If we haven’t already met, please introduce yourself when you next see any of us!
Or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Middle row, left to right:
Robert Earle (Philosophy, English, and Sociology), Barbara Need (English), Pat Sewell (Environmental Studies)
Bottom row, left to right:
Sherry Tacktill (English), Gregg Weatherby (English), Diane Williams-Altmann (Biology)
Take 13 South to 38 North. Continue on 38 for about thirty-four miles as it winds its way north, taking on alternate identities of Railroad Street, Main Street, and West Cayuga Street. At the roundabout, take the third exit onto Lake Street, then turn left onto Owasco which is 38A. Make a left onto Franklin. Arrive at 197 Franklin Street, Cayuga Community College.
It’s fewer than forty miles in all and, in normal traffic conditions, it should take you 56 minutes. That’s the preferred route.
Then there’s the OTHER road to Cayuga. This is the road to Cayuga which detours hundreds of miles to Albany, a journey which might take you years (if you’re lucky) to complete. This is the road to Cayuga where you and a majority of your adjunct colleagues decide you want union representation to improve your jobs and, by extension, your students’ success but — instead of respecting the will of the majority — your employer uses taxpayer money to fund a continuing legal battle at the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) in an attempt to make the whole process of forming a union so long and so onerous that you give up.
That’s the road we don’t want: the one Cayuga administration erected roadblocks on in Spring 2014 after a majority of CCC adjuncts signed cards in favor of union representation, the one clogged with legal traffic which isn’t going to clear for many more months if not years, the one littered with the taxpayer dollars Cayuga wastes battling its own employees.
That’s the road TC3 has started down but still has time to turn around.
On June 10th and June 11th, a hearing was conducted in Syracuse by a judge from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the State agency which oversees unions and workers in the public sector. At the hearing, representatives of the TC3AA and the Tompkins Cortland Community College Faculty Association presented arguments about why adjuncts should have their own union, separate from that of the fulltime faculty. TC3’s attorney argued the College’s position, that a combined unit of both fulltime faculty and adjuncts was more appropriate. Legal briefs from each party will be due by the end of the September and then the judge will deliberate and eventually (most likely sometime this semester) issue his ruling. We anticipate the judge in the TC3AA case will rule in favor of two separate unions — just like the judge from the Cayuga hearing did. But we hope that, unlike their counterparts at CCC, President Haynes and the TC3 Board of Trustees will respect the judge’s decision and not continue to waste taxpayer monies (not to mention employee goodwill) on a continued fight.
Help us persuade President Haynes and the TC3 Board of Trustees to change course and get on the high road: the one where once a judge from the Public Employee Relations Board rules in our favor, the College respects the judicial decision, recognizes our Union, and — just like they do with every other employee at TC3 — sits down with us at the bargaining table to negotiate a fair contract which covers all the terms and conditions of our employment.
In April, adjuncts at Cayuga Community College got good news — the judge who had presided over their two day hearing last year at the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) ruled in favor of there being an “adjunct only” union at CCC, separate from the existing union for fulltime faculty. In her decision Judge Burritt wrote “‘There is no question that “[I]t is the policy of the Act to find appropriate the largest unit permitting effective negotiations.’ I find, however, that the adjunct faculty is appropriately placed in a separate unit from that of the full-time faculty, because of the significant conflicts that exist between part-time and full-time faculty which will prevent effective negotiations.”
It’s important to note that the only reason a judge had to make a ruling at all was because for close to a year, CCC Administration had been fighting their own employees’ efforts to form a union. Though the CCC administrators claimed their only interest was in determining the “most appropriate” union for adjuncts, all of their legal machinations are a thinly disguised strategy to delay the organizing efforts in the hopes that adjuncts will become so demoralized by the how long the process takes and/or how contentious it becomes, that they give up.
And we mention the Cayuga situation because we strongly believe that TC3 administration has been closely watching (and mimicking) their Cayuga counterparts ever since adjuncts at TC3 started organizing our union. That’s why the TC3 Administration refused to voluntarily recognize the TC3 Adjunct Association when we obtained majority status last October. That’s why the TC3 Administration tried to spread rumors and doubts about our majority status last November and December. That’s why the TC3 Administration refused to let PERB confirm our majority status and certify our union last January. And that’s why they insisted we go through a hearing similar to one that Cayuga adjuncts had gone through: it’s all about delay, it’s all about hoping that TC3 adjuncts will give up on forming a union.
