Vote For Your Future at Valencia College
As the election process ramps up, SEIU will go out of its way to make sure you vote.
On this, we couldn’t agree more.
For any number of reasons, when we get to an election you may be tempted to stay “neutral” or “sit this one out.” But make no mistake: the state has already determined you are part of the collective bargaining unit and should SEIU win the vote, it will become your exclusive agent and its staff will manage many of the most personal and important aspects of your employment.
One of the most important points to note is that when an election occurs, casting a vote is crucial. After all, in our collaborative environment, we want to hear from each and every one of you.
It is critical for you to know that choosing not to vote is not the same as voting against representation. Counterintuitively, it only takes a simple majority of votes cast in an election — not a majority of eligible members — to create a union.
For example, if the bargaining unit were to include 2,000 eligible voters, if only 200 of the 2,000 part-time faculty and instructors who are eligible to vote return their ballots, it would only take 101 votes to form the union. That means 101 employees would decide the fate of all 2,000. And once that decision is made, it’s very difficult to reverse.
We hope that after carefully considering your options, you choose to remain in control of your future at Valencia.
Five Voting Myths Debunked
“I’m not going to vote because I don’t want to be part of the union.”
Sitting out the vote is not the same as voting against representation. If you are a part-time faculty member or part-time instructor, you are already in the collective bargaining unit and you will be part of the union should employees choose to organize when an election occurs.
For example, if 2,000 employees at Valencia College were eligible to vote, the election’s outcome will be determined with just a simple majority of people who return their ballots. It’s counterintuitive, we know, but if only a fraction of you vote — say 200 — it would only take 101 “yes” votes to form the union. That means 101 employees would decide the fate of all 2,000.
“I’m already committed to the union because I signed an interest/ authorization card.”
Signing an interest card in no way obligates you to vote for unionization. If you originally signed a card, you have the freedom to change your mind after learning more about the process and getting answers to all your questions.
“If a union is voted in, we can always change our minds and vote them out.”
It’s technically possible to “vote out” a union, but it’s a laborious and difficult process that can only be done in a small, 30-day window as a union’s contract is up for renewal. And as contracts are typically for multiple years, that window becomes even smaller, which is why most unions remain in place forever.
“This vote isn’t really about me and won’t affect my day-to-day job experience.”
When an election occurs, should the vote pass and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) becomes your exclusive agent, it will take your place and negotiate your wages, hours, and other working conditions for you. You will no longer have the ability to discuss these and other items with your supervisors or the administration.
You should also consider the bigger picture: “working conditions” typically include everything from textbook selection and travel reimbursement to professional development and retirement programs. As negotiations begin with a clean slate, though the College will of course bargain in good faith, you may end up with less control and fewer options than you currently have.
“Voting for the union is voting for better wages and more job security.”
As frequently as SEIU will say it can secure higher pay for its members, it has absolutely no control over factors that influence those wages, including legislative budget allocations, and student tuition and fees. A union also has no control over how the College delivers educational content to its students — and who we hire to teach those courses.
But don’t just take our word for it. Check out this side-by-side comparison of Valencia’s wages and other employment terms with Hillsborough Community College and St. Petersburg College, where part-time faculty and instructors are now represented by SEIU.
Additionally, if SEIU is voted in, the time it will take SEIU and the College to reach a collective bargaining agreement — covering all employees in the bargaining unit — could be lengthy and could result in a temporary freeze in existing pay, benefits, and conditions of work.
As an example, PERC certified SEIU as the exclusive bargaining agent for Seminole State College’s adjunct faculty on November 1, 2018; a tentative agreement was reached between the parties in February 2021, but as of March 2021 the agreement had not yet been ratified by Seminole State's District Board of Trustees.
Know Before You Vote
In preparing for the election, we’ve learned a few things we thought you might find helpful.
When an election takes place, we anticipate it would occur via mail. The ballot, mailed out by Florida’s Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC), would arrive by U.S. mail, as opposed to email.
- Ballots will be returned by mail as well, in a sealed, pre-addressed double envelope that will be sent directly back to the Florida’s Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC).
- Individual votes would never be shared with Valencia or the union. The decision is private and personal — and will stay that way.