Volume 47, Number 1
Part-time and ESP organize
Faculty and staff at two different community colleges are strengthening their collective voices by becoming union members of the Community College Association.
Seeking affiliation with the CCA is a group of classified staff at Tahoe Community College who will become the organization’s first chapter of education support professionals, or ESP. Also joining CCA’s ranks are the part-time faculty of Imperial Valley College, who have joined at the IVC Part-time Faculty Association.
Lot of leg work
“We did a lot of leg work to make this happen,” said Norma Scott, interim president of the IVC part-time association. “We worked at it off-and-on for two years. Now that we’re established, we want to be a strong union for the part-time faculty.”
A cadre of part-time faculty that included Scott, Elizabeth Trevino, Jeronimo Garay and Jean Montenegro voluntarily tracked down their colleagues before and after classes and on Saturdays to conduct “one-on-one” discussions about the benefits of joining the union. The group spent hours going through schedules to identify who potential members were and where they were teaching. There are currently about 180 part-time faculty at IVC.
“We’re excited,” Trevino said. “We’re hoping to negotiate better salaries and office space. Many of our faculty carry their office in their cars.”
Providing support to the organizing efforts was Gaylla Finell, president of the full-time faculty association at IVC and CCA board member for the college.
“This will strengthen all faculty. Part-timers have never had a voice here. They’ve had two seats on the Academic Senate, but often they haven’t been filled. Becoming a union will give them an opportunity to work on wages and to feel that they are valued,” Finnell said, adding that she hoped that both full-time and part-time faculty on campus move to become a wall-to-wall unit.
Classified staff at Tahoe Community College are also hoping to strengthen their hand through union membership.
“It was time,” explained Diane Lewis, a library technician and online instructor whose e-mail address has Norma Rae in it, after the South Carolina factory organizer played by Sally Field. “Our salaries are the lowest in the system and we want a real contract that offers security, protection and strength."