Click to download or print the 18 May 2018 – AFA newsletter
Spring Membership Meeting/Dinner
A good crowd of members attended the Spring Membership meeting at Club Casa Café on River Road. Elections were held for the AFA Executive Board; the newly elected Executive Board for the next three years – Cheryl Thayer (President), John Bishop (Vice President), Cindy DelMedico (Treasurer), and Linda Berendsen (Secretary) – will begin serving on August 1. The new location was spacious and comfortable, and there was spirited discussion about the upcoming Supreme Court hearing of the Janus case. The case will be heard in the near future; if it passes, people who now are “fair share” – fee payers to the AFA but not chipping in the extra $30 per academic year to become actual members – will no longer have to pay anything. They would, however, still benefit from the union negotiated contract – getting the highest salary of any community college in the state, being represented at grievances, and so on. Of course, this would severely impact the ability of the IEA to function behind the scenes in the legislative and media arenas. Right now, the AFA has the lowest ratio of fee payers to union members ever.
John Bishop noted two important lessons that we need to learn from the recent dismissals of two adjuncts. One instructor viewed inappropriate websites on a computer in an adjunct faculty office in view of the public. John noted that Oakton takes this very seriously, and that computers are Oakton property and nothing done on them is private. The second dismissal was for a non-related matter, but was overturned and the faculty member is back teaching. Why? Procedures protecting faculty were not followed. Proper procedures are important. If you are not sure whether an issue is or is not covered by the contract, please contact John.
Got your Fall classes?
If you have taught 22 semesters at Oakton, you are entitled to teach two classes. If you think you have not been assigned them due to a new hire in your department, let John Bishop know. This is an issue that can be grieved.
Do you commute between DP and RHC?
Many of us find ourselves commuting between Oakton’s campuses on a single day for classes or required meetings. One of the benefits of the new contract is payment of mileage for these trips, paid at the end of each term. Check your calendars to see how many times you have done this, and ask your division office staff how to report it.
Increased Professional Development Allowance
Because of the $375 professional development now available to adjuncts as a result of the new contract, I was able to attend the international convention in my field held here in Chicago in March. This would have been impossible for me under the old contract. It also would have been impossible for me to pay the convention fee up front and wait a few weeks to be reimbursed by the college. I was able to attend, however, because the college will pay in advance – provided the check is sent directly from Oakton to the sponsoring professional organization. Your division staff can help you with this.
Now that adjuncts are being included in shared governance at the college, you may be invited to serve on one of the various committees. While serving is definitely a time commitment, we are paid to serve on these. My recent participation on a search committee was an unexpectedly great experience: I got to know people in other areas of the college I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise, I learned more about the college’s inner workings, and was part of some really interesting discussions. I’d do it again. If you would like to serve on a committee as well, let Cheryl Thayer know.
Union membership also entitles you to NEA benefits such as
- Car rentals that include benefits such as free mileage, free upgrades, emergency road service, free second driver, discounts on rentals
- Auto insurance – members save an average of $495 a year.
- Flood insurance, Pet insurance, Complimentary Life Insurance, Dental and Vision Insurance
- 15% on monthly AT&T phone service
- Discount tickets for live entertainment for Blue Man Group, the Color Purple, Dirty Dancing
- 20%-50% off average retail prices of brand-name hearing aides
- Restaurant certificates – $4 for $10 certificates at restaurants such as La Unica (Cuban) on Devon, Purple Sprout Café (vegan) in Wheeling, Maharaja Indian (Rosemont), $10 for a $25 certificate at Sweet Baby Ray’s (Elk Grove). A wide variety of restaurants are located all over the metro area.
Of course, you need to join to take advantage of these discounts.
Perhaps not beach material, but AdjunctNation.com reviewed two books of interest: Academic Apartheid: Waging the Adjunct War (ed. Sylvia DeSantis) is an “excellent, varied collection of narrative and reflective essays” by adjuncts, and Gypsy Scholars, Migrant Teachers, and the Global Academic Proletariat: Adjunct Labour in Higher Education (ed. R. Teeuwen and S. Hantke) is a collection of 14 essays written by adjuncts both here and abroad and written in a more “academic tone.”
