Columbia College Chicago Faculty Union

Faculty, students, and parents can get up-to-date CFAC information here.

They are striking for higher pay, increased teacher diversity, smaller class sizes. Their lawyer is also CFAC's lawyer.


Guests on Friday’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky brothers are Diana Vallera, part-time faculty union president, and Columbia part-time faculty Prexy Nesbitt and Andrea Dymond. Friday. 11am. WLPN-FM Chicago. 105.5fm. Live streaming at and podcast available later in the day on whatever podcast platform you go to. For more info visit


Dear Member, 

Below is the link to our Union Comprehensive Proposal and the Administration Comprehensive Proposals set side by side for comparison.  Please carefully review.  

The College wants to make each of you expendable. Its contract proposal would get rid of your seniority, would erode your right to continue teaching at Columbia, and is designed to make you a replaceable commodity. That's not right.  

The administration has made it clear they want non-unionized faculty. They want to eliminate this Union.  

The College Proposal would render us as AT WILL Employees. We would have no union protections.  In fact their proposal waives union protections. No union would allow this.   

After they remove most our gains from our last contract they continue to say if they left anything out of this contract, the Union waives any rights to negotiate anything that the College left out and cannot file grievances over these matters.   Their proposal allows admin. to secure all management rights to hire and fire with no cause.  In other words there is no job security. College can do just about anything such as hiring replacement adjuncts, increase class size no extra pay, change credit hours, change qualifications (mandatory subjects of bargaining) – remove ability to grieve, change any policy and make it contractual without bargaining and replace us at anytime.  Their contract eliminates the Union.  If we have no job security and no union rights then their “offer” to increase pay is trickery. 

The CFAC contract includes the following:

·      CFAC retains all rights to Grieve and Bargain over mandatory subjects of bargaining and any changes the College shall attempt to unilaterally change the Union does not waive its collective bargaining protections. 

·     We ensure the Commitment to “One Faculty” Pt faculty seniority linked to years of successful teaching and years of experience.   Changes to wages, hours, working conditions must be bargained – these are basic protections for any union that we will not waive. Job Securitywith fair systems of evaluations

·      Pt-faculty deserve to earn a living wage and have a Dignified work environment, and health insurance.  

·      Systems in place to protect changes in working conditions/change in pay 

·      Cannot be fired without cause 

As you review the entire comparison in the link below it will become clear that we must prepare for our strike to save this union and the quality of education at Columbia.


In solidarity,


Diana Vallera

Prexy Nesbitt

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Andrea J. Dymond

Luis Contreras

Andy Wilson


Scroll to the bottom for Actions You Can Take.

Or Take Action Now!


Fill out your commitment cards!

Part-Time HERE! Full-time HERE! Teaching Track HERE!

SIgn the petition to Save Columbia!

This is our exemplary 2013-2017 contract.

Many questions that members have can be answered in the union constitution and by-laws.

Resolution by the steering committee to create a Membership Integrity Committee:

October 25, 2018 

CFAC Steering Committee Meeting 

We hereby adopt the following: 


The Union Steering Committee, pursuant to Article 4.D of the Union Constitution, hereby establishes a Membership Integrity Committee, which shall be authorized to receive and hear charges filed by any member against any other member whose conduct is alleged to cause harm to the objects and aims of the Union, including its bargaining and organizational objectives, or harm to any member of the Union. 

The Membership Integrity Committee shall conduct its proceedings in accordance with the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, and otherwise as follows: 

1. Written specific charges may be filed with the Membership Integrity Committee or the Union President in writing by any member against another member. 

2. A copy of the charges shall be served on the accused member, and a hearing scheduled for the charges no less than 10 days after notice to the accused. The notice shall include a copy of the charges and the date, time and location of the hearing. 

3. The Membership Integrity Committee shall constitute the trial body, except that no member shall serve on the trial body who files charges, is accused, or is a necessary witness for the hearing. Any member of the Committee that cannot serve on the trial body shall be replaced by another member selected by the Union President. 

4. At hearing, the accuser(s) and the accused shall be allowed to appear and present relevant evidence and witnesses in support of or against the charges. 

5. The Committee shall hear the evidence and by majority vote determine whether the accuser is guilty of the charges and, if so, what punishment if any it recommends. Punishment may include fines, suspension or expulsion from membership. Its findings and recommendation shall be submitted in writing to the Steering Committee for review. 

6. The Steering Committee shall review the Membership Integrity Committee findings and recommendation, and it shall affirm the recommendation, amend it, or return it to the Membership Integrity Committee for further consideration. 

7. The Steering Committee’s decision shall be final. 

8. Any member found guilty and directed to pay a fine but who refused to pay such fine within fifteen (15) days or such other period determined by the Steering Committee shall be liable for all costs and fees, including attorney fees, incurred to enforce the ruling. 

