Feb. 2017 Advocate: Know Your Union


Union & Contract 101: A Primer or Refresher

by Monica Malamud, AFT 1493 President

Whether you are a recently-hired faculty member, a veteran in our district, or somewhere in between, here’s a “introductory primer”, or a “quick refresher” (whatever the case may be for you) to our union and our contract.

What is AFT 1493?

AFT Local 1493, our local union, is the exclusive and sole negotiation agent for all faculty in our District.  This means that AFT 1493 represents each and every faculty member in the District.  It also means that faculty cannot negotiate individually.

What are the union’s primary responsibilities?

A.  Contract negotiations
B.  Contract enforcement
The union represents all faculty, whether they are union members or not, in contract negotiations and when issues arise regarding the enforcement of the contract.  In addition to these primary responsibilities, the union is involved in other activities, both within our District and beyond.

There are laws… so why do we need a contract?

Although there are laws, both at the federal and state levels, governing many aspects of labor relations, not everything is covered in the law.

Often, locally negotiated items in a contract serve as catalysts for new legislation.  Once legislation is in place, many workers will benefit from it without the need to include it in each contract.  For this reason, our local, along with our state organization (California Federation of Teachers) and our national union, also engages in activities that promote the passage of legislation.

What is the contract?

The contract, also called our collective bargaining agreement (CBA), is an agreement between two parties, in our case, the Board of Trustees and AFT 1493, our faculty union.  The contract contains provisions about wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.

What are contract negotiations?

During contract negotiations, both parties, through their representatives (negotiating teams), make proposals and discuss them in a collaborative process that eventually results in a tentative agreement.

Who can make changes to the contract?

Changes to the contract cannot be made unilaterally, both parties must agree.

When can you negotiate changes to the contract?

Contracts are effective for a mutually agreed period of time, and modifications can be made only during contract negotiations.

What can you negotiate on?

Before starting contract negotiations, both parties make their initial proposals.  Only items included in the initial proposals can be negotiated during each round of negotiations.

Am I a union member?

The vast majority of faculty in our district are union members.  Whether you are a union member or not, there is a deduction for “AFT – Union Dues / Agency Fees” in every pay period.  Call a union rep (see listing on page 2) if you need to verify your membership status.

Members have many benefits:  education scholarships for members and their dependents, $1,000,000 occupational liability insurance coverage for work-related lawsuits, and a host of discounts on insurance, financial and legal services, as well as shopping, travel and entertainment.

If you’d like to see a Union 102 article in a future Advocate, please let us know.  Are there specific topics you’d like us to cover?  What did you always want to know about the AFT, but were afraid to ask?