Transform our Union
Our union does not just need to be better managed - our union needs to be transformed into a member-driven organization. Our team will lead and rebuild our 4,000+ member union in new and improved ways to ensure all members are knowledgeable of the challenges we face and able to meaningfully and consistently contribute to the solutions we undertake. Only when you are fully engaged, fully empowered, and fully informed, can we make decisions as a body that best serve our needs. Our leadership team understands at a core level that our strength and solidarity as a union comes from you.
The current 4Cs President has been unable to effectively manage our union in a way that ensures effective communication and participatory decision-making. Evidence of this includes member complaints that information is not shared in a timely manner, that members are unaware of what is going on, that decisions are made that we do not understand, and that member and chapter concerns are not followed up in a timely way. Members of the Delegate Assembly (DA) share similar frustrations. DA meetings are not effectively managed and run too long. DA and Executive Board meeting minutes have not been posted online in over three years!
We need new leadership to bring improved management and communications to the 4Cs. Our team believes in the principles of transparency and inclusion. We are committed to sharing information frequently and in a timely way. We will use technology more effectively via surveys, polls and other mechanisms to quickly engage you and gather information from you. We care deeply about communicating effectively and bi-directionally. We understand that we will only build union strength and union power when you are fully informed and engaged.
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The consolidation of our community colleges has been the most sustained attack on our colleges and our union that many of us have ever faced. CSCU leaders are actively redefining what it means to be a community college faculty and professional. CSCU leaders are building a bloated, administrative, regressively managed, and exploitative centralized apparatus of public higher education. This administrative central office has cost $400 million dollars to date. CSCU managers have coopted and distorted policies that once belonged to our twelve colleges and our practice of shared governance. They are devaluing, diminishing and complicating the work of our staff by imposing onto us policies and systems without our meaningful participation. CSCU leaders are trampling on the principles of faculty control over the curriculum via a centralized curriculum that displaces and marginalizes faculty oversight.
We have opposed consolidation from the beginning because we maintain a centralized one-size-fits all curriculum and policy is not the best way to serve the varied and diverse populations of students. We value local shared governance as a practical means to ensure faculty and staff participation into the curriculum we teach and services we provide. We fight for faculty and staff participation into decision-making, because we are the experts in our fields and our expertise and experience is what makes our colleges special. We are offended to see millions of dollars wasted on Regional and Central Office managers, after decades of our colleges being unable to hire local faculty and staff to serve our students. We maintain that efficiencies could have been found across our system to save money, yet still allow our twelve college campuses to retain their individual accreditation.
While our opposition to consolidation has been principled, we must acknowledge the unfortunate fact that our union has failed to effectively face this consolidation attack head on. When this attack first emerged, our union was too slow to respond. Our union lacked structural components like strong community connections and deep and long-standing student relationships that would have provided us allies to initially stand up against the threat. Our union also lacked the organizational capacity or vision, to immediately organize and engage our membership in a different and proactive way, to get in front of this attack. These initial missteps and structural deficiencies of our union have kept us in a constant state of reaction, as we fend off one attack after another from the system office.
To lead our union forward, we must honestly assess how we got to this point, so we can chart the best and most effective path moving forward.
Recognizing the past, our union is fighting the attacks on shared governance and highlighting the lies about equity and empty promises being spread by CSCU administrators. We have gained traction with some of our state legislators, who are also speaking up and questioning consolidation and the Board of Regents. The reality at this late point in time, is that President Gates and the Board of Regents are desperately hoping they can drag this trash heap of a consolidation plan over the finish line before NECHE and more of our state legislators truly understand how odious it is.
We need new leadership in our union to more effectively organize and mobilize our membership to fight for the principles that are important to us. We need to lead our entire membership in difficult and deep discussions about what we are fighting for. We need to do a much better job proactively organizing our CCPs who are being targeted, to both protect every member, and to fight for working conditions that will best serve our students. The current President is not doing this. We need new leadership - a team of individuals who will organize and lead our union in a better way - to better proactively and comprehensively face these challenges.
