I write with a few updates and information about our first General Membership meeting of 2018.
The Board had a very successful meeting with Dr. Kim at the end of last semester. We discussed some concerns we had regarding a recent shift, from paying overtime, to changing staff member schedules to accommodate special college programming. While the Union supports new recruiting initiatives such as multiple Admitted Student Days, some departments were requiring staff to shift their schedules which would have required staff members to work on Saturdays avoiding overtime compensation. Working with Human Resources, the Grievance Chairs fought to protect our right to overtime. However, attempts to alter our schedules will, I fear, become more common and we will need to be vigilant to protect scheduled work hours.
Currently, the Grievance Chairs continue to work to protect staff members from taking on additional work without additional compensation. The Union understands the pressures caused by the continued decline in enrollment and we support all new systems and programs the Administration develops to improve the College’s standing But, additional work needs to be recognized and valued with additional applicable compensation. Added duties, shifting schedules and the dissection of our 40-hour work week are issues we are confronting as college resources become tighter.
On March 12, we will host our first General Membership meeting of 2018. Please mark this date on your calendar so you can join your colleagues at noon on the 1st floor of the 623 building. We will be serving lunch and discuss the activities of your Union. I urge you to participate – we welcome and need your voice. To prepare for the meeting, we need you to complete a survey using this LINK (to come). This survey will collect information about your Columbia working experience in an effort to understand your needs and concerns as we prepare to negotiate a new contract. The standard items are on the top of the list, salaries and health care, but we know you have many other concerns and we need to hear from you, so please take five minutes and complete the survey. At the Membership meeting, we will discuss some of your findings.
In other news – some informational items I hope you will find helpful: When you go to HR, let the union know. HR is here to protect you, but they also represent our employer, Columbia College Chicago. The Union represents staff and considers your needs first. We need to hear from you, if you have issues or concerns about practices in your department. We encourage you to visit HR , but please keep the union informed. Had we not heard from our membership about the push to avoid overtime, we would not have been informed to fulfil our mission to protect you. Admitted Days affects many departments and staff.
May Layoffs need to stop. Columbia will not succeed if they continue to cut staff. Top administration need to share the burden of layoffs with all college members.
I am very encouraged by the dedication and energy of our Negotiation team. Their efforts need to be matched by a strong and creative Contract Support Team. This group will become the face and voice of our negotiations. We need spirited members to take our message to the community, so our demands will be heard. This group will help us to present a united and strong front in face to the administration. Please consider joining, lending your time and energy. Nothing is more rewarding than fighting for your rights and protecting your benefits.
Thank you for all you do for Columbia College, for our students, and for our union.