Show Up! Stand Up! Fight for Your Rights!

The college is currently engaging in tactics to divide the union and its allies

by dispensing misinformation.

If you have any questions or concerns or if a third party has contacted you about the union,

send an e-mail to


Scroll to the bottom for Actions You Can Take.

Or Take Action Now!


Fill out your commitment cards!

Part-Time HERE! Full-time HERE! Teaching Track HERE!

SIgn the petition to Save Columbia!


Dear Members,

In response to the recent email sent by Dr. Kim, our CFAC attorney, Robert Bloch, has this to say:

“As is its custom, the College touts its economic proposal in the hope that faculty won't read the fine print that is omitted from its announcement: That part-time faculty jobs are disappearing rapidly; that choice course assignments will be taken away; and that staff diversity is a lost cause.

CFAC is fighting hard to save Columbia College from its own self-destructive impulses. The College intentionally seeks to pit part-time faculty against lecturers, grad student instructors and tenured faculty in order to weaken resistance to its misguided plan to shrink the staff and to dumb down the curriculum - supposedly to make Columbia more attractive to new students. 

CFAC is fighting for all Columbia faculty to SAVE OUR COLUMBIA: Recognizing and embracing the experience and diversity of its faculty, fair and appropriate course assignments; and uniting its faculty rather than dividing it.”



In an effort to camouflage the underhanded objectives of the strategic plan to turn Columbia into a for-profit, online school, the administration is using bullying tactics with CFAC and trying to hide behind a false diversity initiative. The Kim administration is trying to break our union on every level, from replacing members with non-unionized faculty and removing department decision making, to creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, emboldened by the current political landscape.

It’s time to rise up. We need to go into action now. Come to the 30-minute press conference on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17 at NOON. 

Bring your students, bring your friends, bring alum, bring other teachers. Wear red!

In solidarity,

Diana Vallera, CFAC President

Andrea, Dymond, CFAC Vice-President

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates, Publicity Chair

Luis Contreras, Membership Chair

Prexy Nesbitt, Director of Diversity and Anti-Racism, bargaining member

Andy Wilson, CFAC Treasurer

What we stand for

The Columbia Faculty Association, CFAC, is the union representing the interests of faculty at Columbia College Chicago. Part-time faculty teach the majority of classes at Columbia and are deeply committed to the quality of students’ education. They bring professional expertise into the classroom; many are high achievers in media arts, fine arts, arts management, and other fields. Columbia was founded as a college where part-time faculty would be honored for their dedication to their students and their professions.

CFAC works for the following on behalf of its membership:

  • Due Process

  • Shared Governance

  • A Dignified Work Environment

  • A fair and transparent system of evaluation and assignment

  • Job Security

  • Protecting the integrity of the bargaining unit

As the collective bargaining agent for Columbia faculty, it negotiates contracts with the College administration. It also works constantly to ensure that the contract is correctly and fairly implemented and to help part-time faculty in numerous informal ways in cases when issues and needs arise. CFAC seeks to keep part-time faculty informed of their rights and opportunities and to make sure the administration, full-time faculty, staff and students are kept aware of the valuable contributions our members make to the College.

Why we might strike…

• We have all been struggling under this administration. We all believe in and know how to provide high quality education, and deserve to be respected and fairly compensated for our contributions and expertise. When they made changes, our response to their changes were reasonable and measured.

• We do not want to strike. We have bargained in good faith. We have worked with the administration to try to address concerns on both sides. Here are examples of what we did in our attempts to work with the college:

1. When they created dubious HLC qualifications, trying to label experienced faculty members as unqualified, we asked for guidance and mentorship for faculty who need to upgrade skills, instead of eliminating them.

2. When their department chairs did not follow the class assignment process, we volunteered to hold individual sessions to demonstrate the correct process.

3. When they started to merge departments and curriculum changed without notice or input from our members, we requested an accounting of the changes and voiced our right to have input into the courses we teach. But their response has been to ignore, stall, and devalue us and our students.

• Our requests and grievances were ignored. The administration continued to eliminate members, change curriculum and eliminate resources, which lowered the overall quality of education at Columbia. So we held a two day strike last fall. Under the threat of negative publicity, the administration backed down and promised to bargain in good faith. They did not keep that promise.

• When we organize and demonstrate our unity and power, the administration responds! Now we need to unite and take a bigger step, with a more powerful impact to get the response we need.

• The administration has used stalling methods and shown that they are not interested in securing a fair contract. They are interested in paying the least amount to anyone who will accept it for a dumbed down curriculum.

o Examples of the dumbed down curriculum include:

  • standardized syllabi

- courses that have eliminated one-on-one learning for standardized testing

- grading policies that offer inflated grading for the least amount of work.