Presidential candidate Seth Freeman has been one of the strongest voices to publicly challenge the Board of Regents and CSCU leadership for their propaganda and lies regarding consolidation. Seth authored the OpEds Ojakian and the Board of Regents Have The Wrong Answer to the Budget Crisis and a Lot of Nerve and more recently Merger plan not the best course for community colleges. The latter OpEd was signed by 201 community college faculty and staff across the state. Beyond these OpEds, Seth, Waynette, Steve Krevisky and Angelo Glaviano have pushed the Executive Board to pass resolutions to fight consolidation, and Seth personally drafted many of the statements of opposition sent out by the 4Cs office.
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Fight for You
We are running to bring new leadership into our union who will unequivocally stand up to management any time a member faces harassment or intimidation of any sort. At some of our community colleges, members report that local, regional and system-wide managers are placing undue pressure on faculty and staff in ways that violate our contract. Our leadership team will not allow this. It will be abundantly clear to CSCU management once our leadership team takes office, that we will not tolerate mismanagement of this sort any longer.
Our union needs new union leadership for many reasons. One of the most important reasons is that our current 4Cs President has not consistently and unequivocally stood up for members against management abuse. Our team will ensure every chapter leader and Grievance Officer is fully supported to fight and stand up for every one of our members. We will demand and ensure every 4Cs member is treated professionally and with respect by management.
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Increase Member Engagement
Our administration will significantly increase member engagement by redefining what it means to be active in our union. We will personally invite you to identify and engage in union work that is meaningful and relevant to you. As an example, we will develop a new 4Cs Peer Mentoring program for staff and faculty to serve as peer mentors for our colleagues across the state. We will invite and encourage you to bring your ideas, suggestions, and leadership for new ways our union can both support the professional growth of our members and improve the services we provide to our students and communities.
We believe that for far too long our union has focused only on contractual matters, while paying little to no attention to consequential matters of importance to our members. These matters include promoting and defending shared governance, promoting diversity and inclusion, and building strong connections and partnerships with our communities and our students. Largely ignoring these matters through solely focusing on our contract has hurt our union. We will work with you to transform our union into a dynamic and expansive professional organization that focuses on these matters. Through engaging more of our membership and building and expanding our partnerships, we will become a stronger and more powerful union. This strength and power will ultimately better enable us to protect and defend our contract and preserve working conditions and policies that best serve our students.
Our administration is committed to increasing member participation in our chapters across the state. We will work closely with and support chapter leaders to build chapter cohesiveness and chapter power. Each of our chapters must be inclusive and welcome spaces for every member at our colleges. We must build and rebuild trust amongst each other in our chapters. Our chapters must promote and foster the shared values that our union supports one another, our union stands for fairness and equity, our union is important, our union prioritizes student success, and a stronger union means a stronger college.
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Commit to Racial Justice
Our vision for the 4Cs is to become an organization centered on promoting racial justice and equity. Centering our work on racial justice means ensuring our members and our students of all races are provided equitable opportunities. Centering our work means identifying and removing any systems or policies that contribute to the discrimination of any group based on ethnicity or race. Centering our work on racial justice means identifying and eradicating any structures or practices that support or further white supremacy.
Our administration will realize this vision by intentionally and consistently communicating about racial justice issues surrounding our members and our students. We must as a union engage with one another in honest and difficult dialogue around racial justice. Our administration will expand, broaden, and strengthen our Diversity Committee - led by our Diversity Officer Waynette Arnum - to lead this work. Our Diversity Officer will actively recruit and engage our faculty and staff across all of our campuses to build the Diversity Committee into a powerful platform and venue to discuss difficult issues, educate our members, engage our students, partner with community organizations, and build consensus and understandings that promote racial justice.
