A Message from WCCFT President Jim Werner

Jim WernerMuch Ado—and Many Thanks to You

Yes, it’s that time of the academic year again—another semester is rapidly coming to a close (somehow it always seems a surprise), and a multitude of loose ends need to be tied up: grading assignments, administering and assessing final exams, assisting students with their projects at one-to-one conferences in the office or with tutoring at the Academic Support Center, getting students squared away with registration for next semester, working to achieve committee goals or advance important large-scale initiatives like our Middle States self-study or the SUNY General Education assessments.  In higher education, this is always one of the busiest times of the year.

Things have been busy at your faculty union as well: we’re in the process of ratifying the first global revisions to our WCCFT Constitution since 2004 (please watch your snail mail for the ballot form, and return it to us as quickly as possible!); contract negotiations have been ongoing, and we appear to be seeing light at the end of that tunnel, with tentative agreement on many bargaining items; and we are nearing the end of our initiative to update our membership list.  Of course, our regular union work proceeds as well: reimbursement of members’ professional development expenses, protection of your contractual rights and resolutions of grievances, fundraising for our scholarships, outreach to our local elected officials, and communications with you, our members (including this newsletter!).

And of course, as always in higher education, we are simultaneously looking ahead to the work that remains to be accomplished, whether in these last weeks or when we start over again in the Spring.  For faculty, that might mean planning a new course or revamping an existing one—or mapping out a new work schedule—or planning for operational change in the department.  For the union, it means ratification of a new contract (hopefully soon), elections for the WCCFT Executive Committee and delegates to the NYSUT Representative Assembly coming up in the Spring (please consider running!), and making further headway in accomplishing the goals we set at the beginning of our term back in Summer of 2021.

Wait a moment. 

Can we just pause now, in all this busy-ness, to appreciate the hard work, dedication, resourcefulness, energy, and good will behind all these efforts? 

This is a season for giving thanks, and for celebrating the people that make the world a better place.  And nobody deserves that more than YOU.  There’s no profession that can match ours for commitment to achieve goals that improve conditions for everyone.  I want to give you a hug and a hearty handshake (if only virtually) for everything you do.

And yes– to ask one more thing.  A union goal that deserves our special focus next semester and beyond is increasing membership among adjunct faculty.  I’ve asked each member of the Executive Committee to reach out immediately and personally to a few recently hired adjuncts, as the initial phase of a coordinated recruitment campaign that will kick off in earnest come Spring.  It will involve outreach not only to the approximately 200 adjuncts on the credit side who are not currently members, but also those in Workforce Development and Continuing Education and at the WEOC. 

The Executive Committee (aka E-Board) cannot do this alone.  I ask each of YOU, our members, to reach out to ONE adjunct you know in your department.  Find out if they are in the union; if not, let them know all the benefits of union membership (see the list later in this issue of the newsletter!) and urge them to join.  If the answer is yes, do your best to get them signed up right there on the spot!  You can have them use their phone to complete the fast online membership application form (at http://www.sunywccft.org/membership-form/ ).  Or you can print out a hard copy of the form in advance, for return to us in TEC Room 32.  If they’re already in the union, find another adjunct and do the same!

In this season of gratitude and celebration, I want you to know that we are thankful for you and all that you do on behalf of your students and your colleagues here at WCC.  You—and together, we– make this college, and this world, a better place. 

We wish you the very best, with hopes that your holidays will be filled with warmth, love, and good cheer.  See you in the Spring!