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: email@example.com. Any union business should be conducted on personal (not Oakton) email.
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?
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.
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