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:
A Dignified Work Environment
A fair and transparent system of evaluation and assignment
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.
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CONSTITUTION OF THE COLUMBIA FACULTY UNION (CFAC) AT COLUMBIA COLLEGE
(approved May 2, 1998; amended January 21, 2015, August 27, 2019)
The Columbia Faculty Union (“CFAC”) (formerly known as the Part-Time Faculty Association At Columbia College) exists to ensure respectful treatment and achieve just compensation for Columbia College faculty, to provide a voice for faculty within the Columbia College community, and thus to promote quality education for students at Columbia College.
Article 1. MEMBERSHIP
Membership is open to all faculty and graduate student instructors at Columbia College, without respect to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or social, political or economic status. Persons who have taught at Columbia College, but who have had classes canceled, are on sabbatical, are actively contesting termination, are pursuing other temporary work, or who ordinarily teach a seasonal class or classes, and who expect to return to teaching at Columbia College, are also eligible on the same basis as current teachers.
Article 2. AFFILIATION WITH AFT
A. Effective upon ratification by its membership, CFAC shall become an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and subject to their constitutions.
Upon affiliation, CFAC shall maintain affiliation with the following organizations:
The American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. Whenever possible, CFAC will send delegates to the AFT’s convention. The delegates will be elected by procedures consistent with the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (“LMRDA”)
The Illinois Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO. Whenever possible, CFAC will send delegates to the IFT’s convention. Delegates will be elected by procedures consistent with the LMRDA.
The Illinois AFL-CIO.
The Chicago Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
Article 3. STEERING COMMITTEE
A. The Steering Committee shall consist of the four elected Officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) and three non-voting Department Representatives elected at the Department Representative Assembly. The Steering Committee shall create committees as needed for the administration of the Union and appoint chairs for the committees. The Steering Committee may conduct executive sessions when appropriate as determined by the President.
B. The Steering Committee shall have the general executive powers of the Union, subject to this Constitution and Bylaws. Vacancies in the Steering Committee shall be filled by majority vote of the remaining Steering Committee members. At the Steering Committee’s option, a special election may be called to fill the vacancy.
Article 4. DUTIES OF THE OFFICERS
A. President. The Union President shall oversee and lead all meetings of the Steering Committee, prepare an agenda for all meetings of the Steering Committee, lead the negotiations committee, represent the union at meetings with the college administration, lead the meetings of the department representatives, and speak to members when requested. The President shall be the spokesperson for the Union and conduct contract negotiations on behalf of the Union. The President shall sign all official documents on behalf of Union, and serve as the liaison to the Columbia Board of Trustees, President or their designees.
B. Vice President. The Union Vice President shall assist the President with duties and be prepared to take over the leadership of the Union in an emergency or in the absence of the President. The Vice President shall oversee grievance processing and perform other duties as assigned by the President.
C. Secretary. The Secretary shall record minutes of Union meetings and assist other officers, and other duties as assigned by the President.
D. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall maintain records of all CFAC income and spending, and of payment of dues by members. The Treasurer shall prepare all mandatory filings, and assist in all audits or other financial reviews that may be required. The Treasurer shall countersign checks along with President.
Article 5. DUTIES OF DEPARTMENT REPRESENTATIVES
A. The Department Representatives shall convene their Assembly during November and March, on a date chosen by the Steering Committee. Subject to the other terms of this Constitution and Bylaws, including Article 3, they shall act as a representative assembly to determine overall policies, adopt bylaws, and initiate amendments of the Constitution and Bylaws.
B. The Assembly of Department Representatives shall choose up to three non-voting members of the Steering Committee from among the members to chair the Publications Committee, the Negotiations Committee and the Membership Committee. If any of these positions are vacant, the Steering Committee shall select individuals to fill the vacancies.
C. Department Representatives shall be elected by the Union membership. Steering Committee members may also serve as Department Representatives. Each Department shall have at least one elected representative but no more than one representative per ten (10) represented employees in each department. The Steering Committee shall determine the number of Department Representatives to be elected in each Department. If no Representative is elected in a Department, or upon the resignation or death of a Department Representative, the Steering Committee, after consulting with the Membership Committee Chair, shall provide for the election or appointment of an Interim Department Representative.
D. Department Representative will assist employees on matters of contract enforcement, initiate grievances, and keep members informed of all CFAC activities. The Department Representatives within each department shall divide the list of represented department employees evenly among themselves.
E. Department Representatives within each department as a group shall meet periodically with the Chairs of their departments to discuss concerns of the faculty, and they shall initiate any grievances from their members arising from any dispute over contractual rights.
F. Emergency meetings of the Assembly of Department Representatives may be called by the Steering Committee to address urgent or divisive issues that cannot be put off until the Assembly’s next meeting.
Article 6. ELECTIONS
A. The terms of all Officers and Department Representatives shall be two years. All Officers and Department Representatives shall be elected by direct secret ballot of the membership in conformance with federal law. Every two years on first day of October the Elections Committee shall submit by U.S., electronic and/or campus mail a solicitation to nominate members for the posts of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Department Representative and notice of election. Any member may nominate himself or herself or any other CFAC member for Officer or Department Representative. A single nomination shall suffice. The Elections Committee shall promptly notify the nominated candidate, who must also accept the nomination. Nominations shall close on October 15.
B. The President shall appoint an Elections Committee to conduct all elections required under this Constitution. No member of the Elections Committee shall be a candidate for any office. The Elections Committee may recommend any rules or procedures, which must be approved by the Steering Committee.
