The semester is back in gear, pumpkin spice is all around you, and it’s officially election season! Higher education has traditionally received minimal attention during campaign season but this election cycle has witnessed sweeping proposals; higher ed has become a leading issue on campaign trails this year.
Candidates are out to earn YOUR vote, so it’s an important time to have legislators hear your priorities. When you meet legislators at events or they have knocked on your door, it’s an opportunity to ask them about the issues you care about like community college funding or debt-free higher education.
Our parent union, SEIU, is launching GOTV U, led by higher education employees organizing under the banner Faculty Forward to bring faculty, staff, and students to the polls. Historically, campus turnout has been critical to candidates’ ability to win, with many crediting President Obama’s 2012 win to college turnout.
Join the 4Cs and other faculty, staff, students, and parents across the nation in pledging to be a higher education voter. What does it mean to #VoteHigher? We’re standing together and voting for candidates who will join the fight for quality, accessible higher education; help students graduate free of debt; and pay campus staff a minimum of $15/hour.
4Cs organizers will have pledge cards at chapter meetings and at other chapter events through elections. But you don’t have to wait to see one of the organizers in person; you can sign the pledge online here.
If you are active in politics, you know that GOTV stands for Get Out the Vote and the U signifies universities or colleges. (But also everything becomes an acronym now because of Twitter so you can Tweet #GOTVU and still have 134 characters left).
Join us in making higher education a powerful voice in this year’s elections, from local and state elections to the race for President!
ebenson September 15th, 2016
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This Thursday, September 8, the 4Cs and our D.U.E. Justice –D.U.E. stands for Democracy, Unity, and Equality– partners are joining together to hear Rev. Dr. Barber of the North Carolina NAACP and founder of the Moral Monday Movement. The D.U.E. Justice is calling for collective action on 5 key issue areas needed to turn our state around, and to hold our political leaders accountable for their efforts and commitments in those areas. Those 5 issue areas are:
Rev. Dr. Barber is an inspiring speaker who has given speeches at some high profile labor and democratic events in the past few months. I witnessed him firsthand speaking at the SEIU Convention, heard him on television at the DNC, and saw video of his speech at the Fight for $15 Convention.
While I’m excited to be inspired again by Rev. Dr. Barber, I’m not just going to hear him speak.
I’m attending on Thursday because of an incident that really bothered me over the summer. I was a passenger with my sister and a close friend in a taxi coming home at the beginning of the summer. An irate driver not only tried to drive our cab off the road, but when he stopped next to us at a red light, he called our taxi driver the N word and physically started punching the cab with his fist. This happened in my town, less than two miles from my house.
It’s been several months since this incident took place but it still bothers me. It bothers me that someone who likely lives in my town used this hateful language against another human being. It bothers me that my taxi driver was able to remain calm, most likely because this was not the first time this hateful language was thrown at him and sadly because he didn’t want to risk losing his tip. But more than anything, it bothered me that I stayed silent during the exchange.
I am a white woman raised in liberal Massachusetts. I understand that racism still exists, but despite being 40 years old, this is the first time someone used the N-word in my presence.
Yes, the man who used the hateful word was bigger than me, angry, and clearly prone to violence. I did not want to escalate the situation. After the incident, we apologized to our taxi driver – embarrassed and angry that someone would use such hateful language towards him. He appreciated our kindness but simply shrugged off the incident.
I cannot shrug off the incident. Rather that trying to find peace or solace in the excuse of not wanting to escalate things, I’m going to use this incident as motivation to break my silence and use my voice. Therefore, I’m not just going to listen to Rev. Dr. Barber speak – I’m going to join with the thousand others to speak out on the issues important to us.
Whether your issue is fair wages for adjuncts and EAs, fairly funded public higher education, Black Lives Matters, women’s equality, all of the above, or other issues, I hope you consider joining me on Thursday, September 8 at Take Back CT! The event is taking place in the Welte Theatre at Central Connecticut State University (directions here; campus map here) at 6:30pm. Join us and use your voice for change!
ebenson September 6th, 2016
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Last October, I noticed that the SEIU.org website had a more modern look and I was excited when I discovered the new theme would soon be available to local chapters. Nearly nine months later, the 4Cs is the first local to unveil the new theme and will serve as an example for other chapters across the country!
