I hope my letter finds you and your family in good health as nothing is more important than that. I also hope you took the long weekend to get in touch with the people you love and care for, and hopefully with that presence, the desire that made you join our profession and our union was strengthened. Please remember that this is the second year that all of us were able to enjoy Thanksgiving without having to go to work on Saturday and be paid. Reach next to you and thank every member of the union for paying his dues and making our work possible. As for the those who would rather receive our union pay and benefits at a discounted rate as fair shares, I hope they are truly thankful to you and maybe a bit chagrined with themselves.
I’m writing this letter to update you regarding some pressing issues:
As part of our ongoing effort regarding contract negotiations, I have met with our key leaders a number of times to prepare strategies as part of our ongoing process and to reach a voluntary agreement and a new contract to be offered for your approval.
It is clear from the CCC’s latest contract behavior and from the multiple announced layoffs that they are truly in transition and that their original negotiations’ team no longer works for the CCC.
We of course are frustrated by their perpetual misconduct of perpetual delay, but we will not let this stand in our way as we never did before. In spite of this latest turn of events, we will not give up our efforts to achieve a voluntary settlement that is fair and protects our members’ best interests. We therefore requested:
1. The intervention of council 31 and the services of their state director who indeed was able to get things rolling again on our behalf:
1) by reaching out personally to CCC leadership;
2) by replacing our past Council 31 rep that we assessed as being laggard as per his responsibilities with a more professional and motivated staff representative.
2. New Council 31 rep indeed has been able to arrange meetings with our leadership and CCC’s legal representatives, and meetings are being arranged.
3. An official negotiators’ meeting is taking place this Wednesday at M.X. at 3 pm.
4. This is not by any means the end of the road. The law makes it clear that is the duty of both labor and management to exert every reasonable effort to come to an agreement. We take that obligation seriously. Be assured that we have been working very hard on your behalf and we will continue to pursue every available avenue to achieve a fair contract settlement worthy of your consideration.
More information will be forthcoming after the negotiations’ sessions scheduled later next month. We appreciate your continuing support.
Special General Membership Meeting:
- Please join me this December the 14th at MX College at 11 am to be updated on the work of our union and to provide your feedback on the work being done!
- The last General Meeting was moved to our offices the last moment because CCC declared their Dawson College location closed at 1 pm, despite a request having been made for space usage.
- 14 members joined me for a good meeting at 641 W. Lake Street our office. However, quorum was not met, and I want to make sure that members have the opportunity to meet and lead before the New Year.
- During these serious times in our society, it is important that as teachers of adults we remember the critical role we play in the lives of hundreds of thousands. Now more than ever, we need to stay united and to pursue a simple truth: Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions, and our students’ dreams will help to build the reality of our future.
- I’m proud to say that we have a great team of adult educators who are working hard every day to represent our needs and our students’ needs. Every day our union stewards and leaders get up and go to work on your behalf. That’s why we have earned the respect of the honest hard working administrators of the system and the concerned worry of the opportunists who also are part of managing the CCC system.
- I’m especially proud of our stewards for assertively protecting our rights in every single college. As an adult educator said the other day about her steward and her grievance: “I thought Johnny Cochran had entered the room and was defending me!” While I hope you don’t need us to come to your aid, know that our stewards are trained, certified, receive ongoing training and are superbly supervised.
- Our Chief Steward and Associate Chief Steward have devoted countless hours on your behalf and have earned the appreciation of the hearing officers and the Presidents and HR of every single college, for being prepared, professional, collaborative and always willing to find a way to satisfy our students’ needs and to protect our unit.
- Our negotiations’ team was singled out in appreciation by CCC administration for presenting completed proposals backed up by data and reasoning unlike other unions.
- In addition, you need to know that we are spending hours doing research on your behalf, reaching out to community organizations and building alliances, calling on politicians to explain our cause and finally, everyday, like you, we are in the classrooms fighting the most important fight.
- Our work has resulted in the following:
1) paid Thanksgivings Saturday;
2) paid time to do syllabi and to prepare each term;
3) FMLA TRULY available for members when needed;
4) retroactive pay for Advanced Degrees;
5) peace of mind for teachers and coordinators who have been habitually harassed, and discipline removed from their records;
6) managers working in a supportive role with our members instead of trying to play bosses.
Finally, Brothers and Sisters, everything happens because of you, because of your hard work, and because of your desire to have each other’s back. Our agenda is to stand up for you, our profession, and for what’s right.
In unity and with respect,
AFSCME 3506 President