Organizing effort pays off
Solano College adjunct instructors are reaping the benefits of a massive organizing drive that has resulted in rehire rights and office hours in the new bargaining agreement.
Their union membership has also increased 30 percent in three months.
“It’s a huge step for our district and our association,” said Nick Perrone, an adjunct history instructor who helped spearhead the effort. “We’ve made big strides in a short period of time.”
The adjunct faculty used a number of tools to help organize members and advance their agenda. Initially, faculty created a website, with various instructors providing skills in web design, development and content to reach their members. At the same time, CTA staff helped them collect emails that allowed them to send weekly email blasts to the far-flung group.
But hand in hand with the tools of technology were the weekly lunch-hour meetings where members examined model contracts from other colleges.
“People were really surprised that adjuncts were getting health benefits, office hours and rehire rights,” Perrone said.
The part timers began conducting one-on-ones with other adjunct instructors and put together a petition on Change.org appealing to the board of trustees to “strengthen the college and community by creating a work environment that will support overall student success and campus morale.”
The adjunct faculty also had the support of the negotiating team and executive board of the union, which had pledged to make their concerns a priority at the bargaining table.
Support on E-board
“Our E-board is probably the most sympathetic to adjuncts in my 23 years here,” said James DeKloe, president of the Solano County Community College District faculty association. “We recognize the frustration of adjunct faculty.”
The increased number of new adjunct members in the association gives the part-time faculty another representative on the executive board as well. In addition, as members adjunct faculty have access to discounts, benefits and access to legal advice.
“I think the district now recognizes that adjunct faculty are an important part of the college and that we should have our voices heard,” Perrone said.