Consider

Consider What—and What Won’t—Change With Third-Party Representation

At first glance, union representation can seem attractive, with no discernable “downside.” However, when prospective members dig a bit deeper, they often find disappointing outcomes and unexpected trade-offs of which they weren’t fully aware.

We invite you to analyze what’s being promised by union staff and organizers — some of whom are your fellow Valencia peers — and what SEIU has actually accomplished at other Florida colleges.

We also recommend reviewing the tactics SEIU has already deployed on our campus (which we expect could escalate when the election gets underway). Decide for yourself if this is the type of organization you trust to represent you at Valencia.

A Side-By-Side Comparison

A decision to accept third-party representation often comes down to a perception that there’s strength in numbers, and that a union can somehow negotiate better wages, hours, and other terms and benefits of employment.

We’ve put that thinking to the test by comparing the terms of employment at Valencia College to those found in ratified collective bargaining agreements at other Florida colleges where part-time faculty and instructors are represented by SEIU. 

The results speak for themselves: SEIU was unable to deliver on its promises. 
Collaboration does lead to better outcomes, and we have a strong track record of listening to and working directly with part-time faculty and instructors, to understand and improve their experience.

 

How did it work out for others?

Comparison Chart

Labor union contracts establish members’ wages, hours, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. And often the decision to unionize comes down to the perception that employees with representation ultimately fare better in these specific areas.

Let’s put that thinking to the test by comparing the terms of employment at Valencia College to those found in ratified collective bargaining agreements at other Florida colleges where part-time faculty and instructors are represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The source for all Hillsborough Community College Adjuncts (Part Time Faculty) column information is the “ Agreement Between the HILLSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES and the SEIU-FLORIDA PUBLIC SERVICES UNION” for the period January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 (the “HCC Collective Bargaining Agreement”). The source for all St. Petersburg College Adjuncts column information is the current draft but not yet ratified “ Agreement Between The Board of Trustees of St. Petersburg College And The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Florida Public Services Union, Change to Win” January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2023. 

  Valencia College Hillsborough Community College St. Petersburg College
Rate of Pay

Part-Time Faculty

  • $712* per contact hour for master’s without associate faculty status
  • $758* per contact hour for master’s with associate faculty status
  • $30 per clock hour without associate faculty status
  • $31.95 per clock hour with associate faculty status 

Part-Time Continuing Education Instructors

  • Pay varies by program, with compensation of up to $100/hour

*Per the 2020-2021 salary schedule

  • $710 per lecture credit hour for those who’ve taught satisfactorily for one to eight semesters
  • $730 per lecture credit hour for those who’ve taught satisfactorily for more than eight semesters 
The collective bargaining agreement does not address or include any provisions related to wages or rates of pay 
Policy for Missed Class

One half-hour of paid time off for each academic credit contact hour taught, at the start of each scheduled, contracted term, to be used in the event of unforeseen circumstance, illness, or emergency

NOTE: Valencia was the first Florida college to offer paid time off for part-time faculty members teaching academic credit programs

If paid time off is not available or applicable, the number of sessions missed is deducted from pay on a prorated basis 

For clock hour-based programs, adjustments to scheduled hours within the week may be available with supervisor approval

If part-time instructors miss class, the number of sessions missed is deducted from pay on a prorated basis The collective bargaining agreement makes no adjustments to existing policy nor does it make any provision for compensation/paid time off in the event a class must be missed
Professional Development

Access, at no charge, to a suite of award-winning professional development programs and career certifications, such as: 

  • Instructional design to assist in the creation of course content and materials
  • Seminars, workshops, and classroom training to sharpen skills and introduce new learning models
  • Thousands of searchable online courses, books, journals, and electronic resources to help answer questions and provide perspective on specific issues
  • Opportunity for part-time faculty to participate — with compensation — in Destination, a faculty development program
  • An Associate Faculty Certification Program — designed for part-time faculty — that, when complete, increases faculty pay for classes taught in the full year following certification

Many of the programs are available without prior approval and can be accessed through the Centers for Teaching/Learning Innovation located on each campus, with online and mixed-mode options also available

Access to in-house professional development with prior approval The collective bargaining agreement does not address or provide for professional development opportunities
Retirement and Investment Programs  Access to retirement planning resources, including pre- and post-tax retirement savings options that offer immediate vesting and can be rolled into other investment options, as well as one-on-one financial advising Tax-sheltered annuities by payroll deduction, if investment program company is approved by Board  The collective bargaining agreement does not address or provide for retirement and investment programs
Bus Pass Unlimited free access to ride the LYNX system anywhere in their service area, not just to and from Valencia Not provided in collective bargaining agreement  Not provided in collective bargaining agreement 
Space to meet with students on campus Space for on-campus work and private meetings with students provided on every Valencia campus Not provided in collective bargaining agreement  College provides accommodations for faculty to meet privately with students
Arts Performances  Discounted and/or free tickets to Valencia plays, dance presentations and theater performances Not provided in collective bargaining agreement Not provided in collective bargaining agreement
Cost for Representation  No cost for shared governance  Part-time employees who elect to join the union pay 1.56% of their wages  Part-time employees who elect to join the union will pay a percentage of their wages
Dental Hygiene Clinic Reduced cost for Valencia’s fully accredited dental hygiene program  Not provided in collective bargaining agreement  Not provided in collective bargaining agreement
Expectations of Future Employment None None None
Dismissal

