inside HigherEd ,

Adjunct Nathaniel Bork, philosophy teacher at Denver area Community College of Aurora was fired mid-term last fall. This happened after he complained to the Higher Learning Commission that the college was “degrading standards” in “Guaranteed Transfer Pathway” courses in an attempt to enable more students to transfer to 4 year institutions. Unlike Oakton, due process is not built in to teachers’ employment there.

What is the AFA?

It’s your union, protecting and fighting for the rights of all adjuncts covered under the bargaining agreement between the college and the AFA (anyone teaching at least six LHE’s in any of the three previous terms).

Your AFA Officers

Cheryl Thayer, President

Mary Hope Griffin, Vice Pres.

Cindy Del Medico, Treasurer

Linda Berendsen, Secretary

John Bishop, Grievance Chair

Cathy Willis, Membership Chair

Valerie Krejcie, Membership

Room 2470 DP

Voicemail at (847) 635- 2193

Web site: oaktonadjuncts.com