Special Union Request and Call for Volunteers

Jesú, our union chapter chair, asked me to post the following, which you also received in email:


Dear Union Sisters and Brothers,


Next week, the Alliance of City College Unions (ACCU) has called for a two-day informational table campaign for City College workers, students, and community members to learn about the Elect the City Colleges School Board Campaign and sign a petition advocating for a new direction in the City Colleges; the petition will go to the mayor.  Tony Johnston, our CCCTU president says, “The information tables are the first in a series of coordinated events by the Alliance of City College Unions (1600, 1708 Clerical, CCCLOC-Adjuncts, AFSCME Adult Educators and SEIU Custodial) to reach out to the City College community about our issues and gain allies.”  I add that it will help us hone our talking points in promoting the Vote of No Confidence and for future actions and inform students and colleagues about the issues at hand.


We have a table reserved Tuesday, 1/26 and Wednesday, 1/27 in the lobby from 9a.m. to 5p.m.  I am planning on sitting on Tuesday before our sanctioned meeting from 11a.m. to 11:30a.m. and after the Union meeting, but still need volunteers, ideally two per shift.  Plus, it would send a stronger message to the opposition, if various people sat at the table.


Right now, I definitely need coverage on Tuesday 1/26: 11:30 to noon, noon to 1:30p.m., and 1:30p.m. to 2p.m.  Wednesday 1/27: 9-9:30a.m., 10a.m.-10:30a.m., 10:30a.m. to 11a.m., 11a.m. to 11:30a.m., 11:30a.m. to noon, 1:30p.m. to 2p.m., 2p.m. to 2:30p.m., and 3p.m. to 5p.m. (in 30 minute increments.)


If you want to volunteer, read the volunteering documents carefully before you sit at the table so the talking points will be clear; I will send those to you via email and talk or meet with you on Monday, if you have questions.


For now, is anybody interested in sitting at the table for 30 minutes or more?


Thank you to the faculty who are already volunteering; your contributions are crucial.  I also want to thank our coalition sister for taking the initiative to schedule the table for a longer period of time.  (Please, feel free to share this message, where appropriate and include my contact information.)


In Solidarity,


María (Jesú) Estrada, Ph.D

H.W.C./District Local 1600, Chapter Chair
H.W.C./District Local 1600, Grievance Committee Member

Think, Know, Prove: Merit Pay–Some Considerations

Think, Know, Prove is an occasional Friday feature, where a topic with both mystery and importance is posted for community discussion. The title is a shortened version of the Investigative Mantra: What do we think, what do we know, what can we prove? and everything from wild speculation to resource referencing fact is welcome here.

Our current contract went into effect on July 16, 2013 and includes a little provision in Article VI, Section C, as you might recall, called “Student Success Pay.” This was, shall we say, a controversial aspect of the contract. Our Union leadership at the time made the case that we should like it because, “Hey, free money!” (I’m paraphrasing). And now, one month short of halfway through our contract, I’m not sure that anyone is any closer to understanding this provision than when it was proposed. Two important considerations jump out–one is principle and one is practical. We’ll take the easier of the two first.


In The News

You may have missed it amid the finals hoo-hah, but Hector Reyes (Physical Science), Rochelle Robinson-Dukes (VP, CCC faculty and professionals union), Dolores Withers (President,  clericals’ union), and Floyd Bednarz (President, adjuncts’ union) wrote a letter that garnered some national news coverage. The comments section of the latter is particularly interesting, I thought. There’s even a cool image on the HWC union website that you can print out and put up somewhere if you’re of a mind to do so.

In other news near and dear to Hector’s heart, AAUP investigators issued a report condemning the President of Northeastern Illinois for retaliation against a professor there (coverage here and here).

First contact with the contract

As promised, I tolds you I’d keep an eye on our CCC website for the new contract and…

It’s been uploaded! Here is the link to the Collective Bargaining Agreement 7/16/13 – 7/15/18

I’ve not had time to compare it with the contract that just expired, but feel free to give it a glance.And feel free to share your initial comments. Or take your time –  you gots 5 years.

