CFAC holds informational meetings before contract ratification vote this week

By Blaise Mesa, Managing Editor

Updated: 5/15/2019, 6:26 p.m.

Union members voted to ratify the contract.


Columbia’s part-time faculty union is holding informational meetings as its members vote on ratification of the new contract with the college, which was tentatively agreed to last month.

The meetings — scheduled for May 13-14 — were called to answer union members questions about the proposed contract. Members were told that a copy of the new contract would be available at the informational meetings. Voting for union members began Friday, May 10 by secret ballot and is scheduled to continue through Wednesday, May 15.

About a dozen union members attended the May 13 afternoon session, which lasted one hour and 45 minutes, and was held at the 600 S. Michigan Ave. building. None of the CFAC members who attended, including CFAC President Diana Vallera, were willing to speak to The Chronicle after the meeting.

The college and the union reached a tentative agreement April 17, as reported that same day by The Chronicle.

“Like all such agreements, it has taken compromises and good faith by both sides to arrive at this moment,” said a joint email signed by CFAC President Vallera, CFAC Counsel Robert Bloch, Special Counsel for Labor Relations Terence Smith and Chief of Staff Laurent Pernot.

“We believe our many areas of agreement reflect our joint commitment to the college and our students and our desire to set forth a tone of respect and collaboration we hope extends well beyond a written document into everyday affairs across our college,“ they added.

Although negotiations were tense, a strike was averted when the two sides reached a tentative agreement eight days after CFAC members voted to authorize a strike.

CFAC and the college previously met with a federal mediator but did not seek mediation, as reported Jan. 18 by The Chronicle.

Updated: 5/14/2019, 7:35 p.m.

With the ratification results a day away, some adjunct professors are planning on ratifying the contract.

“This collective bargaining agreement is a great accomplishment,” said Michael Hays, adjunct professor in the design department as he left the second scheduled information meeting Tuesday, May 14. “There are a lot of challenging issues we had to work through.”

Hays predicts the contract will be ratified.

Sarah Schloff, adjunct professor in the photography department, plans on voting to ratify the contract. She was also happy the union did not strike.

“It’s hard for me to imagine people would want to…go on strike,” Schloff said. “Do people think they are going to get a far better contract? I personally don’t think so.”

The News Office and Diana Vallera declined to comment as of press time.