C. The Elections Committee shall confirm that all nominees are eligible and have accepted nomination, then promptly present the Steering Committee with a list of all eligible nominees. If
there is a contested election for any office, two weeks after nominations have closed the Elections Committee shall send ballots to all members with instructions for voting. If there are no nominations, blank ballots shall be sent, with invitation to write in names of candidates. The candidate(s) receiving the most votes for an office shall be declared the winner. The Elections Committee shall count the ballots cast and shall promptly distribute to all members a complete list of those elected.
D. The Elections Committee shall solicit from each nominee a statement of qualifications and reasons for seeking the post. The committee shall distribute this statement with the ballot, provided the statement is offered in a timely manner; and in any case it shall place such nominee statements on the CFAC website.
E. Newly-elected Officers shall take office following the last day of the fall semester. Elected Department Representatives shall undertake their duties immediately.
F. Any member desiring to protest the conduct of nominations or the election may submit a written protest to the Elections Committee, with a copy to the Union President, as soon as possible, but in no event later than ten (10) days following announcement of the elected office to which the protest is directed. The Elections Committee shall decide the election protest, and may in its discretion conduct a hearing or request additional information. The Elections Committee shall submit its recommended finding to the voting members of the Steering Committee, which shall make the final decision on the protest. However, no member of the Steering Committee who is the subject of a protest may participate in its deliberations. If three or more voting Steering Committee members are the subject of a protest, the matter shall be finally decided by the Elections Committee.
Article 7. MEMBERSHIP VOTES
No strike shall be authorized without a vote by secret ballot of the entire affected CFAC membership, and no contract shall be approved without a secret ballot vote of all CFAC members currently in the bargaining unit. A majority vote shall decide the question. The Steering Committee shall authorize such votes, and it shall have the power to set a specific strike date (once the members have authorized a strike), postpone a strike or call strikers back to work.
Article 8. MEMBERSHIP DUES
Membership dues shall be two and one-half percent (2.5%) of salary.
Local Union dues shall be automatically increased when pass-through dues required by the AFT or IFT are increased.
The Union shall collect financial core fees from all non-members to the maximum extent permissible under law.
Article 9. CHARGES AGAINST MEMBERS
A. Charges against members for conduct 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, shall be handled as provided herein.
B. The Steering Committee shall appoint members to a Membership Integrity Committee, which shall be authorized to hear charges filed by any member against any other member. The Membership Integrity Committee shall conduct its proceedings in accordance with the Labor- Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, and otherwise as follows:
Written specific charges may be filed with the Membership Integrity Committee or the Union President in writing by any member against another member.
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.
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.
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.
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. Officers of the Union may be removed from office for serious misconduct. The Committee’s findings and recommendation shall be submitted in writing to the Steering Committee for review.
recommendation, and it shall affirm the recommendation, amend it, or return it to the Membership Integrity Committee for further consideration. No Steering Committee member who is the subject of any charges shall participate in the Steering Committee’s deliberations or vote.
Article 10. BYLAW AND CONSTITUTION AMENDMENTS
A. Bylaws may be amended by a majority of the Assembly of Department Representatives at any meeting following the meeting where notice of the proposed amendment is announced. The Bylaws may not be amended in a manner that conflicts with the Constitution.
B. One of the following procedures must be followed in order to amend the Constitution.
1. In order to amend the Constitution through a vote of the Department Representatives, a majority of Department Representatives must vote in favor of the amendment.
The Steering Committee shall review the Membership Integrity Committee findings and
The vote to initiate the amendment process shall be made on a motion that sets forth the language of the proposed amendment. The vote to initiate the amendment process may be conducted in person at a meeting, remotely via email or other written communication, or in some combination. No matter how the voting is conducted, all votes used to satisfy the majority requirement set forth in the Constitution must be cast within a 30-day period. The vote will be considered complete after the required threshold is achieved, but no longer than thirty days after the motion initiating the vote was made.
2. In order to initiate the amendment process through a petition of the members, a petition must contain the signatures of twenty percent (20%) of the CFAC members eligible to vote in elections at the time the signatures are collected. The petition must set forth the language of the proposed amendment. All of the signatures used to satisfy the 20% requirement set forth in the Constitution must be collected within a 30-day period. The petition must be presented to the Steering Committee within 60 days of the date of the first signature used to satisfy the 20% requirement set forth in the constitution. The membership vote over the proposed amendment shall be by secret ballot and be administered by the Elections Committee.
C. In order to conserve the Union’s resources used to conduct the amendment process, the membership shall not vote on amendments addressing substantially the same issue more than once in any twelve-month period. The Steering Committee shall determine whether a proposed amendment concerns substantially the same issue as one previously considered in the preceding twelve months..
BYLAWS OF THE COLUMBIA FACULTY UNION
(approved May 2, 1998; amended September 1, 2013, February 27, 2015, August 27, 2019)
1. OPEN MEETINGS
Meetings of the Assembly and the Steering Committee shall be open to all CFAC members who are up to date in their dues, but the Assembly and Steering Committee themselves shall determine who, if anyone, may speak. [This provision shall be enforced only in accordance with federal law governing member free speech, with due regard for decorum.]
NEGOTIATIONS. Upon approval of these bylaws, and thereafter in the semester prior to the expiration of a contract, the Steering Committee shall appoint members of the Negotiations Committee, with at least one representative from every department if possible. The Steering Committee shall appoint a Negotiating Team when appropriate.
GRIEVANCE.TheSteeringCommitteeshallappointaGrievanceCommitteetocarry out functions specified in the contract.
3. ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
An annual meeting shall be held soon after or immediately before the beginning of every academic year, and it shall include:
A. new members’ orientation;
an address on the state of the faculty, to be given by one or more of the Steering
Committee members, chosen by them;
questions, answers, and discussion of major issues; and it may vote to instruct the
Assembly of Department Representatives to discuss specific issues at its meeting in
a social event.