SFCC-AAUP May 2019 Updates

 

From: Santa Fe Community College AAUP
Date: May 28, 2019 at 5:22:12 PM MDT
Subject: An Update from Our SFCC-AAUP President

Dear Friends,

As your union president, I just wanted to connect with all of you because we have so much to be proud of together. Some of you won’t get this until we are back from summer break, but whenever you read this, I hope you will take a moment to recognize the distance we’ve all come in our unionizing journey. In December of 2016, the faculty filed union cards with the state of New Mexico. Then in March of 2017, you all cast votes that expressed an overwhelming 94% support to unionize. In December of 2017, our negotiating team began the long, difficult road, built on personal sacrifice of time and energy, to securing a very first Collective Bargaining Agreement for all of us. On Monday, May 20th, union members finished casting votes, establishing a clear wish to ratify the contract, and on the evening of May 22, 2019, the Governing Board did the same. This contract demonstrates your commitment to actively exercising our collective voice.

I have learned so much from the experience of being your elected president. Time and time again, what I find myself inspired by most is how much of yourselves you pour into our community—your programs and the learning you create in our classrooms are a testament to what it actually means to “empower students.”

At the times when I’ve felt most tired, watching you strive for quality across disciplines and programs (sometimes in spite of formidable challenges in your working conditions) has kept me going. Many of us would say we do not teach because we want fancy lives. Those who choose the life of a classroom are often motivated by creative desires of the heart, not status or recognition. But I just want you to know that I see you. This is why serving as your union president has been such an honor. I am the one who gets to see the lengths to which many of you will go to cultivate excellence. It is an authentic gift.

Another gift has been seeing how many of us have begun to break down our “silos” to understand more fully what we each do. I hope as we move forward into this new era, we can work together to build a culture of even greater understanding and recognition because youdeserve it.

A union is not about the contract alone. It is about the little relationships we already have and also about making new ones. It is about coming together and bearing witness to each other’s successes and struggles, both inside the classroom and out. It is also about taking what we know of one another and using it to lift each other up.Our current system in higher education is designed so that we are asked to defend ourselves—explain our successes and “failures” with data and defend our programs and our work to justify our worth.These are incomplete measures. One danger I see in this system is its focus on turning inward and fighting for ourselves, and then we stop there because we are so tired, forgetting to pick our heads up and see that our neighbors are engaged in the same challenge.

Imagine if we could actively work to build a culture of proactive confirmation, not just with data, not with extra work, but with small moments of big recognition? What if we made it our daily business to speak about our respect for our colleagues and what they are doing? Many of us already do this, I know, but what if we could thensystematically lift one another up publicly and regularly? Our contract is one way we will be able to do this in the future, but we can also do it in less formal ways and still be systematic about it. It could be that we make a regular point to acknowledge our neighbors in conversations one on one, at meetings in front of administrators, and to friends and neighbors who pay taxes to support the college. Unabashed, loud, and very public witness of someone else builds recognition, and honest recognition builds respect because it actively interrupts narratives that all to often fail to take into account the true nature of who we are and why we are here.

I also see opportunity to create true change. Before, unionizing, we were often at the whim of our administration, and were left to renegotiate the relationship between the faculty and the college afresh every time someone new took the power. This is not true anymore.

We own this contract, not the other way around. But without our living, breathing interaction with the contract, it is just a piece of paper. As faculty we are often academically trained to poke holes in power structures and systems and to offer related critique, noting what’s wrong with the picture. But critique of our circumstances only gets us so far in this new system. If we want to truly address the issues we see, we must get involved in the efforts to improve our circumstances. This is exciting because our efforts can now truly translate into improved reality on the ground. Our license to complain extends only as far as our willingness to roll our sleeves up, and contribute solutions moving forward, even if it’s just in small ways.Sitting back and letting others take the helm is part of the old system of survival and apathy created by a lack of true recourse.