September 2012 Board Report Highlights

Here’s my abbreviated and opinionated highlights of the September 2012 board report. I’ll try to give you the 3 minute drill:

August 2, 2012 Minutes
OIT Report – Looks like we may be getting an OIT monthly spending report from District. Actually, it looks like they’ve got Pace putting a spreadsheet together with a monthly update and a YTD total. Guess who spent the most in August? District. To the tune of $10,817.00. The Office of Information Technology (don’t know if that’s District or not) spent $415.00. HW spent $72.00. MX spent $340.00. All of the other colleges were goose eggs. The numbers should even out over the course of the academic year and I do believe the colleges should make up the bulk of the spending since they are the buildings serving the students.

Monthly Board Minutes – Looks like the official minutes. Stated who was in attendance. Lots o’ people from District, our FCP, the 1708 rep, and some other folks. One trustee was absent. No sign of Angela Henderson.
There was roll call. Meeting was called to order. Remarks from Chair Wolff. Faculty Council report. Chancellor gave an update. According to the minutes, we have a balanced budget without a need to raise taxes. Same ol’, same ol’ on the skewed graduation numbers. Alvin, no not the guy with the chipmunks, the Vice Chancellor of Strategy, Research and Organizational Effectiveness gave a presentation on enrollment data. Apparently it was well received. Then Laurent Pernot, Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement gave a report on the FY 2013 Registration, Recruitment and Marketing Campaign. I’ll save you the bullet points. If you’re like me, you’ve probably come to hate bullet points after this month’s fiasco, err, I mean, this months union vote.
There was a review of board agenda items, but not really ’cause they were reviewed prior to the review and the board was gathered to approve the review of the agenda items that preceded this review. Got it? Good.
August agenda items were approved.
Then there was a closed session. Sorry, but pursuant to open meetings act, this closed meeting is permissible. I’m sure it was important. Why else would it not be open?
Once the doors were reopened, the board meeting was an open and shut case. Motion to adjourn. The End.

CCC Distinguished Employees for 2011-2012 – The penultimate Distinguished Professors were officially recognized by the board. Yep, PhiloDave was on the list. So I guess all the hard work he was asked to do during graduation and treating him like hired help, instead of giving him a distinguished spot on stage and treating him like a distinguished prof, was worth his time. (BTW, I still hope Dave gets some mike time during State of the College. Unless they’re going to ask him to be an usher for the event, then I’ll understand.) Give Dave some more love when ya see him.

CCC got a couple of buses from CTA based on some TDL data, and part of the C2C program for the CDL training program at OH.
Straws were drawn during the closed door session to determine who would be the first to test drive the buses a-la-Speed-style.

Resolution to commend Jaime Guzman was withdrawn. It was later revealed that it was a mix-up with the Distinguished Professor resolution.

The resolution to approve the tentative agreement for a collective bargaining agreement between the board and local 1600 was passed. It was noted that it was approved as outlined in Exhibit A. Mind you, no actual contract language or details were apporved, simply the bullet points. I will not get into the details, I mean, the bullet points, but I would really like to know what was meant by that no strike clause.
It was later revealed that during the closed session the president of the union accepted the approval of the mayor by taking a knee and kissing the mayor’s ring of power located on the mayor’s right hand. In honor of the privilege, the union president agreed to burn all ballots that had arrived after the victorious press release of the contract agreement had been made official. The mayor then ordered the union president to rise and granted him the privilege of driving one of the newly acquired CTA buses. The mayor gave the union president the key to the bus. The union president reciprocated and handed over key strategies to a successful strike campaign. Political smiles were then exchanged.