• Departments have eliminated resources

o Examples of eliminating resources

  • The photography department is advertised as having large studios. In reality, it is only a quarter of a studio, with barely enough room for students to complete assignments.

  • The fashion department boasts an impressive historic garment collection but the collection is being plundered. The fashion historian who helped develop the collection was eliminated. Students are left to figure out what pieces to research with little or no historic context.

• They have manipulated HLC requirements

  • Increased class sizes increasing the student-to-teacher ratio

o They created changes in qualifications to get rid of qualified and fairly paid faculty. We are now half of the membership that we had a few years ago. If we do not strike now, we will not have a union.

• The college has systematically eliminated union members, ripped apart departments and curriculum and increased class sizes while simultaneously raising tuition. These actions have affected our jobs, quality of education, and ability to be effective teachers.

• The administration has wiped out the mission of an inclusive and hands on learning environment and switched it in favor of a trade school format with large class sizes and formulaic curriculum that delivers valueless degrees with the least amount of learning.

• They are trying to destroy our seniority rights. The new on-line program bars CFAC members from teaching unless we wave our seniority rights and accept less than the current lowest rate for union members. Which means we would be paid under $2,500 for the equivalent of a three credit hour course.


We seek a flourishing, high quality, inclusive, working and learning environment for all faculty and students at Columbia College Chicago. As a community of faculty, students, alumni, and allies, we are working together to:

• Provide the highest possible quality education to students!

o Retain the best and brightest faculty, with experience in their teaching fields.

o Maintain faculty diversity across areas of study--age, experience, race/ethnicity, ability, sex/gender identity.

o Ensure the existence and abundance of programs, courses, and resources students need to graduate and succeed in their desired field.

• Protect the collective rights of faculty!

o End the administration’s plan to eliminate the CFAC union.

o Secure a fair contract for CFAC members.

o Halt arbitrary changes to qualifications to terminate the most experienced faculty.

• Live the mission, identity and values of Columbia, as founded!

o Affirm our founding as an inclusive campus that values students and faculty across a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic backgrounds.

o Provide the resources and tools needed to ensure Columbia students can become the cultural authors and creators of the future.

o Uphold our reputation as a college that contributes to the growth and development of the entire city of Chicago with all its diverse peoples.

CFAC believes in re-establishing Columbia College Chicago as a leader in student-centered,

professionally-connected, liberal arts, creative learning.

Build the Columbia College we deserve!


• The fall strike action will be a full blown, permanent open-ended strike that involves all part-time faculty. People who accept new part-time teaching jobs at Columbia or continue to teach already assigned courses are scabs. This means they are working against the union and all its members.

• It will take all of us to win! We must stand united and not cross the picket line for any reason, at any time.

• We need all hands on the pump to win! We have to cover 13 buildings, reach out to students and alums, garner community support, reach out to other academics, work on traditional and social media. We need everyone to be All In!

• There are very serious consequences for this behavior.

• At this point, we have to be all in. It’s either all of us together, now, to win; or we fall apart and we all lose.

The latest info

John P. from Chicago, IL

"The teachers are the only good thing in Columbia. They were passionate, experienced, and were able to offer real world knowledge to their classes. I stand with the teachers."

Our petition has been very active.

Check out more comments of support from signers.

Prexy Nesbitt fires up the crowd at the #OurColumbia press conference calling for the resignation of Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim.

Prexy Nesbitt fires up the crowd at the #OurColumbia press conference calling for the resignation of Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim.

Sign the petition to Save Columbia!


Contact Columbia’s “CEO”

➤ Dr. Kim’s Email

☎ phone number

(312) 369-7200




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Actions You Can Take. Are you a…


You can schedule an appointment to talk to CEO Kim in person and let him know the issues you have with Columbia and that you support the CFAC.

You can record a short video about your experience at Columbia and have it posted to #OurColumbia on YouTube.

You can show your support for CFAC by filling out a student commitment card!

You can e-mail letters of CFAC support to President/CEO Kim and the head of our board of trustees by clicking here.


Part-time faculty/union members can fill out a commitment card here.

Full-time faculty can show support by filling out a commitment card here. All information remains confidential and will not be shared.

Teaching Track faculty can show your support by filling out a commitment card here. All information remains confidential and will not be shared.


Fill out a commitment card here. All information remains confidential and will not be shared.


Do you wish to show your support to ensure your offspring get the best possible education they can from Columbia College? Fill out this commitment card.

You can e-mail letters of CFAC support to President/CEO Kim and the head of our board of trustees by clicking here.