This is our story
A Brief Look Back
SEIU began its campaign at Valencia in 2018 when it first attempted to represent our part-time faculty and instructors. At the time, SEIU declared it had received enough interest to call for an election. However, the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC), which oversees efforts to organize public employees, determined that nearly 100 of the interest cards submitted by SEIU were invalid, as they were signed by people who didn’t work for the College or were not part of the proposed bargaining unit.
In 2019, SEIU filed a second petition with PERC, again claiming it had sufficient interest from our part-time faculty and instructors. Late last year, PERC preliminarily agreed, but there were several unresolved procedural matters to work through. On March 30, 2021, PERC issued an order finalizing who will be eligible to vote in an election and directing that an election be scheduled, however we do not yet have information about the specific election timeline. We received information that the bargaining unit will include part-time faculty and part-time instructors and those in the bargaining unit who taught courses as of March 30, 2021, that is the spring 2021 semester, will be eligible to vote. As always, we have, and continue to, follow the PERC procedures, and avail ourselves of all the resources that guide this process.
Where We Stand
We don’t think union representation is in our part-time faculty and part-time instructors’ best interest, and we believe that, once you’ve had the chance to explore the facts and consider your options, you won’t either.
The interests of a third-party organization like SEIU are not aligned with our mission, values, and our overarching commitment to our students’ success. In fact, should the effort to unionize succeed, it will fundamentally change our working relationship with you:
- We would no longer have the ability to discuss some of the most important components of your job directly with you;
- We would no longer have the flexibility to implement, without going back to the bargaining table, new ways to improve your wages, benefits, and other conditions of your employment; and
- We would no longer be able to engage in the same level of direct conversation about your needs, concerns, and ideas.
The bottom line: we have a collaborative, respectful and immensely valuable relationship with our part-time colleagues … and we are determined to continue to grow and succeed with you, together.
The Whole Story
As we collectively navigate this process, we ask you to carefully and critically evaluate what you hear from SEIU. The union and its paid organizers have repeatedly spread misinformation about the College, and we expect that to accelerate when an election draws near.
For instance, one of SEIU’s “talking points” is that the College has intentionally delayed an election to gain an advantage. The truth, however, is that we’ve followed the state-defined process to the letter, ensuring all decisions affecting a potential election and subsequently our employees are fair and equitable to all involved.
SEIU is also decrying Valencia’s legal fees related to the union’s efforts to organize our employees. What they don’t share is that unionization efforts are highly regulated and require expert legal representation on both sides. For example, SEIU spends millions of dollars on federal lobbyists and lawyers — money that comes from janitors, home-care workers, security officers, and airport employees who make up the vast majority of its members. (Source: SEIU 2018 Federal IRS Form 990)
Unsolicited Outreach From SEIU
Many of you have shared that you’ve received unsolicited calls, texts, and emails from SEIU — including callers misrepresenting themselves as College staff seeking information on the health, well-being, and needs of our part-time faculty and instructors.
You have also shared that you have received unsolicited mailers from SEIU; specifically, mailers in which SEIU alludes to having earned a $500 stipend for our part-time faculty in 2020. This is misleading and inaccurate information. SEIU, while actively working to solicit your interest in third-party representation, does not currently represent any employees at the College and thus has no engagement or influence on the College’s operations. The stipend referenced by SEIU in these mailers refers to a $500 stipend the College provided to part-time faculty who completed the digital professor certification in summer 2020. This stipend was provided at a time when the College had to quickly transition to a fully online learning environment and wanted to ensure all of our faculty (full and part-time) had the necessary support to do so. Neither SEIU, nor any other third-party organization, in any way influenced Valencia’s decision to support our employees in this way.
Understand that throughout this process, union representatives have made regular and frequent public records requests for contact information, made available under Florida’s Public Records Laws, which make employee contact information subject to disclosure unless you qualify for one of several narrow exemptions.
Union representatives have also turned up in some of your classrooms and offices encouraging you to vote, even though PERC has strict rules about approaching you during work hours. We’re especially disappointed that SEIU is making uninvited visits to your homes and that some of these encounters have been reported as intimidating.
Keep this in mind: you are under no obligation to speak to or engage with union organizers, period.
Ask Us Anything, Any Time
From the beginning, we’ve made a commitment to keeping you up to date and in the know.
On this website, we’ve done our best to share as much information as we have and answer questions we think you might have (especially since many of us are part-time faculty and instructors, too).
Should you have additional questions about union organizing, collective bargaining, labor relations, additional resources, or anything else, here are a few ways to ask:
- Reach out to your dean or supervisor
- Email Amy Bosley, vice president, organizational development and human resources
- Submit an anonymous question
A Final Note
Know that we’re excited about what’s in store for our College community. While we respect your right to consider representation, we know what we have been – and what we will be – able to achieve by continuing to work directly together. Let’s align ourselves and continue working together to make Valencia the very best it can be for all of us, especially for our students, their learning environment and ultimately, their success.