Community College Association leaders met with union colleagues and college district managers from across the nation to discuss funding, collective bargaining, part-time reemployment rights and academic freedom December 6-7 at the Higher Education Labor-Management Conference held at the California State University, Long Beach. Also known as the regional Hunter Conference, the event was sponsored by the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions.
There was lively debate in the “Bargaining for the Common Good” session where management and faculty negotiators had differing opinions about the definition of “common good” and what is within the scope of bargaining. Management, for the most part, said the Public Employment Relations Board ( PERB ) sets the scope of bargaining and questioned why faculty brought student issues and quality of education to the table.
CCA members say management learned a lot from the discussion (as did they), that faculty truly care about equitable access to office hours for students, about part-time faculty earning a living wage to attract the best people, and that it was not a ploy to garner public support for the bargain. Ultimately, both sides may not agree, but there was a better understanding of issues relating to collective bargaining,
“The healthy thing about settings like this, and the beauty about this opportunity in particular, is that we get to hear both sides from a national perspective,” said CCA President Eric Kaljumägi. It’s rare to have both sides in the room, be it all CCA members or all school services staff, he noted. “We don’t hear honest, healthy differing perspectives when we only talk amongst ourselves.”
There was universal agreement around the issue of college funding, with both management and union representatives noting that the Student Centered Funding Formula does not work, was poorly implemented and in many ways hurts the students community colleges are to serve.
Other conference topics included:
- Preventing sexual harassment in higher education
- Best practices in investigating and responding to disciplinary issues
- Academic freedom for part-time faculty
- Academic workers and immigration status
- Best practices for preparing for bargaining impasses
- Latinx faculty negotiations, recruitment, retention and racism
- Reemployment preferences for part-time faculty