May be dismissed during a term 

If dismissed and not paid through the end of term, eligible for grievance 

Supervision and suggestions for performance improvement are handled at the department level

May be dismissed during a term

If dismissed and not paid through the end of term, eligible for grievance

Not provided in collective bargaining agreement
Course Cancellation

Courses may be canceled 

Part-time faculty receive prorated compensation equal to time spent in the classroom

Courses may be canceled

One-time payment of $150 for cancelled course under specific circumstances

Courses may be canceled

One-time payment of $150 for canceled section under specific circumstances and if no alternative course is assigned. Also eligible for proportional payment for classes taught prior to cancellation

Academic Freedom Yes Yes Yes
Textbook Selection  Participation in collaborative, documented campus-specific selection process but no voting privilege  Opportunity to provide input but no voting privilege  Not provided for in the collective bargaining agreement. 
Management Decisions  College has authority College has authority College has authority
Strike  Not lawful per Florida’s Constitution Not lawful per Florida’s Constitution Not lawful per Florida’s Constitution

Questions to Ask SEIU 

At some point, you will be asked to decide if you want SEIU — a $300-million, union-organizing business based in Washington, D.C. — to become your exclusive representative at Valencia College. If you choose yes*, you will yield your individual voice to a collective bargaining group that will have considerable impact and influence on the terms of your employment with us, most notably your wages, hours, benefits, and many other facets of your working experience.

As you weigh your choices, we’ve put together a starter-list of questions you might ask those who seek to represent you. Something to keep in mind: while a few of your Valencia peers are actively working to organize a union on campus, the vast majority are paid union organizers completely unaffiliated with the College.

Questions to Ask Union Organizers

As you weigh your choices, there are some questions we encourage you to ask those who seek to represent you, including paid representatives from SEIU and some of your Valencia peers:

Q. How do union representatives find a balance between the interests of their members and the mission of the College?

Q. What are the top five issues you think a union can positively affect and how will you go about securing those improvements? 

Q. Can you guarantee any positive changes to compensation or additional benefits? Can you guarantee we won’t lose any we have now? 

Q. What advantages has SEIU brought part-time faculty and instructors at other Florida colleges? 

Q. Why do you think a third-party business out of Washington, D.C. could make better headway on issues than we can ourselves?

Q. What do you personally know about SEIU? How much experience does it have representing the special and unique needs of college faculty and instructors?

Q. How does SEIU typically approach negotiations with employers? Are you sure SEIU representatives will maintain respect and professionalism?

Q. How long, on average, has the collective-bargaining process between SEIU and other Florida Colleges taken? 

Q. What happens to my current wages, benefits, and working conditions during the collective-bargaining process?

Q. What are SEIU’s values? Are you at all uncomfortable with how they’ve conducted themselves at Valencia, or on other campuses?

Q. What would you say are the disadvantages of being represented by a union?

Q. Do you think it’s fair for an out-of-state company we don’t know to be contacting us at home, and by phone and text?

Q. How much are union dues? What would cause dues to increase? Are there any other fees associated with being a union member, such as initiation fees or fines?

Q. How would SEIU represent me if I am a non-dues paying member?

Q. What percentage of union dues stay local, and what gets sent to Washington, D.C. for corporate overhead?

Q. Are you being paid or otherwise compensated by SEIU to help organize a union here?

Q. Will you be part of the bargaining team? How will those individuals be selected?

*Remember: if we get to an election, skipping the vote altogether is not the same as voting “no.” SEIU only needs 51% of ballots cast to win the right to represent you. Get a voter refresher here.

 

Concerns About SEIU on our Campus

Let us be blunt. 

One of the chief complaints we’ve heard against SEIU from our peer colleges in Florida — and from many of you — is that its aggressive approach often crosses the line. 

From factual misrepresentations to pressure and intimidation, this behavior is a far cry from who we are as an organization and how we conduct ourselves in the pursuit of our mission. 

Below, we’ve documented some of the more egregious examples so that you have the facts at your disposal. 

Since 2018, a small group of individuals—including SEIU members from other colleges (even other industries), paid union organizers and just a handful of current part-time faculty and instructors—have: 

  • Arrived unannounced and uninvited at faculty members’ homes to solicit support for SEIU.
  • Interrupted employees’ classrooms, laboratories, and offices to engage in conversation about union efforts, which is prohibited by Florida’s organizing rules.
  • Placed calls, and sent text messages and emails, to faculty that gave the false impression they were working on behalf of the College.
  • Invited employees—many of whom would not be eligible to join a union should one be created—to social events and forums that appeared to be sanctioned by the College.
  • Organized car caravans to administrators’ homes and used car horns and bullhorns to intimidate and harass.
  • Sent hundreds of pre-written email messages to administrators and trustees, the majority of which were signed by people who do not work for the College.

 

 

 

 

From factual misrepresentations to pressure and intimidation, this behavior is a far cry from who we are.