Personnel Reports
I’m getting long winded, so check out who got an appointment and who played musical chairs at District Office.
There were a couple of faculty appointments.
A couple of lane advancements. Wait. What are lane advancements? Oh, right, they still have to abide by this contract.
Some special assignments for faculty.
Some more changes similar to the musical chairs, but not as bad.
Reinvention task force assignments. They’ve been tasked with reinventing the power source for the buses.
Leaves of absence, separations, and amendments round out that document.
The rest are all the assignments for faculty and continuing ed folks. No need to elaborate here.

Alrighty then. If I missed anything, let me know. That about sums it up.
Seriously though, take a look at that resolution on the contract. I can’t believe we didn’t pull a Karen Lewis and ask for more time to review the details. That’s right, there were no details! Say, can I grieve the fact that I only had a couple of days to really review the bullet points of a contract and that I wasn’t given a real contract to vote on? Huh? It’s like I paid for my meal at a restaurant and I didn’t even get to select my food from the menu.
At least District got to see the buses they purchased.

More Coverage of the Contract Deal

As mentioned by Todd in the comments, you can read the article from Inside Higher Ed HERE (guess we know who Fran Spielman’s source is now, eh?).

And here’s the Tribune’s Editorial Board’s opinion of our new deal:

The opening of the school year, though, is only the No. 3 education story in Chicago this week. Tops is the settlement at City Colleges, with its reasonable balance of compensation that taxpayers can afford and an emphasis on student progress. The other dominant story, of course, is continuing bombast from Chicago Teachers Union officials who threaten that their members may walk out on children next week. …

We hope CTU members take time from any scheduled rallies to ponder what a strike would do to every child who already is losing the excitement of a new school year to a labor spat among adults. We also hope teachers will think seriously about the new City Colleges contract. That pact’s provision for “student success pay” means that when student outcomes improve — as measured by metrics from the Illinois Board of Higher Education — union members will, as a group, receive bonuses. …

The contract that unifies City Colleges faculty members and administrators in putting students first ought to unsettle CTU members. Chicagoans are likely to view that contract as reasonable. As a logical pattern for a contract that teachers in elementary and high schools would be smart to accept.

But that contract isn’t a game-changer only for union members. It ought to remind district officials that their first priority shouldn’t be avoiding a strike. Their first priority should be a contract that year after year puts students — and student performance — ahead of everything else. The last contract didn’t do that. The next one has to.

We congratulate everyone at City Colleges, faculty and administration alike, for achieving that outcome.

Nothing from the Chronicle yet.



Happy Labor Day

Brought to you by Unions.

If you don’t go to the rally today, THIS is worth reading.

When I was in college, I accompanied my mom to Mexico when her mother died.  We spent most of the hurried flight sitting next to each other silently.  My mother is a strong woman who came to Chicago at fourteen and was failed by the educational system.  She has a sixth grade education; she is the most intelligent woman I know.

In Mexico, we buried my grandmother.  We prayed.  Days after, aunts and uncles and cousins continued thinking about my grandmother and began conversing about other people, other things.  My mom and I found out one of my cousins fought with her husband regularly.  He was an alcoholic.  He abused her verbally.  He put her down for working.  She is a teacher.

One evening, in a small home with many bedrooms, I overheard my mom, my aunt, my cousin talking.  Despite my mom’s deep sadness, her boldness had not waivered.  “Defiende tu carrera,” my mother, who still wishes she could have gone to college, quietly–boldly–told my cousin.  “Defend your profession.”

I recite my mother’s advice silently when I must invoke her boldness to speak up or speak out.

Jesú is leading a group (dressed in blue) , for anyone who wants to go together (and can go), leaving from the front of the college at 10:15.

And if you’re looking for something interesting to read about Capitalism, check out this by Stephen Pearlstein.

And this is a nice one about work and all the work (of others) we take for granted.

And if you’re grilling, you should read this.

And if you’re looking for a philosophical perspective about this week’s events, then you might enjoy Michael Walzer’s “Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands.”  It’s amazing. Also timely, given that one political convention has just ended and the other is about to begin.

