I’ve been following the story of Columbia College part-time faculty for a long time.

November, 2017. Photo: Fred Klonsky

Our guests on Friday’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky brothers are Diana Vallera, part-time faculty union president, and Columbia part-time faculty Prexy Nesbitt and Andrea Dymond.

Union organizing among adjuncts at the nation’s colleges and universities is a growing phenomenon.

P-fac, the union at Columbia has taken a somewhat different course.

At the start P-fac was an affiliate of the Illinois Education Association which in turn is an affiliate of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union of education workers.

Fed up with the failure to adequately represent their interests, the members voted overwhelmingly to disaffiliate from the IEA and the NEA.

That was when I started following what was going on at Columbia College.

I thought this was a pretty courageous move since running an independent union is no small thing. My blog’s comment section was filled with arguments for and against disaffiliation.

The IEA’s reaction was, as usual, heavy handed. At one point they even threatened to take over the local.

I had a theory about this. The IEA and the IFT are the two teacher unions in the state. Aside from charter school teachers, adjunct faculty members are a huge section of education workers not organized. I think the IEA was terrified that a local of part-time faculty that chose to leave the state and national union send a message to other part-time faculty members to look elsewhere.

P-fac members would not be deterred.

For the past year P-fac has been engaged in difficult contract bargaining with the private and fairly expensive college.

Instructors and students express concern over faculty cuts, large class sizes,  lack of diversity in the hiring of staff and a big-salary  administration at a time when the college is crying it is financially struggling.

Join our conversation with these part-time faculty activists on Friday. 11am. WLPN-FM Chicago. 105.5fm. Live streaming at Lumpenradio.com and podcast available later in the day on whatever podcast platform you go to.



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