At the Aug 15, 2019 Board of Trustees meeting, leaders of the COD Adjuncts Association commented on the positions they and their members took relative to our contract negotiations.
CODAA President Cheryl Baunbach-Caplan
I am Cheryl Baunbach-Caplan, part-time counselor and president of the College of DuPage Adjuncts Association. I have worked my entire adult life in higher education and have been at College of DuPage for 15 years. Many years ago, as a poor student from the south-side of Chicago, I received full funding to attend the University of Illinois and have dedicated my working life to helping other students attain their academic goals.
Teaching Matters. Principles Matter.
When CODAA was presented with the College’s proposed contingency plan in the event of a strike by the full-time faculty, we discussed it as a board and decided we had to take it to our membership for a vote. When voting closed today, our membership had voted overwhelmingly to reject the Contingency Plan offer. Despite the fact that classes have not yet begun, we had a record turnout at attend our membership meeting yesterday and many more members came to our office to vote last night and this morning. Clearly, they viewed this as a matter of great importance.
In the end, they decided that what was a very lucrative short-term deal, was not worth the long-lasting negative repercussions to the College as a whole. By serving as strike-breakers, we would damage our relationship with the full-time faculty and compromise our union values. And we could not possibly do what is best for our students alone.
It did not escape our member’s notice that CODAA has asked for a living wage and some kind of health insurance benefit in every negotiation since 1985. And that only now, and only briefly, are they willing to compensate us fairly for the work we do each and every day.
The CODAA board has made it clear to our members that our contract requires that they MUST honor the assignments they have already agreed to for the fall semester. However, this does not mean that they must cover any of the work that would otherwise be done by the FT faculty, nor do we give up our constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of speech to show support for our sister union by wearing Teaching Matters t-shirts, or armbands, or talking with our full-time colleagues.
CODAA is asking the College and the full-time faculty to find a way to reach agreement. We understand that CODFA has made an offer for settlement and we urge the board to seriously consider it.
CODAA Vice President Bonniejean Alford
Good evening Board of Trustees and members of the District 502 community. My name is Bonniejean Alford. I am the Vice President of Policy for the College of DuPage Adjuncts Association. I have taught Sociology at the College of DuPage for twelve years and have worked as a practicing Applied Sociologist for more than twenty. While I serve as an adjunct by choice, it does not change how the students view me at the front of the classroom.
I, along with the other 732 members of CODAA’s bargaining unit, provide value and commitment to College of DuPage and its students. We bring with us years upon years of collective experience and expertise in our respective fields. We sacrifice our time, energy, and even money to provide the best educational experience possible to our students, embodying the college mission to provide “excellence in teaching, learning, and cultural experiences.”
We have doctors, nurses, lawyers, welders, accountants, chefs, counselors, editors, police officers, fashion designers, cosmetologists, high school teachers, writers, entrepreneurs, dancers, actors, politicians, and well the list could go on. We bring to the table a depth of knowledge and teaching experience that is not unlike our full-time counterparts. Both are essential to the success of our students.
Our adjuncts, following the vote taken the last two days, as Cheryl discussed, remain committed to this college and all its stakeholders. We WILL honor our contractual obligations, but we will not be taken advantage of, or divided in the base principles we share with full-time faculty.
Our members can choose to express their opinions per their constitutional right to freedom of speech. We will continue to show commitment to the college and our students by doing our job with dignity and honor, as we always have. However, we will NOT silence our freedom of speech. We will never silence this.
I have in my hand, ready to present to the board tonight, a petition signed by 122 of our members in the last 36 hours. In it, we ask the college to honor the contact clause, which reads….
No non-represented Part-time teaching Faculty member will be paid a credit hour rate that exceeds the lowest credit hour rate for bargaining unit members unless Human Resources, at its sole discretion and after having conducted an internal search, determines that the course requires a specialized highly-skilled teacher. Postings on the internal search shall include required skills.
To do anything else but honor the contract and find a compromise with the full-time faculty would be disrespectful to our students. Thank you for your time.