And if you’re my mom, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

The Frame

Well, however it goes from here, I hope you voted.

If you’d like to see how the proposal is being framed for the rest of the world (i.e., what we’re accepting or rejecting according to the local “journalists”), you can read THIS, from the Sun-Times, entitled: “Could City Colleges contract provide framework for a CPS deal?”

Chicago City Colleges teachers would get a ten percent pay raise over five years, phase out step increases for experience and phase in merit pay based on student outcomes, under a new contract that could provide the framework for an agreement with Chicago Public School teachers poised to strike Sept. 10.

Although the current contract has nearly a year to run, City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman pushed for an early agreement that could have the dual benefit of boosting student outcomes at City Colleges and strengthening Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand in difficult negotiations with Chicago teachers.

The rest is is notable (in my eyes) for the total lack of a non-administrative/city hall voice. There’s not even a mention of an attempt to try to contact Perry or Local 1600.  Such blatant shilling for the powers-that-be by someone purportedly providing an objective report on the news would be funny if it weren’t so destructive. “City Hall Reporter” apparently means “reporting what City Hall (or an associated institution) says without questioning any of it.”   Amazing.

And how was our union leadership not on the phone calling Ms. Spielman yesterday? I mean, were they? I’d think they’d have rated a mention if they were…(sigh).

Back to my grading.

h/t to Jen for the pointer (from the comments).

PS: This was edited slightly from the original version to close a parenthetical clause, in the course of which, I added a couple of thoughts that have been rattling around in my head since I posted it.

PPS: Please note that the comments above refer to the version of the article that appeared Saturday morning (online and in print), before it was updated to include information about the Union news release later in the afternoon.


UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: If you have a ballot you will be able to vote on campus tomorrow (Thursday). Bring your ballot to room 1115 between 1 and 3pm to vote. Jesú and Adriana will be sitting with it from 1 to 2pm just outside the room, and then it will move inside room 1115 from 2 to 3 and be available for voting during the meeting. If you do not have a ballot and will not be able to get to the office before Saturday, stop by the box and let them know so that they can track down what happened and what needs to happen. If you have a ballot and don’t want to vote on campus, remember that it must arrive to the union office before noon on Saturday to be counted.

For anyone who couldn’t attend yesterday’s meeting, the most urgent aspect of the conversation revolved around the reduced time frame of the vote, the number of voting members who have not yet received ballots, and various ideas about how to address and (hopefully) resolve those conjoined problems.

Without getting into the details of support and criticism and who said what (per chapter leadership request and what I took to be chapter consensus) the merits, or lack thereof, of some of the major parts of the proposal were also discussed insofar as that was possible without clarification from the negotiating team, and there was brief discussion about Thursday and how to have the most effective meeting with Perry.

Regarding the last point, Hector volunteered to compile a list of questions from membership (if you’d like to send him yours, you can send them to: hr.reyes13@gmail.com), while also encouraging us to come to Thursday’s meeting with our own. Perry will be at our sanctioned union meeting at HWC on Thursday from 2 to 4:30 pm in room 1115.

Perry was at Malcolm X yesterday morning and at Daley, I believe, in the afternoon. I’m not sure where he is going today. I’m also unsure about how those meetings went, though some people heard some things.

After the meeting and in regard to the lede, last night Jesú sent a request to Perry for an extension at the behest of the membership–owing to the ballot questions and holiday weekend, to which Perry responded that “that full members, who have not received their ballots, should go in person to the office. He said they had resolved the problem [regarding in person ballot requests].”

The union office is located on Kinzie, just north of the Merchandise Mart, close to The Shamrock Club, a few doors west of Wells.

People who have received ballots can 1) mail them in (but they must arrive to the union office by 12pm Saturday–not postmarked…arrived!) or 2) drop them off at the union office or 3) bring them to the college on Thursday where voting will be open from 1 to 3 pm somewhere (tba–soon). just outside of or in room 1115.

