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By CCA President Eric Kaljumägi

Every now and then, someone tells me that while they know about the value of NEA’s federal advocacy and while they are well aware of CTA’s work within California, they don’t know what CCA does. Sometimes they aren’t even clear on what CCA is.

CCA is an internal affiliate of CTA, dependent on CTA staff and working within CTA’s governance structure. However, we have our own board, our own council, our own committees, and our own budget. We work at a statewide level in a number of areas, including advocacy, equity and diversity, legislation, membership development support, part-time issues, and policy. While our bylaws and standing rules provide over 60 pages of detail, I’d like to summarize CCA within a few paragraphs.

CTA is a PK-14 organization, and over 96 percent of CTA’s members are PK-12. Thus, CCA’s leaders often have to explain and advocate for community college faculty within CTA itself. To accomplish this, VP Randa Wahbe and I interact with the CTA Board of Directors on a regular basis, and we work with the CTA State Council delegates from higher education to promote an understanding of the needs of college faculty at State Council meetings.

Actually, most of the higher education positions that come to State Council originate with one of CCA’s committees. Legislation that primarily affects California Community Colleges is routed by CTA to CCA’s Legislation and Advocacy Committee for review before being considered at State Council. Similarly, most CTA policies that deal with higher education originate with CCA’s Policy Committee. CCA is a proud component of CTA!

Although we share (with one exception) physical districts led by school boards/boards of trustees, the community colleges are organized at the state level separately from PK-12 districts. That is why VP Wahbe and I monitor the CCC Board of Governors and interact with the leaders of other statewide college-centered organizations. CTA’s seat on the state chancellor’s Consultation Council is traditionally held by the CCA president, and I advocate for faculty in that venue as well.

While some of the working conditions we encounter are similar to those in PK-12, the community college system’s dependence on a large number of part-time faculty and the fact that most of our students are adults creates an environment that’s quite different. This is why CCA has its own Part-Time Faculty Issues Committee (PTFIC), Faculty Equity and Diversity Committee (FEDC), and Membership Development Committee. This is also why CCA provides a community college-specific training strand at the CTA Presidents Conference.

Finally, CCA communicates specifically to community college faculty and offers multiple workshops and conferences each year that utilize CTA staff to train your local’s officers, negotiators, upcoming leaders and committee chairs. Your local union leaders use these events to network with other community college union leaders and to learn how to improve and maintain your salaries, benefits and working conditions.

If you would like to learn more about CCA, I encourage you to browse our website, cca4us.org. Even better, talk to your local president about being a delegate to one of our upcoming conferences.

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