Anyhow, our hearing, before Judge Kenneth Carlson from PERB, was held on June 11th and June 12th in Syracuse. Representatives of the TC3AA argued that we should be able to have our own union, separate from the existing union for fulltime faculty. Representatives of that union, the Tompkins Cortland Community College Faculty Association, also argued that we TC3 adjuncts should have their own union and not be forced to merge into theirs. TC3’s attorney from the Harris Beach law firm argued that the 250+ adjuncts at TC3 had enough in common with fulltime tenured faculty that the only way union representation for adjuncts could work at TC3 would be if adjuncts could merge into the Faculty Association.
All three parties at the hearing now have to submit legal briefs which will be due at the end of the summer. Then Judge Carlson will begin his deliberations, and will probably issue his ruling sometime in the Fall 2015 semester. We anticipate that his decision will mirror Judge Buritt’s, and that Judge Carlson will rule that adjuncts at TC3 should have their own union, separate from fulltime faculty. And if that happens, we hope that TC3 Administration will choose to take a higher road than their counterparts at Cayuga did when they appealed Judge Burritt’s ruling (that appeal is still pending, a decision is not likely to be issued until October at the earliest). We hope TC3 will respect Judge Carlson’s decision, refrain from wasting more money and personnel resources on further legal delays, recognize the TC3AA as the union for TC3’s adjuncts, and begin negotiations in good faith on a first collective bargaining agreement.
We are very happy to report that adjuncts at Cayuga Community College just won an important legal victory last Wednesday. A judge from the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB,” the government agency that oversees public sector employers and unions in New York State) ruled in favor of Cayuga Community College adjuncts having their own union!
Many of you are aware of the backstory that by March 2014, a majority of CCC adjuncts had signed union authorization cards in support of union representation. However CCC administration refused to voluntarily recognize the adjuncts’ union, and instead insisted that adjuncts properly belonged in the same union as the Cayuga fulltime faculty and that having a separate union for adjuncts would be an administrative and economic burden for the College. Since neither the Cayuga fulltime faculty nor the Cayuga adjuncts wished to be in the same union (as they have different and sometimes conflicting interests) and since the CCC administration was insistent that an adjunct-only union was “inappropriate,” the dispute had to be settled through the PERB hearing.
Does any of this sound familiar? (It should. We strongly suspect that TC3 administration has been following in the footsteps of their Cayuga counterparts in an attempt to delay if not derail entirely the desire of a majority of TC3’s adjuncts to form our own union.)
We are excited at what the judge’s ruling means for our colleagues in the Cayuga Community College Part-Time Faculty Association. We are also excited that the judge’s ruling could have a positive impact on our own upcoming hearing at PERB (scheduled for June 10th, 11th, and 12th) since we believe there will now be additional legal precedence for the judge who deliberates our case to rule in favor of the TC3 Adjunct Association being separate from the fulltime faculty union at TC3. BUT, it’s not necessary to have a hearing at all — at our pre-hearing conference in February, the judge made it clear to TC3 management that they could decide at any time to drop their legal objections to our union. Now, with this decision at Cayuga, it seems even more wasteful for TC3 to waste financial resources and administrative time on legal delays fighting their own employees’ decision to form a union.
We hope you will join us in extending our best wishes to our adjunct colleagues at Cayuga Community College. If you are on TC3’s Dryden campus this week, feel free to stop by the kitchen area in the Adjunct Office (Room 122) and sign the congratulatory card we have for the CCC adjuncts. If you’re not on campus would still like to join us in sending our congratulations, just email us whatever message you want us to forward to the CCC adjuncts, and we will print it out and we enclose it with the card when we mail it off. Email your message to email@example.com.
Nominations are now open for the 9 member Executive Council of the TC3 Adjunct Association. The nomination period will run through April 20th.
