The circumstances we face today remind us of the importance of unions in general and the Faculty Guild in particular. Guild members were represented as we worked with our LACCD Labor Caucus to issue a demand to the Chancellor that all District employees have safe working conditions. Our EDD assistance program got off to an earlier-than-usual start to help our colleagues navigate the process of applying for unemployment.
In March, I was alerted that the Board of Trustees had requested that the Chancellor be given broad authority to act as needed during the coronavirus emergency – authority so broad that it would have suspended our collective bargaining agreement. The Guild officers consulted with the LACCD Labor Caucus to rewrite the resolution and communicated with Board President Hoffman and the Chancellor to ensure our version of the resolution would be voted on. Our version passed. Our collective bargaining agreement remains intact.
As summer assignments were offered and fall assignments are in the planning stages, our Guild made sure that our COVID-19 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) for Article 40 (Distance Learning) of our collective bargaining agreement were implemented. These MOUs allow faculty who are not currently DE certified to accept remote learning assignments for at least summer and fall. We also protected our department chair election process described in Article 17. Chapter presidents are working with management to implement the process in our new virtual world.
Since mid-March, Guild members turned 8,000 classes from face-to-face to remote -- a remarkable accomplishment had it been planned way in advance. It was a phenomenal feat given the limited resources and the decision on day two of a ten-day training schedule to shut down the campuses. Shout out to the amazingly committed and dedicated Distance Education Coordinators and DE teams and kudos to the 5,000 faculty who were determined to save this semester for our students.
Guild officers and I worked with the LACCD Labor Caucus on a letter to the Chancellor in support of safe working conditions. Our work continues on the issue of “hard to convert” classes, primarily labs, CTE courses, and skills classes. At the same time, we are beginning discussions about the challenges we will face when we reopen our campuses. Although we don’t know when that will be, we are making sure that when the time is right, the Guild will be at the table working in the best interests of faculty and students. For AFT’s vision of what reopening will require, click here.
We know we’re not done adapting to coronavirus challenges—biological, psychological, economic --and those not yet identified. Because of a strong Guild membership, the Guild is here for our members, our students, and our communities. Because that’s what we do!