Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Letter to Non-Tenured Faculty

Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Non-Tenured Faculty Association
January 11, 2012

Dear KVCC Non-Tenured Faculty Member and Colleague:

As you may already be aware, discussions began a few months ago about establishing a union of non-tenured faculty at KVCC.  In sounding out our colleagues—both tenured and non-tenured, we found widespread support across all disciplines, as well as a core group willing to commit to serving on the organizing committee.  At that point, we contacted the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which has been lending its support and resources to us as we strive to gain collective bargaining rights.  We have now reached our prerequisite goals and a union membership drive is about to begin in earnest on Tuesday,  January 17th.

Non-tenured faculty teaches more than 60% of the college courses offered each semester.  As our numbers grow, exceeding those of tenured faculty by two to one, our vital role in the college’s welfare has become increasingly evident.  Although we have a commitment to and a passion for the education of our students, certain issues have recently arisen that have contributed to an atmosphere in which we feel disrespected as well as fearful about our continued employment.  One such piece of evidence is the change in the language of our contracts stating our assignment can be canceled, without due process, as a result of excessive student complaints.

During discussions with our colleagues, other pressing concerns surfaced.  The solution to confronting these challenges is to come together as a single body.  By uniting, we will have one voice with the strength to benefit our students, the college, and our profession.  In short, we must establish a union with the legal power to negotiate as equals with the administration.

We are asking you to sign on as a member of our proposed union organization.  This part of the process is anonymous and discreet.  Once we receive the signatures of two-thirds of the current part-time faculty, we will submit our petition to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) for consideration.  MERC will submit our names to the administration to confirm our employment, and the administration may react in such a way as to inspire more fear.  However, it cannot dismiss our greatest strength—the solidarity behind so many signatures.

We are in the process of talking to each and every non-tenured faculty member.  The decision to sign a union membership card is entirely up to you.  Read it carefully and make sure all your questions are answered before you sign.  No union can promise that all concerns, accumulated over the years, will be remedied, but what we do promise is a professional union that will ethically strive to represent your concerns.

If you would like to be personally involved in building the union or if you have a colleague that has not been contacted by an organizing committee member or would like more information about the association, please email to schedule an appointment with a member of the organizing committee.  If you would like to stay abreast of the newest developments, please visit

Catherine Barnard/Psychology                      
Nancy Beers/History
Ann Marie Boyle /Music  
Kyle Kelly/Communications
Laurie Nic/ Mathematics
Edward O'Dowd/Criminal Justice                                                      
                            Kelly O’Leary/ Foreign Language/English
MM                    Marie Rogers/ Health       
                            Nishani Samaraweera/ Humanities                                                                                                                                  
                            Jean Snow/ Nursing/Psychology


Kalamazoo Valley Community College Non-Tenured Faculty

Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Non-Tenured Faculty

Who are we?
We are a group of part-time KVCC instructors who have a combined total of over 300 years of service to the College.  We have come together out of concern that our professionalism is no longer recognized or trusted, even though part-time faculty comprise 60% or more of the College’s teaching force.  Once our union is established we will join with Western Michigan University, but with our own bargaining unit.

What is AFT Michigan?
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan is a union of 35,000 professional members who are part of the 1.3 million members of the American Federation of Teacher, AFL-CIO.  AFT is helping us organize by providing staff assistance and support and will continue to do so throughout the entire process.

          AFT represents 6,000 non-tenure-track faculty on the campuses of Eastern Michigan University (2000), University of Michigan (2003), Wayne State University (2007), Henry Ford Community College (2008), Michigan State University (2009), and Western Michigan University (2009). 

The mission of the AFT, AFL-CIO, is to improve the lives of our members and their families; to give voice to their legitimate professional, economic and social aspirations; to strengthen the institutions in which we work; to improve the quality of the services we provide; to bring together all members to assist and support one another; and to promote democracy, human rights and freedom in our union, in our nation and throughout the world.  Please visit for more information.

What’s the Non-Tenured Faculty Mission?
·       Establish a voice for part-time faculty
·       Establish an ethical working environment of mutual respect and civility
·       Become pro-active in promoting part-time faculty                 concerns
·       Incorporate part-time faculty into the college-wide mission and decision-making process
·       Seek benefits that tenured faculty and staff enjoy

What will we work for?
·       Equal pay for equal work
·       Greater job security
·       Benefits (healthcare, sick days, retirement, tuition reimbursement for dependents)
·       Clear and consistent policies, including absenteeism, pay schedules, and grievance procedures
·       Top priority for p/t faculty to fill new f/t positions
·       An evaluation process that rewards and recognizes professionals
·       Pay increases for continued service

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at through your personal email address.