One of the reasons I was excited to get the new theme was because it included more interactive features. It was easier to embed YouTube videos on the homepage and we could include Twitter feeds on individual pages. While you will notice a major change on the homepage, all of the current information found on our website is still there. However, the information is organized slightly differently.
Here is screenshot of the homepage of our new website:
You will notice a new navigation tab called Issues, under which you can find Contract Negotiations, A Culture of Commitment stories, Faculty Forward and Adjunct Action information from SEIU, and Student Debt. This area of the new website demonstrates the issues that the 4Cs is working on, and this area will be frequently updated.
Our Chapter Leaders work hard for their colleagues! The 4Cs is trying to make their job a little easier by putting all the resources they may need in one place. Chapter leaders will be able to download several versions of the 4Cs logo in different formats, access resources to use for chapter meetings, download forms, and more! The Chapter Leaders tab is located in the footer menu on the webpage.
The 4Cs has been sharing stories about our members’ commitment to their students and communities. Our members often go above and beyond, and the media is starting to take notice! In the media tab on the footer menu, will be our press releases, op-eds, and contact information.
All the information that currently exists on our website will remain. There is a tab called “The Contract” that contains pertinent information for all of our members
The “Library” tab contains years of information from the 4Cs, including editions of the Congress Chronicles, e-newsletter, legislative monitor, videos, and forms!
The “Membership” tab contains the membership sign up form, information on benefits – both health and pension and additional benefits available through Union Plus. The Member Help Desk will contain links to several FAQ documents and contact information for those who can answer questions!
“Committees, Colleges & Affiliates” tab is where you can find information about specific sectors within the 4Cs or our partners. Looking for information about the Delegate Assembly or 4Cs Committees? You’ll find it there. Looking for who the chapter officers are at your college? Find it there, along with information specific to part-timers, retirees, and students!
The footer menu contain an “About 4Cs” tab where members will be able to find contact information, our calendar, useful links, and the history of the 4Cs.
As with anything new, we expect there will be some issues at first. If you notice any problems such as a link not working or an image not displaying, please let us know. Email email@example.com.
Thanks and we hope you love the new theme!
ebenson August 8th, 2016
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There have been an amazing number of milestones for the faculty movement across the country this Spring Semester. So far in 2016, thousands of faculty members at 10 colleges and universities have voted to join SEIU. Ten schools or university systems have settled or ratified first union contracts this Spring. These new agreements raise wages and solidify job security in higher education.
Although the semester is coming to an end, faculty at half a dozen schools have active union campaigns that will continue to build over the summer.
Faculty at the following schools have voted to join SEIU so far this year: Saint Louis University, Wells College, Loyola University Chicago, Notre Dame de Namur University (Tenured and Contingent), Ithaca College (Full-time), University of Southern California, St. Charles Community College, Duke University, Boston University (Full-time), Holy Names University.
On April 14, 2016 – the eve of Tax Day – faculty joined the Fight for $15 movement in the U.S. and around the globe to hold McDonald’s, other corporations and their own colleges accountable. (The 4Cs also participated in these actions locally!)
Faculty across America are showing the country that when people stick together and take action, they win. These contracts include many important victories for faculty at individual campuses, across metro areas and are helping to turn around the trends that have marginalized the profession: low pay, job insecurity, and a lack of respect and a faculty voice in higher education. Here are a few significant contract wins this semester:
This blog post was edited slightly with permission from facultyforward.org.
jrojas June 24th, 2016
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It’s summertime! It may not be officially summer until June 20, but before I left for the SEIU Convention at the end of May (read about that trip here), I was freezing while watching my son’s baseball games. I came back from Detroit to 90-degree weather, flowers in full bloom, and the end of Little League in sight.
