Preparing For 2023

Our 2019 contract negotiation lasted for nearly a year and was a serious strain on Federation resources. After a decade of cost of living adjustments (COLAs) that failed to keep up with the cost of living in our region, administration’s opening offer for wage increases was 1%. And for months, they refused to budge.

Your negotiation team–and hundreds of members who showed up at negotiation sessions and pickets–fought and kept fighting for fair compensation. As negotiations dragged on, members began to wonder, were we headed for a strike? Did we have sufficient resources? The truth is that we didn’t then, nor do we now. 

We expect contract negotiations to be even more challenging in future years, and that’s why Federation leaders are taking steps to prepare now.

Clark College faculty strike in early 2020.

The success of recent strikes by K-12 educators in other states such as Oklahoma, Colorado, California, and Washington may seem surprising and even spontaneous, but they are actually the result of years of careful planning, of unions that saw what was coming and prepared accordingly. 

We cannot return to the days of 1% COLAs. But the strength and power of PCCFFAP—or any labor union—is measured in member involvement and solidarity. The most important tool we have at the bargaining table is the credible threat to strike. This dues restructure will give PCCFFAP the resources we need to build power and show up in 2023 knowing that if administration refuses to bargain a fair contract, our organization has the resources and community support it needs to take job actions up to—and including—going on strike. 

Beyond Bargaining

Beyond bargaining, the Federation needs resources to enforce our contract year round. This often takes the form of formal grievances and arbitration. The last 3 years have seen a sharp uptick in grievances, and the Federation has been successful in winning most of them!

Notably, we were able to help a member obtain back-pay for bilingual services; we expanded the right of members to have union representation in meetings to address errors made by the college in calculating pay and benefits, and we helped negotiate a successful return to work for a member experiencing retaliation and harassment by their manager. Many more grievances are in the works and at least one arbitration scheduled for the fall.

A More Equitable Dues Structure

The dues restructure is a step toward greater equity. Under our current structure, those who are making the most are paying the least as a percentage of salary. The proposed percentage formula will decrease the relative impact for our lower-earning colleagues.  

PCCFFAP members are the highest paid community college faculty and staff in Oregon because of our union. It pays to invest in our Federation! 

How Your Union Dues Are Put To Good Use

  • Our Union Contract: Your dues help PCCFFAP bargaining team members negotiate the best contracts possible. This includes training, research, communications support, and administrative staff to back them up. 
  • Contract enforcement: PCCFFAP dues help enforce the contract. Our Labor Relations Specialist holds a law degree and works on members’ behalf to enforce the contract, provide support/guidance and resolve member disputes with management. This includes the continuous work of grievances and arbitration. 
  • Building and maintaining solidarity: PCCFFAP organizing initiates and builds support for union efforts to improve pay, benefits, and working conditions. This is especially important in crises such as COVID, when the union can serve as a centralized source of information and support, so that members are not dealing with problems in isolation. 
  • Operational support: There’s a lot of work that gets done behind the scenes to keep our Federation running, including office operations such as accounting, financial compliance, and front-line support for members. 
  • Political Action: Organizing members to lobby and testify on legislation affecting workers, educating members on legislative issues, voter registration. Only a small amount of dues (less than one-half of one percent) goes to local candidates or campaigns. 
  • Membership in AFT: Our affiliations at the state and national level give us a voice in Salem and Washington, D.C. on issues that affect all union members, and we receive crucial support in organizing and bargaining campaigns. AFT also provides professional staff for support in communications, organizing, research, data management, and contract negotiations.