Only TC3AA members can nominate others (or themselves). Only TC3AA members can run for Council. Only TC3AA members are eligible to vote in the upcoming election. Membership in the TC3AA is limited to adjuncts/tutors who have taught or tutored at TC3 anytime in the 2014-15 academic year. You may nominate yourself or you may nominate an adjunct colleague (or multiple adjunct colleagues). If you nominate an adjunct colleague who is not yet a TC3AA member, s/he will be given the option of joining the TC3AA in order to be eligible to accept the nomination.
If you have not already joined the TC3AA, you can download a membership application, complete it, then:
1) Fax it back to 201-221-7541 (no cover sheet is necessary), or
2) Scan it and email it back to firstname.lastname@example.org, or
3) Give it to any Organizing Committee Member, or
4) Mail it to TC3AA/NYSUT, 4983 Brittonfield Parkway, POB 247 East Syracuse, NY 13057
Here are the relevant dates for the nomination period and the election:
NOMINATIONS — Must be received by Monday April 20, 2015 either by postal mail delivery or by 11:59pm via email/fax. (See above for email./fax/mailing address). Be sure to state your name either in the body of the email or on the nomination form. IF you would prefer, you may use a pre-printed nomination form available for download here. NOTE: We must receive a membership card from you by April 20th in order to consider your nomination.
ELECTION — Paper ballots will be mailed to members’ home addresses on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. Ballots are due back by Wednesday, May 6, 2015. Please note, May 6th is NOT a postmark deadline, ballots must be received back no later than Wednesday, May 6, 2015.
We hope all TC3 adjuncts will take an active role in determining the elected leadership of our union. Please feel free to contact us with any questions/concerns.
Sincerely the TC3AA Organizing Committee,
Herman Altmann, Betsy Caughey, Robert Chapman, Cynthia Coleman, Nancy Crane, Elizabeth Grant, In Shik Lee, Kristin Lovelace-ross, Randy McGory, Barbara Need, Jaclyn Pittsley, Jessica Ryan, Pat Sewell, Lorraine Sinclaire, Sherry Tacktill, Gregg Weatherby, Steve Weed, Butch Westlake, Michele Whitecraft, Diane Williams-Altmann, Sarah Wolff
Dear President Haynes and Members of the TC3 Board of Trustees,
The TC3 Adjunct Association looks forward to the official confirmation of our majority from the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB). We are confident we can then begin the process of forming a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with TC3 administration and the Board of Trustees, one similar to that enjoyed by the three existing bargaining units on campus.
Since October 22nd, when you were first notified that a majority of TC3 adjunct faculty had chosen union representation, we were straightforward that we were prepared to demonstrate majority support of our union — The TC3 Adjunct Association — before a neutral third-party. We heard nothing directly from you in response other than your November 18th formal rejection of our request for voluntary recognition. We did hear many indirect statements from you — letters from Dr. Connors, a press release, quotations from members of Administration in the media — all of which shared the same underlying theme that you were doubtful that a true majority of TC3 adjunct faculty had chosen union representation. In an effort to put those doubts to rest, late last month we asked Reverend Richard Rose of Ithaca’s First Baptist Church to confirm our majority support, which he did. As you know, we then sent the authorization cards and requisite paperwork for our union’s certification to PERB, the state agency which members of your administration have described as the “legitimate arbiter of the majority question.”
We have been transparent from the beginning that our goal is to exercise our legal right to form a union, so as to ultimately benefit from what other TC3 employees already have through their unions, namely, the right to negotiate the terms and conditions of our employment through good faith negotiations. We trust that your concerns, which we have learned of through members of your administration and through the media, are similarly unambiguous. Aside from your stated doubts of our majority support, you have repeatedly said that you would prefer PERB conduct a conventional secret-ballot election, a preference we assume you must know will soon be moot, since the labor laws of New York State are clear: once majority support is confirmed, PERB is empowered to certify the union. The only thing that would delay the certification is if the employer raises objections about other issues, such as the make-up of the proposed bargaining unit.
So we ask you now to let us know where you stand. Is it correct to say that you simply want to confirm that union representation is indeed the choice that a majority of current TC3 adjuncts has made? Is it correct to say that you will not raise any other objections — such as those raised last year at Cayuga Community College — which would unduly delay PERB’s certification process of our union?
We look forward to your response, and working cooperatively with you in the best interest of the TC3 community.