For many of us at the community colleges, the summer begins after graduation. Full and part-time faculty may depart for the summer to work on research or publications, or they may remain on campus to teach or work alternate summer jobs. Tasks at the colleges for the full and part-time staff may shift depending on the department. Classes continue and students are still on campus, but for many of us, the summer months are a quieter time…quieter, but not necessarily less busy.
This is the case at the 4Cs office in Hartford. The phones don’t ring as frequently. There are fewer meetings. But for the 4Cs staff, quieter times are an opportunity to work on larger projects with fewer interruptions.
Some of the things that the 4Cs staff will be working on this summer:
So now you know what the 4Cs is up to this summer. Let us know what you’ll be doing!! Are you traveling somewhere? Are you working on research? Are you volunteering? Are you busier in the summer at the college? Let us know what your summer plans are! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
jrojas June 2nd, 2016
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Who wants to go to Detroit for four days of 8+ hours of governance meetings? Apparently I did. And you know what? I’m glad that I went!
SEIU held its Convention from Saturday, May 21 through Tuesday, May 24 at the COBO center in Detroit, Michigan. (“Really? DETROIT? Why?” asked every person that I told.) However, Detroit was the perfect locale for the issues to be discussed. The SEIU Convention delved really deep into such issues as environmental justice, racial justice and immigration justice. Where better than down the road from Flint, Michigan to discuss how environmental justice can impact us? Where better than Detroit, a city with over an 85% minority population, to discuss racial justice issues? Where better than at the U.S. border to discuss immigration justice?
Further, Detroit is an important city to the Labor Movement. Detroit’s labor history began in 1818 when the Detroit Mechanics’ Society was founded. “All skilled labor in Detroit is organized into trade unions,” wrote streetcar driver Malcolm McLeod in 1901. “And through the efforts of those unions we have bettered our conditions, reduced the hours of labor, and increased wages so that we now can find time to educate ourselves and our children and take the place in society which has been denied them” (Labors Legacy, page 2).
…Providing decent working conditions, raising wages, helping end poverty. These were the kinds of dreams that have motivated many of Detroit’s labor leaders and social reformers over the years and that would eventually make Detroit one of the nation’s premiere union towns” (Labors Legacy, page 2).
There was no better location than Detroit to renew our commitment to these issues. On these matters and other social justice issues, the SEIU Convention voted to adopt the following resolutions, among others:
In Connecticut, we have already begun working on some of these issues. The 4Cs is an active participant in the Democracy, Unity and Equality (D.U.E.) Justice coalition that brings together labor, community and faith-based groups to reduce income inequality and promote democracy. D.U.E. Justice’s agenda includes good jobs and fair wages; universal access to quality public education; a vibrant and fairly funded public sector; democracy in our state and in our work places; and racial, gender, and ethnic justice. We have actively supported CT Student 4 a Dream for undocumented students to be able to access financial aid at our colleges.
After attending the Convention in Detroit, I returned energized and with a renewed commitment towards progress on these issues and more! I hope you will join the 4Cs in our commitment to justice issues.
Joining me for their first convention were Lisa Calabrese, NVCC Chapter Officer for CCPs; Kimberly Small, Office Manager; and Greg Jackson, Internal Organizer. Returning to the convention were Bryan Bonina, 4Cs President and Steve Krevisky, 4Cs Secretary. Our Political Organizer, Bob Fernandez, was also invited as a guest of SEIU to speak on student debt.
And while Detroit wouldn’t make my top ten list of cities to visit, it had some cool areas. Belle Island in the river between Detroit and Canada seems like a fun place to spend a warm, summer day either in one of the many parks, playgrounds, beach or aquarium. Eastern Market on the weekends is bustling with local food merchants and artisans. Riverwalk, right outside of the COBO center, was a great walk along the river with a view of Canada, and it went right past the Michigan Labor Legacy Landmark, “Transcending,” a permanent reminder of the importance of labor in Detroit – a reminder of what we can achieve if we all work towards progress.
jrojas May 27th, 2016
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