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February 2018


A tale of two faculties: Are you represented?
Kevin McCoy


  strength in unity

Community colleges have a unique role in higher education. We offer associate degrees, certificate programs, workforce training programs, continuing education programs, professional development courses and many grant-funded specialty programs. This requires a diverse faculty with many different job titles.

While the FA represents most faculty who work at the college, there are non-credit classes taught by faculty outside our bargaining unit. This has led to confusion by both faculty and administrators regarding who is in our bargaining unit. Below is a chart that illustrates who we represent:

SCCC faculty represented by the FA includes full-time and adjunct faculty teaching credit-bearing classes:
SCCC faculty without FA representation includes faculty teaching non-credit classes
  • Full-time and adjunct counselors
  • Full-time and adjunct librarians
  • Full-time and adjunct specialists
  • Full-time and adjunct professional assistants
  • Full-time faculty coordinators
  • Professional assistants and specialists in non-credit areas
  • ELL classes
  • Workforce development classes
  • Continuing education classes

The most confusion happens in non-credit areas. Professional assistants and specialists in these areas are members of our bargaining unit and entitled to all benefits in our contract. This includes seniority rights for assignments, union representation at disciplinary meetings, tuition reimbursement, professional development funds, etc. 

Unfortunately, I am finding that the adjunct PAs and specialists in these areas are often not entered in Banner when given assignments. As a result they are not accruing seniority, which results in confusion over assignments. It also means that administrators are not aware that they are eligible for FA benefits.  This semester the FA will be working with administrators in these areas to make sure that PA and specialist assignments are entered into Banner so these faculty are guaranteed their contractual rights.

I have also been approached by faculty teaching non-credit classes asking me to represent them. This past spring I had a part-time faculty member teaching in a non-credit program ask me to represent her at a Title IX investigation. As much as I would have liked to help her, legally I was not able to because she was not a member of our bargaining unit. As a result she had to attend the meeting without union representation.

To make matters even more confusing, there are PAs and specialists in non-credit areas who are also classroom faculty teaching non-credit courses. Unfortunately, if they do not have a PA or specialist assignment during a semester, i.e., they are teaching a non-credit course, they are not entitled to FA contractual rights that semester. We have had adjuncts receive tuition reimbursement for several semesters when they were working as adjunct PAs or specialists but are denied tuition reimbursement when they were teaching solely non-credit classes.

Both faculty and administrators need to be aware of the distinction between PAs and specialists working in non-credit areas and the faculty teaching non-credit classes and workshops. If you get denied union benefits or protections and are unsure of your status, please contact me. If I am unable to help you, it is not because I don’t want to, it is that I am legally not allowed to intervene for faculty not in our bargaining unit.

This issue also illustrates the importance of unions. Kevin Peterman’s cover story details the attacks on unions. If the Janus decision is decided in favor of management and union members do not actively become involved, all adjunct faculty could lose representation at investigatory hearings, tuition reimbursement, professional development funds and the whole host of benefits that are in our contract.