Welcome to the Spring 2018 semester, which promises many new and exciting initiatives, as well as some serious challenges. To those members that have been working during the Winterim break, thank you for the work that allows a smooth new semester to begin.
As you know, the Board of Trustees has extended Dr. Keen’s contract through July, 2019. Efforts will soon be underway to begin the search process for a new College President, which reminds us how important it is to have a full Board engaged in that process. In this regard, during the Winterim, the NCCFT Executive Committee began discussions with the new Nassau County Executive, Laura Curran, and, through NYSUT, with the Governor’s office, about the importance of filling the two, currently vacant Trustee seats, both of which are State appointments.
Our new contract contains a side letter that requires the NCCFT and the Vice President for Academic Affairs to form a committee as follows:
The parties will form a Committee chaired by the Vice President of Academic Affairs to review measures that may be employed by the College to increase the diversity of the faculty, the department chairs and academic administrators. The Committee shall present its recommendations to the President.
Our commitment to increasing awareness and implementing policies to create a culture of inclusiveness, civility and transparency is one initiative that cannot wait any longer. The NCCFT is committed to the success of this committee and we look forward to being part of the work it will do.
We met with the NYSUT Higher Ed Policy Council at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, which included planning the Fall 2018 Community College Conference. In addition, discussions ensued regarding the upcoming Supreme Court case Janus v AFSCME. We have written previous posts regarding this case and more will be forthcoming. I cannot emphasize enough how important VOTE-COPE will be in helping us gain the political influence we’ll need if the Court’s decision is as bad as we anticipate. So far, your response to our VOTE-COPE appeal has been remarkable. You will be hearing more from us and from your department representatives about VOTE-COPE as we continue our efforts to encourage everyone to assist in this effort.
Additionally, given the success that Right-to-Work-(for less) advocates have had in 28 out of the 50 states in the union, and in anticipation of a Supreme Court decision that will make Right to Work (for less) the law of the land, we will, over the course of this semester, be asking all NCCFT members to commit to remaining NCCFT members and paying your fair-share dues. We need to do this because one consequence of right to work laws has been that current union authorizations are declared invalid. So we’ve been working with NYSUT to print up new union membership authorization cards. They are no different from the cards you signed when you first joined the union. I have confidence that every NCCFT member agrees that having “free-riders” is unacceptable and thus the sign-up will progress enthusiastically.
Laurie Pezzullo’s duties—she’s Assistant Dean of Faculty Services—now include labor relations and the NCCFT has been working with her in order to resolve disputes or misunderstandings and avoid unnecessary grievances. Any issues that cannot be resolved in this manner will be pursued through the new grievance procedures or any other appropriate manner. In this regard, I want to remind the membership: If you are called into a meeting with the administration and you believe you might be the subject of discipline, ask for union representation, call the NCCFT office, and we will arrange the meeting so that your representative will be able to attend with you.
Finally, we look forward to working with the NCCFT Executive Board, Senate, Chairs and membership as the Spring semester unfolds. Please do not hesitate to contact the NCCFT office if you have any concerns, ideas or questions.