Why CSU-AAUP? What it does and why it is important

Welcome to the new academic year.  Over the summer faculty should have received emails, and even a letter in the regular mail, urging you to recommit as a member, or become a member, of CSU-AAUP.  Here is why….

This is partly a response to the Supreme Court case Janus vs. AFSCME, which argues that employees should not be unwilling members of a union.  We know that the vast majority of our faculty are more than happy to be members of CSU-AAUP.  They understand that CSU-AAUP provides a “Voice for Faculty.”  So we are asking for a recommitment to show doubters just how willing we are to support our union.

How exactly does CSU-AAUP give faculty a voice?  You might be asked this or be unclear yourself.  The CCSU-AAUP leadership will be coming to department meetings this Fall semester to answer questions, but before that happens, here are some examples of how having a union helps us be heard:

1.) CSU-AAUP negotiated a Collective Bargaining Agreement or Contract that is designed “to promote the quality and effectiveness of education … and to maintain high standards of academic excellence.”

  • This Contract ensures that faculty have a voice in the governance of the university because their participation is essential to providing quality education. Faculty have the right to make key academic decisions in departments and the Senate, and to participate in hiring and evaluating other faculty because of our Contract. The Contract also makes sure that faculty concerns can be conveyed to university presidents by guaranteeing regular meetings with CSU-AAUP presidents.
  • Our Contract provides working conditions that make it possible for faculty to serve their students to the best of their ability. Course loads, class sizes, and work hours are limited so faculty have time to do their work well. Funding for travel to conferences, faculty development, and research, as well as sabbatic leaves are guaranteed so faculty can participate fully in their disciplines. Health insurance, pensions, and salaries are negotiated so faculty can receive the compensation that will allow them to focus on their CSU students not on finding other sources of income.
  • CSU-AAUP Contract promotes Fair treatment of faculty. Academic freedom is protected. Fairness in hiring, renewal, tenure, and promotion for full-timers, and course assignments for part-timers, are ensured by clear procedures that include checks and balances and faculty input. Salary ranges are published and equal for all faculty to avoid private deals, favoritism, or discrimination. Due process in potential disciplinary cases is provided with representation, clearly outlined steps for appeal, and faculty involvement.

2.) CSU-AAUP makes sure that the Contract is enforced on a daily basis and improved when possible.

3.) CSU-AAUP ensures that the faculty voice is heard by the Board of Regents (BOR) and State Legislators. We attend and testify at Board of Regents meetings, hold lobby days and testify at the legislature to advocate for quality education and adequate funding.

4.) CSU-AAUP advocates for any issue that helps the entire university community thrive, such as debt-free tuition, sufficient child care, adequate Counseling services, a comprehensive anti-bullying policy. This is part of our #ThrivingCommunities campaign.

CSU-AAUP will continue all this work in the future.  But recently there have been some serious threats to quality education from the BOR and some State Legislators who want to save money or make public higher education serve short-term workforce needs.  These threats appear in (1) 2015 BOR CSU-AAUP Contract proposals; (2) 2017 BOR Contract with the Community Colleges; (3) BOR 2017 Students First plan; (4) proposals by State Legislators.

If these threats become reality, faculty working conditions will be seriously impacted.

  • Compensation, in the form of health insurance, pensions, and/or salaries, will be drastically reduced because they will be determined solely by legislators, not collectively bargained with the union.
  • Faculty will be expected to teach more courses and students, receive less reassigned time for administrative duties, and work longer hours.
  • There will be no funds for faculty travel, development, and research.
  • Management will be able to terminate full-time faculty, even those with tenure, without cause for any financial reason they choose, and replace them with part-time faculty.

Faculty shared governance also will be weakened significantly.

  • Department chairs may be eliminated and departments run directly by Deans.
  • The separate CSU universities may be combined into one big one centralized university, and the individual campus Senates and Curriculum committees eliminated.
  • Departments and programs will be closed or combined without faculty input.
  • Faculty members will be moved between campuses without their consent.
  • A new common General Education program will be designed by a management appointed committee, rather than faculty curriculum committees.
  • Management committees will determine curriculum, course content (ex. syllabus, learning outcomes, teaching style) rather than faculty in all courses.

All of these changes will have a negative impact the quality of education we can provide.  CSU-AAUP is committed to defending quality public higher education.  This is why we fought for and won a Fair Contract, objected to Students First at BOR meetings, and continually advocate in the Legislature for increased funding for the CSU system and the right to collectively bargain.

Our collective action, when faculty were united, has made an impact.  But now your voice is important.  Please make it heard by

  • coming to Chapter meetings and socials;
  • becoming a Department Liaison or Executive committee member;
  • following our Websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter account.

Membership is essential to prove that we are united, because we are #StrongerTogether.  So please help protect the faculty voice by showing your support for CSU-AAUP and recommitting or becoming a member at https://csuaaup.org/membership/become-a-member/

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