Letter from the President

stained-glass-colorful-glass-stained-glass-window-161043.jpegDear Colleagues,

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.


Craig Sigele


Press Release- Pfac Strike


Chicago, IL — November 28, 2017  
The Part-Time Faculty Union (Pfac) has announced it is taking a strike vote this week and is planning a two-day strike on Wednesday, November 29th, and Thursday, November 30th.

Individual members of United Staff of Columbia College (USofCC) are free to show support for the Pfac membership, as long as they comply under the staff contract that members are required to report to work and perform their jobs during a strike by another Union. USofCC will uphold Article 8 in the 2015-2018 contract with Columbia College Chicago, which states that  USofCC members cannot, under the risk of discipline, engage, encourage or sanction any strike, sympathy strike, sit-down, boycott, picketing or any other action that will interfere with regular operations at the institution.

If you have any questions regarding Pfacs announcement, please contacts us at usofcc@yahoo.com.


Things You Should Know: OFF Call-Mail List

Dear USofCC Member,

Thank you for contacting me about communications from the Union. If you wish to discontinue unwanted mail, please notify Nicole Gerberding of Membership Processing, in writing, to:

Illinois Education Association Attention, Nicole Gerberding

100 E. Edwards St.,

Springfield, IL 62704-1999

The levels which can be stopped are:

  1. All mail All Phone Calls All Mailings All Emails NEA Government Relations Communication
  2. Only NEA mail
  3. Only IEA mail
  4. Only NEA Member Benefits Mail (Ads and Promotions)

Please include your name and address, your local (United Staff of Columbia College) and indicate which levels of contact you want stopped.

You may also send this request to Nicole via email at Nicole.Gerberding@ieanea.org You can keep up with Union news via the USofCC’s website, https://usofcc.org/

Craig Sigele

USofCC President craigsigele@gmail.com


Things You Should Know: Over Time

It is our experience that education employees often work extra hours without being properly compensated. The fact is that many employees and their supervisors are not familiar with federal and state laws governing overtime.

  • An employer can require you to work overtime.
  • All overtime work must be compensated.
  • After 40 hours in a given workweek, you must receive 1.5 times the regular rate of compensation for each additional hour.
  • Paid lunches may count towards calculating a 40-hour week.
  • Compensatory time is provided at 1.5 times the hours worked after 40 hours.
  • Upon severance, you must be paid for all unused compensatory time.

Here are a few examples of situations that constitute approved overtime.

  • Your supervisor gives you formal approval to work overtime.
  • Your supervisor asks you to continue working after hours as a favor but says he/she does not have the authority to approve overtime.
  • Your supervisor knows that you are working and does not stop you.
  • Your supervisor is not available but you work extra hours due to a work-related situation that you are expected to handle.

When is extra work not compensated?

  • You are reprimanded, suspended or fired for insubordination because you refused to obey a direct order by your supervisor to stop working.
  • You are an exempt employee not covered by overtime. Examples are
    teachers, doctors, actors, entertainers, lawyers, independent contractors and certain professionals.

At Columbia College, virtually all of the staff that USofCC seeks to represent for collective bargaining are covered by these overtime rules and, therefore, should be compensated for all extra work.


  • Keep an accurate daily record of all hours worked for a month. If you work more than 40 hours in any month without receiving overtime pay please contact us. You may be eligible for reimbursement for lost wages if you have reliable records for overtime worked in the past.


Contact USofCC if you have questions or concerns regarding the overtime policy.