Respectfully and on Behalf of the TC3 Adjunct Association Organizing Committee,
Herman Altmann (Biology), Betsy Caughey (English), Robert Chapman (Political Science), Cynthia Coleman (Sociology), Nancy Crane (Spanish), Robert Earle (English & Sociology), Elizabeth Grant (English), In Shik Lee (Graphic Design), Kristin Lovelace-Ross (Mathematics), Randy McGory (CAPS), Barbara Need (English), Jaclyn Pittsley (English), Jessica Ryan (Sociology), Patrick Sewell (Environmental Studies), Lorraine Sinclaire (English), Sherry Tacktill (English), Gregg Weatherby (English), Steve Weed (English), Butch Westlake (Sociology), Michele Whitecraft (Chemistry), Diane Williams-Altmann (Biology), Brandy Williams-DeBottis (Psychology), Sarah Wolff (English)
For the TC3 Adjunct Association, that’s the most relevant dictionary definition of “majority” we could find. As in “A majority (group that is the greater part) of the College’s adjunct faculty (the “large group” since 69.6% of all faculty teaching this semester are adjuncts) support union representation.”
We’ve been saying that for a little over a month now, ever since we formally notified President Carl Haynes that a majority of the employees the College considers current adjunct faculty had signed union authorization cards and we asked him to voluntarily recognize the TC3 Adjunct Association. The official rules of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the state agency which oversees unions and employers in the public sector in New York, require that once a union requests voluntary recognition, the union must then give the employer 30 calendar days to consider the request before proceeding to the next step in the certification process. According to PERB rules, during that time the employer can grant voluntary recognition, or reject voluntary recognition, or ignore the request. If the employer ignores the request that can be a form of passive rejection since after 30 days a lack of employer acknowledgement morphs into a legal rejection.
For the past several weeks various College officials have been publically — and perhaps privately — doubting our word. So much so, that on Tuesday, November 18th (the 27th day of that 30 day period or three days before what would have become a passive rejection of voluntary recognition) the College took the highly unusual step of not only actively rejecting our request for voluntary recognition but of also sending out a press release about that decision.
College officials were very specific about their reason for the rejection. The College’s press release quoted John Connors, TC3’s Vice President and Provost, as explaining, “President Haynes, in rejecting the request to recognize the proposed TC3 Adjunct Association, is not convinced that the majority of adjunct faculty members support this organizing effort… Given these doubts, it would be irresponsible for the college to move forward, when doing so would perhaps be against the will of the majority.” In answer to a Cortland Standard reporter’s question about why President Haynes had summarily turned down a local elected official’s offer to act as a third party and count the cards to confirm whether or not we had majority support, Dr. Connors implied that the offer (which was made on Friday, November 14th) had come too late and that it was made only after the College had already decided not to grant voluntary recognition.
Too late? The College didn’t even send out its letter of rejection to the Union until Monday. If the rejection was based — as Dr. Connors claimed — on concerns about our majority status, why not welcome an opportunity to clear that up once and for all?
Well, we’ve taken care of that.
Earlier this week we asked Reverend Richard Rose, pastor of Ithaca’s First Baptist Church, to examine the original cards and compare them to the list of 258 current adjuncts which TC3 had provided to us earlier this month in response to our request under the Freedom of Information Act. Here’s what Reverend Rose said, “After carefully comparing the names on the original signed cards against the list of eligible employees the employer provided to the union, there is no question in my mind that in the last three months a majority of TC3’s adjuncts have signed cards expressing their desire for union representation. I would hope that today I have at least been able to provide reassurance to college President Haynes and TC3’s trustees that they no longer need be concerned that accepting the union would somehow be against the will of the majority of their adjunct faculty. It is clear to me that by opposing the union the college would be acting against the will of the majority.”
So what happens now? Nothing precludes Dr. Haynes from changing his mind and deciding the College should voluntarily recognize the union. But barring that, the next step in PERB’s official process is already underway. The cards and accompanying requisite paperwork (called a “Petition for Certification“) should arrive at PERB’s Albany offices by the end of the week.