Lets be clear. This new contract is not perfect, but we now have the ability to negotiate and improve the language and the rules regularly and systematically for decades to come, and it is the cornerstone for creating collective voice in our working conditions. But collective voice and participation can be many things. It can be serving as an officer or as a negotiator on the negotiation team. But it can also be helping new members understand their rights. It can be coming to a meeting, it can be mobilizing efforts with the community to garner support for our faculty, or it can be accompanying a colleague in crisis to HR because we now have the right to insist that we not face the heat alone. You don’t have to get a directive to do these things. You can offer yourself based on what you know of your own strengths and resources. We can each simply carve a little place out for ourselves and take care of our neighbors.

My time as our union president will soon come to an end. In November of 2019, you all will elect a new person to take the helm, and this person will bring fresh ideas, new vision, and talents. But just know that as I review everything we’ve done together, I have never felt more honored than I feel at the end of this semester. This has been a team effort, and it has left me feeling a sense of gratitude unlike any I’ve ever felt before.   I thank each one of you for your support, your honesty, and questions. I have taken your feedback (even when it was uncomfortable), your efforts, and your sacrifices, and I’ve had no choice but to grow as a human being because of them. This has not been easy, and I know we all went through the unionizing process together in one way or another. And even though this has at times been incredibly difficult and sometimes even painful on both a professional and personal level, I have never known anything so fully worth the struggle. I am forever changed and forever proud.

Very gratefully yours,

Marci

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From: Santa Fe Community College AAUP
Date: May 20, 2019 at 3:44:07 PM MDT
Subject: Union Members Vote YES for Ratification of Contract!

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that our very first union contract has been unanimously approved for ratification by those members of SFCC-AAUP who cast votes. Next, the Governing Board will announce on Wednesday whether or not the contract has been approved by the administration.

Congratulations to all who have worked so hard in so many difference capacities for this important first step toward a more a equitable working environment and a stronger faculty voice!

Sincerely,

SFCC-AAUP Executive Committee

Note: The SFCC-BYLAWS can be accessed from SFCC-AAUP Official Documents from the menu on the left side or top/bottom of your screen (Mac or PC).

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From: Santa Fe Community College AAUP
Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 3:54 PM
Subject: AAUP Special Update

Dear Colleagues,

Contrary to what we thought after the conclusion of mediation on Thursday of last week, there is now a contract to be voted upon!

We believed that SFCC-AAUP and the administration had reached the end of negotiations and were headed directly to arbitration. Over the last few days, though, our two parties engaged in more talks, and the administration and the union teams were able to agree on a draft of a contract to put before the union members and the Governing Board. Each side will vote respectively on whether or not to ratify (accept) the contract. In the event that both sides have a majority vote in favor of the contract, it will then be ratified and will become our first contract.

As soon as it is available, the contract will posted on our website, along with a “fact sheet” providing overviews of important articles. You can access the website here: https://aaupsfcc.wordpress.com/

Every faculty member is encouraged to take the time to read the contract in its entirety. Because this is such an important decision, we also want to make sure that the faculty has an opportunity to meet with the negotiations team to discuss any questions or concerns that may arise after reviewing the contract’s terms and language. Please join us THIS Thursday, May 16th, in room 570 from 3:00-5:00 for this important discussion.

Finally, there will be a ratification vote held THIS Friday, May 17th and Monday, May 20th. Members should come to the Board Breakout Room (room 224) between 11:00-12:30 on one of these dates to cast their votes.

Please keep in mind that only those members who are up-to-date on their dues will be able to cast votes for or against ratification. In order to be up-to-date, you will need to pay both the local and the national dues. Here is a link to the AAUP website for information on paying national dues: https://www.aaup.org/membership/join . Please check our local wordpress website linked above to find information about paying local dues. We will also be following up with people on this front just in case you have questions.

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Thursday!

Sincerely,

SFCC-AAUP Executive Committee

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us for the final union meeting of the semester this Friday, May 3rd, from 11:00-12:30 in room 410.

Happy almost-end-of-the-semester to you all!

SFCC Executive Committee