Greetings fellow K.K.C. Adult Educators:
I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation for selecting me as your campus union steward. I will, in the execution of all duties associated with this office, do my utmost to justify the faith that most of you have in me. I will always, when pursuing your best interests, operate with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism. Under my leadership, you do have a voice. Your issues and concerns are also my mine. Although, I am now your union steward, I am first and foremost an Adult Educator. I am not afraid to directly challenge any administrator, in order to protect your rights, whether they are a manager, dean, vice president, president or chancellor. Despite the potential risk of compromising my own teaching position and meager financial stability, I am willing to fight on your behalf. My philosophy is simple, “I will get the hell out before I sell out!”
I will not lie to you. We do have some difficult days ahead. We are currently experiencing a major crisis which jeopardizes our mutual professional survival and manifests itself in a multitude of undesirable outcomes such as, an anti-labor Illinois governor, a reduction in instructor course load due to declining student enrollment, low student retention levels, insufficient student level gains, confronting an impending district-wide I.C.C.B. probationary mandate, cuts in program funding, skill proficiency testing of Adult Educators (T.A.B.E. & G.E.D. Practice Tests), a steady de-escalation in instructor morale, misusing the classroom evaluative process as a tool for eliminating problematic Adult Educators, K.K.C. administrative personnel exhibiting disrespectful behavior toward Adult Educators, Adult Educators being threatened by K.K.C. administrators, a blatant disregard for the working rights of Adult Educators by K.K.C. administration and a significant drop in G.E.D. graduates. While all of this sounds distressful and quite disconcerting, there is still hope only if we support one another.
There is an unpleasant truth that I must address that some of you may find uncomfortable. There are a few among you who feel that the best way to secure your position is by currying favor with administrative personnel. This is always an unwise course of action and never guarantees long-term employment security. You are also placed in the unenviable position of being an expendable pawn for C.C.C. Administration’s systemic agenda. Some have even gone so far as to become informants for K.K.C. Adult Education Department administrators in order to be rewarded with a substantial increase in instructional hours. I do understand that many of you are fearful of losing your positions. Yet, none of us should be willing to maintain our positions at the expense of sacrificing our fellow Adult Educators. Engaging in this self-serving initiative only weakens the overall position of Adult Educators as a collective unit. Please keep in mind that C.C.C. administration remains united, focused and committed in its efforts to completely marginalize our existence, impede our resistance and diminish our ranks.
There are some K.K.C. Adult Education administrators who use teaching assignments as leverage against Adult Educators that they view as intimidating. These same administrators also show favoritism by engaging in preferential allocation of teaching assignments to Adult Educators who either acquiesce to their authority or are part of a small religious clique. In addition, K.K.C. G.E.D. administrators also pit newly hired Adult Educators against experienced veteran Adult Educators. Newly hired Adult Educators are indoctrinated with administrative propaganda and misinformation. Allegedly, they were often told by the former dean that “all” veteran Adult Educators are incompetent and unqualified to hold their teaching positions due to abysmal student retention numbers. Nothing could be further from the truth! This is nothing more than a targeted series of strategic maneuvers and divisive tactics aimed at creating dissension.
My goal is to foster unity among both new and veteran Adult Educators. However, before this can be done, we must first face the reality of our situation. In order to reign victorious over this intractable menace, we must “change” our behavior by abandoning “self-centered” thinking. We must all find a way to put our mistrust of one another and petty differences aside. This is instrumental to our survival.
As I stated once before, I will vigorously fight to defend your interests. But, I can not do it alone. You will all have to back and support me. Together, we can achieve better working conditions for ourselves and brighter educational opportunities for our students. I do realize that I was not every Adult Educator’s choice but please respect the democratic process. Hopefully, in time, I will gain the respect and admiration of those who doubt my ability. My style will be very “different” from my predecessor. I am an individual who is very discerning and strategic in my approach to dealing with management. I will not be openly boisterous or deliberately confrontational during staff meetings unless absolutely necessary. All inquiries and issues will always be addressed in a professional manner during staff meetings. I believe in carefully picking my battles and reject frivolity. Most disputes, with management, will be conducted and settled from behind the scenes.
I would like to provide you with a brief history of our local. The formation of A.F.S.C.M.E. Local 3506 is attributed to the hard work and personal sacrifice of a small group of Adult Educators from the 1970s that are either retired, deceased or currently exists within our ranks. One such retiree, Professor Emeritus C.A. Lofton, from Kennedy-King College was one of the founding members. She also, at one time, served as vice president for our local. Before the establishment of our local, City Colleges of Chicago provided no benefits and paid Adult Educators approximately $8.25 per hour. This courageous group of Adult Educators often got into volatile and hostile exchanges with C.C.C. District Administration. Their uncompromising stance and perseverance eventually lead to significant changes within our work conditions. C.C.C. District Administration was absolutely flabbergasted, astonished and broadsided by the audacity of these Adult Educators in desiring to create a union. This is one of the primary reasons why so much acrimony exists today between Adult Educators and C.C.C. District has never fully recovered from this defeat.
In conclusion, if you have any inquiries, issues or concerns please feel free to contact me at the email address indicated below. This email address is for all union business. Please do not contact me using my work related C.C.C. email address. This request is an attempt to secure the privacy of any sensitive or personal information.
Yours in Solidarity,
Professor W. Billingsley
K.K.C. Union Steward
A.F.S.C.M.E. Local 3506