You know how I love so-called equal percentage or across-the-board “raises” negotiated by union leaders on behalf of their part-time and full-time faculty. I love them just as much as I love other blatant misuses of trust and power. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that when union members get screwed during contract negotiations it shouldn’t be by the group that collects the monthly dues payments. So, it is with reserved delight that I want to congratulate the United Faculty of Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community Colleges. The independent union represents 1,300 full-time and part-time faculty who teach in the California district.
According to this piece from the San Diego Union Tribune, union leaders negotiated a larger percentage raise for the group’s part-time faculty than for the full-time faculty. According to union president Zoe Close, part-time faculty will get raises totaling 2.8 percent more than full-time faculty over the course of the two-year agreement. This sets a welcome precedent.
However, before I get carried away, let me ever-so-gently remind United Faculty leaders that the union’s full-time faculty are still making out like bandits, and will be awarded the lion’s share of the total $1.4 million dollars being divided among the union’s members over the course of the new agreement. In fact, full-time faculty will enjoy raises exponentially larger than those of their part-time colleagues.
As I’ve written before, all unions (and particularly unified locals) must close the immense pay gaps between their full-time and part-time members. Awarding a larger percentage of the total dollars won in contract negotiations is the path to pro-rata pay for part-timers. To do otherwise brings union leaders very, very close to abrogating their legal obligation to equal representation of members.
In the meantime, the new contract negotiated by the leaders of United Faculty is a definite step in the right direction.