AFA and Advocacy in Sacramento
AFA works with the Faculty Association for California Community Colleges (FACCC), California Community College Independents (CCCI), and political leaders to ensure that community colleges are a priority in Sacramento.
FACCC is the only statewide organization dedicated to representing California's community college faculty in Sacramento. Its mission is to "promote funding, academic freedom, and retirement benefits" for California's community college faculty. Nine thousand members strong, FACCC is a respected and effective voice in advocating for legislation and budgetary priorities that directly impact our pay and retirement and affect our ability to educate students. As one long-time FACCC member here at SRJC states, "Every year through the annual budget development cycle FACCC plays a crucial role in attending hearings, lobbying individual legislators, and actively shaping the discussion on behalf of faculty interests. In terms of legislation, there have been so many important FACCC-sponsored pieces of legislation. Of particular note, their efforts on supporting, strengthening, and now defending STRS (the State Teachers Retirement System) through the years, their advocacy and support of legislation on faculty governance (AB 1725), support for numerous part-time issues such as the funding for health care benefits (currently not funded due to budget crisis), academic freedom issues, etc. The list is extensive."
In addition to its front-line advocacy with legislators, FACCC sponsors the annual March in March; educates its members about relevant legislation, via its comprehensive web site, weekly emails to members, and quarterly journal; and offers conferences and workshops on everything from professional development to adjunct issues to unemployment insurance benefits to retirement. FACCC also offers customized workshops to meet the needs of individual campuses.
Many SRJC faculty are FACCC members, and several campuses in the CCC system are "contract members"—that is, the faculty at these campuses decided to join FACCC en bloc, which confers additional benefits to these campuses while strengthening FACCC's voice in Sacramento by boosting its membership numbers. If you've read the minutes from AFA's recent Executive Council meetings, you know that we've been discussing the potential benefits of contract membership for SRJC faculty. The Council is considering sending this issue to the membership for a vote later this semester, and, if so, we'll be sending out more informational materials to educate everyone about FACCC, its work, and the benefits of contract membership for SRJC faculty.
We encourage you to become informed about FACCC. Talk to your colleagues who are FACCC members, and spend some time at the FACCC web site: www.faccc.org. For information about FACCC's mission and core values, visit their "About Us" page: www.faccc.org/faccc071409/aboutus.html.
CCCI Hires a Dedicated Advocate
Santa Rosa Junior College's Unit A faculty are represented by AFA: an independent and local collective bargaining agent. AFA is one of thirteen independent bargaining agents in the California Community College system and all thirteen are members of a consortium called California Community College Independents (CCCI). CCCI members share information, collectively advocate for legislation that benefits community colleges, materially support candidates whose values and records align with our priorities. At this critical time in California's history, CCCI is for the first time hiring a lobbyist who will increase the strength of its voice in Sacramento.
In addition to advocating on behalf of community college faculty in Sacramento, this lobbyist will attend CCCI conferences, identify specific issues of importance that we should be working on, provide monthly reporting from Sacramento, and work with faculty either on their own campuses or at "regional" meetings to train us to best advocate for ourselves at the State level.
To read the Executive Council's discussion of this issue, see pages six and seven of the minutes from its April 27, 2011 meeting: www.santarosa.edu/afa/minutes.shtml. For information about CCCI's mission and member organizations, visit the CCCI Website: www.cccindependents.org.
Assembly Member Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, to Visit SRJC on September 29
Thursday afternoon, September 29, Michael Allen, Assembly Member and Assistant Majority Leader of the California State Assembly, will hold a one-hour budget forum for SRJC faculty. Allen's visit is co-sponsored by AFA and FACCC and is tentatively scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Details to come. Watch your email account!