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Organize PT Members
Our union must do a better job organizing our PT faculty and staff who comprise over 60% of our membership. PT members are currently underrepresented in our union at every level (Chapter, Delegate Assembly, Executive Board). Our administration will continue our union's commitment to expanding and deepening participation of our PT members because we cannot fight best and advocate for our PT members, nor realize our full union potential and power, with so many of our members not actively engaged in the union.
Our administration will hire a new staff Organizer to focus on organizing PT faculty at UHart and building out our UHart union chapter. This new Organizer will also support our continued organizing of PT Faculty and EAs in the community colleges.
Additionally, our administration will recommend to the Delegate Assembly that Professor Angelo Glaviano (Middlesex) serve in the role of Presidential Aide with the specific responsibility of supporting and working with our Public Division Vice Presidents of Part-Timers, Part-Time Committee, and chapter PT chairs to organize our PT members. Angelo currently serves as one of the VP of Part-Timers and has demonstrated significant leadership and effectiveness in this role and work. Our team is very excited for Angelo to continue empowering and supporting our members through the role of Presidential Aide.
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Build UHart Chapter
Our staff organizers have done excellent work organizing our UHart members to win their contract at University of Hartford. We are currently engaged in wage arbitration that is due to be completed this Spring. UHart members are due wage increases because we are significantly underpaid and have been underpaid for many years.
Significant work is needed to build our UHart chapter and engage our members. To support this work, our administration will hire a new full-time staff Organizer who will be assigned this responsibility. Our staff organizer will support our UHart leaders and active members in designing and building our UHart chapter. We are committed to building our UHart chapter so we can better fight for pay equity, improved benefits, and working conditions for our members.
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Stand for Social Justice
Our union has made significant and remarkable progress over the last year in partnering with labor and social justice coalitions through our activity in the Bargaining for the Common Good (BCG) coalition. This activity continues as we push Governor Lamont and support our legislative allies to demand a Peoples Budget - a budget that prioritizes raising revenue from the ultra-rich in our state, such that public services (education, health care, housing, mental health) can be provided to the neediest and most vulnerable residents of our state.
All of us who are active in BCG events and activities recognize this work as transformational. We are taking our advocacy and activism into the streets, to stand with our brothers and sisters in labor, stand with members of the faith community, and to fight for immigrants, poor and working-class people. We are standing together and fighting against the corporate greed and state abuse of power that keeps too many in our communities in persistent states of suffering and need. Social Justice activity is core to who we are as a labor union.
To further support, invest, and prioritize our important work in this area, our administration will recommend to the Delegate Assembly that Professor Steve Krevisky (Middlesex) serve in the role of Presidential Aide with the specific responsibility of coordinating and leading our social justice activity. Steve has been an outstanding leader in the 4Cs for over 36 years and is an experienced activist and leader in the fight for justice for oppressed people, and the fight against racism, imperialism, and militarism. We are very excited to have Steve lead and coordinate this social justice work.
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Improve Legislative Advocacy
Our administration will improve and strengthen our existing legislative activity and outreach to better cultivate and strengthen relationships with CT legislators. We will do this by developing concrete strategies, activities, and measurable goals for our legislative activity. We will work with Delegate Assembly members and chapter leaders to identify and set these goals, and hold ourselves accountable to do the work. We must make legislative activity and outreach a core part of our work at every level (chapter, delegate, executive board) and continuously educate and empower our members to contribute to this core activity.
Currently our Political Director Executive Board position is vacant. This vacancy puts additional responsibility and workload onto our Staff and Organizers to coordinate and support our political activity with our members. Our administration will recommend to the Delegate Assembly that Professor Colena Sesanker (Gateway) serve as the 4Cs Political Director. Colena has demonstrated significant expertise and leadership in legislative activity and outreach through her work in the Congress, her leadership fighting consolidation, and her leadership of the Board of Regents Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC). Colena's participation on our Executive Board will be a remarkable addition to our union leadership.
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