Since a majority of current adjuncts have signed cards (as Reverend Rose recently affirmed and PERB will easily be able to confirm), the TC3AA should be eligible for certification without an election. That’s because, according to PERB rules, elections are held when there are two or more unions seeking to represent the same group of employees or when a single union is seeking representation but does not have majority support on cards. PERB rules clearly state, “…the employee organization involved will be certified without an election if a majority of the employees within the unit have indicated their choice…by individual designation cards which have been executed within six months prior to the date of the director’s decision recommending certification without an election.”
So, to repeat the message that more than than forty adjuncts and supporters from Cortland and Tompkins counties delivered at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting: Once our majority status has been confirmed, we urge the College to take the high road, respect our decision, and not waste taxpayer money on legal fights against their own employees in an effort to delay or derail PERB’s certification of the TC3 Adjunct Association.”
Despite the increasing intensity of the snow falling above, and the deteriorating conditions of the roads below, more than forty TC3 adjuncts and supporters from Cortland and Tompkins counties braved the weather last night to make a point at this month’s Board of Trustees meeting.
Their point? 69 POINT 6. As in, 69.6% of the instructors teaching classes this semester are adjuncts. That’s right, adjuncts (who also are responsible for teaching the majority of the classes this semester) comprise more than two thirds of the current faculty at TC3.
There was more.
Despite confusing (and often conflicting) information released from the TC3 administration over the last few weeks, TC3AA members and supporters wanted to make it clear to the Board of Trustees that a majority of current adjunct faculty have indeed chosen to be represented by the TC3 Adjunct Association and how the election TC3 management has proposed is not consistent with the rules of the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) nor even necessary. Pat Sewell, an adjunct faculty member of Environmental Studies, detailed how adjuncts have already voted and explained precisely how the process and results were far more democratic and representational of current TC3 adjuncts’ choice than any PERB election could be. Other adjunct faculty and community supporters also addressed the Board during the public comments portion of the agenda to reassure the College that an adjunct union is a positive step forward, not something to fear.
The underlying theme of the evening was urging President Haynes and the Board of Trustees not to waste taxpayer money fighting their own employees. Our challenge to them? We urge the Board to publically commit that once a neutral third party has confirmed that a majority of adjuncts teaching this semester have indeed signed union authorization cards, the College will not take any further legal action in an attempt to delay or derail the Public Employment Relations Board from speedily completing the formal certification process of the TC3 Adjunct Association.
After the public portions of the meeting, the BOT was scheduled to hold a private executive session to discuss the adjunct unionization.
We hope their discussion last night was fruitful and they chose to take the high road and commit to respect the decision of their employees.
We look forward to hearing from them soon.
We just learned this morning that President Carl Haynes has apparently decided to reject the TC3 Adjunct Association’s request for voluntary recognition. TC3 issued a press release about this decision at approximately 9:45 this morning. Please note that in no way does that change our intention to address the Board of Trustees later this week.
With three longstanding existing unions on campus we must assume that TC3 Administration is aware of the rules of the Public Employment Relations Board (the government entity that oversees unions and employers in the public sector in New York State) and knows full well that an election is unnecessary when a union, such as the TC3 Adjunct Association, has obtained majority support on union authorization cards.
To be crystal clear: a strong majority of the 258 employees who appeared on the list of current adjuncts that the Administration provided to us have signed authorization cards stating their desire for union representation. Many of those adjuncts were reluctant to add their names to the public list of union supporters. PERB’s rules do not require any worker to publically state their support for unionization. The fact that 100+ adjuncts agreed to add their names to the Union’s public message to President Haynes and the Board of Trustees doesn’t indicate a lack of majority status. Quite the contrary! It shows that nearly 40% of current adjuncts at TC3 did not merely sign union cards, but that they were also willing to let their employer (and the world) know they had done so.
It’s a rather silly thing for abstract quibbling about anyhow since there’s an easy way to confirm TC3AA’s majority status. Last week, in fact, after reports about the Administration’s concerns that TC3AA does not have majority backing of current adjuncts first started appearing in various news stories, we attempted to alleviate these concerns by trying to find a neutral third party who would be willing to check the actual cards against the list provided by the College of current adjunct faculty to confirm that TC3AA does indeed have a majority. A local elected official was willing to assist and reached out to President Haynes who summarily rejected the offer.