Anyone who wants to vote, but has not received a ballot and cannot get to the office to do so and can’t figure out another way to make it happen should go to the voting box anyway. Adriana and Jesú will be keeping a list of people who wanted to vote but couldn’t. Doing so may also clarify whether the persons are full members or fair-share (non-signed up members who lack voting rights). Also, we need a couple of volunteers to work the ballot box from 2 to 3pm, as well. Please contact Jesú if you are available.

If there are changes or updates, I invite any of my fellow editors to make changes to this post as necessary and as information develops.

Contract Clarification Questions

So, I continue to want to honor the request of our Union leadership to maintain discretion and privacy among union members with respect to deliberations and conversations about the contract proposal.

At the same time, I recognize that there are many members who have questions (as here and here)  and wonder if we wouldn’t be able to provide an aggregating service here on the Lounge for question collection, so that we may be able to share the list with the leadership before they come to visit and, when we do meet to discuss the contract, we will have an idea of what each others’ confusions and questions are in advance so we can make sure that we hit all of the major points.

If you happen to see a question to which you KNOW or think you know the answer, please feel free to chime in. Please try to keep speculation (especially about motives) to a minimum. Let’s brainstorm a good list of questions that, upon getting clarified will serve as a sound foundation for evaluative discussion.

Here are my questions so far. What are yours?

Union Meetings for Fall 2012 semester

Hi all,

Jesú had asked me to post the union meetings on The Lounge last week to reinforce the paper copies that you received in your mailboxes. Sorry to be getting around to it until now. Here are the official sanctioned meeting dates:

Thursday, August 30 – 2:00pm-4:30pm – Room 1115

Thursday, September 20 – 1:00pm-3:30pm – Room 1115

Thursday, October 18 – 2:0pm-4:30pm – Room 203

Thursday November 29 – 1:00pm-3:30pm – Room 115

If anything develops about the non-sanctioned meeting time Jesú is getting together for Tuesday the 28th, I’ll post that info right away. For now, keep checking those non-CCC emails.

Thank you, Jesú and all our loacl union reps for everything you are doing to keep us informed!

New Contract Proposal Discussion

Maybe you, like me, were surprised to find a letter from Perry in your mailbox about a tentative contract agreement between the Union and District Office (along with a brief description, ballot and envelope for voting). If it hasn’t arrived in your mail yet, it probably will on Monday. In the meantime, the relevant documents are all posted on the HWC Chapter Website.

Jesú and others have reasonably requested that all discussion about the contract be restricted to that website since it has privacy settings, and I completely agree (for now, at least).

Everyone represented by Local 1600, though, should go to the site today and check out the proposal and the ongoing discussion of it there. If you have trouble with the site, here is the info you need:

“To gain access to the site, you need to be a member of the Google group, which requires you to have accepted an invitation to join. You can get your invitation by sending your non-CCC email address to Héctor at hr.reyes13@gmail.com.

If you have contacted us about joining the group but are not receiving the communications please be aware that you need to accept the invitation first. We have about two dozen invitations pending. Please check your spam folder if you have not received the invitation email.”

Perry is expected to attend the Union meeting on Thursday (August 30th) in room 1115 from 2 to 4:30pm. Jesú may also call another meeting for Tuesday to discuss the contract proposal among ourselves.


United We Stand

Unless you’ve been under a tree (getting some much needed rest) or under a stack of papers (trying to get yourself to that tree) these past few weeks, you should be familiar with the ongoing news about CPS and the CTU contract. Here’s one of the latest stories regarding the vote to strike or not.

Per the article, the reason the teachers are taking this vote now (to authorize a strike)  is to make sure they take care of business before classes end next week. They need an undemocratic 75% of union members to agree. (So much for majority rules.)

That’s this week’s story. I don’t know what either side will say next week. It doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on these activities since we’re up for negotiations next year.

If you know a CPS teacher, care to share what have they told you? Are you in support of what the union is doing?