Teaching or not, at home or traveling,
Have a wonderful summer!
Click to download or print the 18 March 2018 AFA newsletter
Spring Membership Meeting/Dinner
April 22 5 – 7:30 p.m.
The Spring Membership meeting will be held on Sunday, April 22. We will be at a new location: Club Casa Café at 353 N. River Rd. in Des Plaines, across from Holy Family Medical Center. As always, members are free; guests and non-members are $25. RSVP to Valerie Krejcie in Div. 3 or at email@example.com.
The executive Board of the AFA is at the end of their three-year terms. Voting for the new AFA board will be at the meeting; voting will open at the beginning of the meeting during appetizers, so if you need to vote and run without staying for dinner, that is possible. (See #3 below for info on running for one of these positions.)
From the President:
- There are many union activities this semester. Last fall you voted for the IEA representatives to the Regional Assembly in Rosemont, identifying David Williams and Randy Felsenthal to represent us. Cathy Willis and I also attend as minority representative and Higher Education Board member to the Regional Assembly, which carries out the business of the Illinois Education Association, of which we are a part.
- The NEA Regional Assembly vote has passed. If you did not receive a ballot and envelope, please contact Ruth Whitney at: firstname.lastname@example.org We need to ensure that our mailing addresses are correct.
- This semester at our membership meeting, you will be voting for your Adjunct Faculty Association Executive Board. Nearer the time, you will be notified so you may apply for candidacy for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer. These are for three-year terms beginning in August, 2018.
- During Orientation week, the Oakton’s Chief of Police, Marvin Bornschlegl, announced that there is now an Emergency Management plan for Oakton. He stressed that many faculty had not updated or registered information in Alert Oakton through MyOakton. Alert Oakton notifies you of school closures due to inclement weather, flooding, or any serious condition, so please update your information as soon as possible.
The Chief also shared this additional information:
- Emergency preparedness information can be located by anyone clicking on the “Emergency Preparedness” link found on the bottom right corner of each of the pages of the oakton.eduweb page.
- Students and employees can learn more about emergency preparedness by visiting the FEMA preparedness for citizens page: https://www.dhs.gov/private-citizen
- Employees looking for more information can visit: https://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness
- Additionally, employees interested in learning more about emergency
- preparedness and active threats, can take the FEMA IS-907 course: https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-907
- Title IX training ended on February 28. If you have not completed the training, login to MyOakton, click on Employee tab and in the Announcements (middle section) click on the Title IX training. If it is not operational, direct any questions to Mindy Finnigan.
- Adjunct faculty have been invited for the first time to participate in the Faculty Retreat held on Friday of Orientation week. The AFA has agreed to help subsidize this event. More details will be forthcoming.
- As part of the finalized contract, an Adjunct Faculty channel was approved. The Channel is now active and located in Teach & Advise through MyOakton at the end of the second column.
- On February 26, the Supreme Court heard the Janus case (Janus v. AFSCME). In a nutshell, Janus is challenging the right of AFSCME to collect fees from people who do not want to belong to a local union (Fair Share). The Supreme Court ruling may rescind previous Supreme Court rulings (for a more complete discussion go to: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/26/17053328/janus-afscme-supreme-court-unions-minorities Thus, the AFA is looking to establish a strategy group to address issues facing the membership as a result of the anticipated negative decision of the Janus case.. Engagement is one of the greatest issues we face. As a union we want to be more inclusive of all adjunct faculty and engage more of our members. To that end, an AFA Strategic Planning Committee is being formed and is open to all adjunct employees. It is a priority for all of us. Please send an email to: email@example.com if you are interested in being a part of this strategic planning group.
Trustee Reception a Success
Prior to the last Oakton Board of Trustees meeting, the AFA hosted a reception for the Trustees. Finger food was served, and many Board and various adjunct faculty were able to meet each other in an informal setting and chat. The Board was able to find out about our concerns and experiences, and we were able to share ideas and observations with Board members individually.
Click to download or print the 18 March 2018 AFA newsletter
Click to download or print the 18 January 2018 AFA newsletter
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 associations.
- 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.
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)
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 to download or print the 18 January 2018 AFA newsletter