I’m writing to express deep gratitude to you all, to share news of growing community support for a fair contract for Lane faculty, and to address next steps.
Thank you to all of you who have written letters to the Board of Education, who attended Monday’s meeting to demonstrate support for a fair faculty contract, and who have expressed support in other ways, and a special thank you to the contributions of our Action Team Chairs, members, department reps, and faculty organizers.
About 130 faculty and community members stood together to demonstrate over concerns about the trajectory of Lane Community College and the decision-making that has led to continued disinvestment in instruction at the college. (One photo below — follow LCCEA Action Team on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for more.)
Supporters include OEA President John Larson, OEA Vice President Reed Scott-Schwalbach, former OEA President Hanna Vaandering, other OEA leaders as well as presidents and leaders from Eugene Education Association, Springfield Education Association, Roseburg and Fern Ridge schools, among others.
In addition, retired faculty members and one retired dean made public statements at the meeting in support of fair compensation for all faculty, movement toward pay equity for part-time faculty, a minimum number of full-time faculty, and the critical need to reverse the trends in college spending and instead invest in the instructional mission.
Both the former student body president, Nick Keough, and the current student body president, Bryant Everett, made strong statements in support of fair compensation for all faculty. (See attached.)
Support from Legislators
There has been a groundswell of support among community leaders as well. In addition to US Congressman Peter DeFazio, State Representatives John Lively, Marty Wilde, and Julie Fahey as well as State Senators Lee Beyer and Floyd Prozanski have expressed support for a fair faculty contract.
State Senator Floyd Prozanski wrote an incredibly strong letter to LCC President Hamilton and Board Chair Eyster urging them to come to a “quick, fair resolution” in faculty contract negotiations. (See attached.) He explained that the legislature intended the additional funding provided to community colleges to be invested in the types of salary adjustments LCCEA seeks, such as COLAs and part-time faculty salary schedule changes.
Sen. Prozanski writes, “The Legislature made education funding a key focus during the 2019 session, including increased funding for community colleges. I’m pleased this investment and additional savings brought an additional $2 million to LCC. However, part of our intention with these investments was to ensure that education jobs remained good jobs — jobs where we could recruit and retain an experienced and motivated workforce to educate our students.”
“The investments that LCCEA seeks in COLAs and in adjustments to part-time faculty pay represent the kind of investments I had hoped to see. I urge you to come to a quick and fair resolution, so LCC can remain focused on its mission of education.”
It is imperative that the College make these investments, lest LCC risk undermining the ability to seek support and funding from the legislature in the future.
State Representative Julie Fahey wrote a compelling letter (also attached) in support of a fair faculty contract expressing concerns that, “Decisions about internal spending have led to a disinvestment in faculty, with faculty FTE down 20% and management FTE up 9% since 2012.” “But the success of LCC and those students can only be as great as the faculty we are able to hire and retain for the long term. While pay and benefits are not the driving reason for most who enter a teaching career, we can still ensure they are being compensated well enough to support their families and to enable them to focus on their teaching.”
The LCCEA is grateful for the support of so many local legislators who have advocated on our behalf for an investment in faculty and in the college mission.
There are two bargaining sessions remaining this term: Monday 11/25 (noon – 5 p.m.) and Monday 12/2 (1 p.m.-5 p.m.). We remain optimistic that the Board of Education and College Administration have heard the faculty and the community and that the College will come prepared to demonstrate a real commitment to faculty and to do the work at the bargaining table necessary to reach a reasonable agreement.
At the same time, given that the contract expired June 30, if the parties do not reach agreement by the end of the term, we will need to proceed to the next step in collective bargaining, which is formal mediation.
We know that many faculty members have questions about next steps and options to address the lack of a contract agreement. Please save the date for Wednesday, January 8 at 3 p.m. (week 1 of Winter term) for a meeting open to all LCCEA members where we will answer questions and discuss in detail: bargaining, timelines, and next steps.
In the meantime, faculty are standing together, and our community and our legislators are standing with us.