It’s actually not too late for the College to change its mind. Perhaps even more importantly at this point, it’s not too late for the College to assure everyone that it has no intention of trying to delay or derail their employees’ legally protected right to form a union. We urge President Haynes to make a public commitment that when the Public Employment Relations Board does (as it will) confirm that TC3AA has majority status, the College will not stand in the way of PERB officially certifying the union so we can proceed to negotiations and begin to address the real issues at hand — regular and reasonable pay increases, a modicum of job security such as multi-term appointments, and access to affordable benefits (like health insurance) for adjuncts who need them — all of which will benefit not only adjuncts but our students and the entire institution as well as it will help enable the College to continue attracting and retaining the most qualified and dedicated adjuncts for years to come.
As the group of employees who are responsible for teaching the majority of the courses at TC3 we are as deserving of the same level of respect as that enjoyed by every other employee at the College.
So, yes, please join us to remind the Board and Administration this Thursday that respecting adjuncts’ decision to form a union is a basic manifestation of the respect that ALL employees at TC3 should be afforded.
This Friday, November 21st, will mark the 30th day since we informed President Haynes that a majority of TC3’s adjuncts have signed authorization cards indicating their desire for union representation and the 30th day since we requested that the College “voluntarily recognize” the TC3 Adjunct Association. On the eve of the 30th day — at 5:30pm this Thursday, November 20th — TC3’s Board of Trustees will hold its next regular monthly meeting (open to the public) and…. YOU are invited! We’ll meet up first, at 5:15pm, in the Fireside Café, on the first floor of the Main Building on the Dryden campus (closest parking is in Lot #4) and then proceed together to the Board meeting in the Sprole Boardroom (Room 200, near the Empire State wing of the building) with the goal of arriving a few minutes before the 5:30pm start time. The Trustees plan to discuss the union in an executive session immediately following the regular meeting so if you are a member of the TC3 community or a resident of Tompkins or Cortland county please join us for this important opportunity to let the Trustees know we want them to respect the decision of the majority of TC3 adjuncts. Earlier today President Haynes informed the Union that he would not voluntarily recognize the TC3AA. While disappointing, that is the College’s legal right. However, what made the rejection more disappointing (and somewhat disturbing) was the assertion by President Haynes (later repeated in a repeated in a press release issued by the College) that the Administration has doubts as to our majority status. It’s odd since last week, as media coverage of the TC3AA started picking up (like in The Ithacan, The Lansing Star, 870 WHCU, and 14850, to name a few) we started hearing of TC3 Administration’s that about whether or not we have achieved majority support amongst TC3 adjuncts. For example, in an article that appeared in last week’s edition of The Ithacan, one member of TC3’s administration is quoted as saying, “If the union is going to come into existence, we want to be confident that it is supported by the majority of people it wants to represent.” Apparently this same administrator also told the Ithacan reporter that the fact that only 100+ adjuncts had signed on to a public letter of support was in and of itself cause for concern since those adjuncts do not constitute a majority of the 250’ish adjuncts teaching this semester at TC3. We guess it’s not as obvious as we thought but not every adjunct who signed a union authorization card was willing to announce to Administration (let alone the world) that they had done so. But, WHEW, it’s not every day we get an opportunity to clear up a misconception so easily! We certainly DO have a strong majority (in fact, we have a strong majority even of the somewhat inflated list that TC3 provided to us which included several managers who would not be eligible for union representation). All that’s needed is to count the cards in a way that confirms our majority status but does not violate our commitment to respect the wishes of the many adjuncts who are reluctant to publically state that they signed a union authorization card. A local elected official was willing to help us out by acting as a neutral third party and comparing the names on the signed union authorization cards to the names on TC3’s list to confirm that a majority of the adjuncts listed on TC3’s list did indeed sign a union authorization card. But on Friday, President Haynes summarily rejected the local elected official’s offer. The offer still stands and we’ll make it again to the Board of Trustees on Thursday. Though technically it’s not to late for President Haynes and the Board to change their mind and agree to voluntary recognition, the second “highest road” they can take is to agree that when PERB confirms our majority status and then seeks to certify the TC3AA that the College will not then waste taxpayer money by engaging in any legal challenges in an effort to derail or delay our decision to form a union.
Questions? Please contact us at email@example.com