Your Recently Submitted Questions
Q: I am a full-time employee of ULV but I am also an adjunct and I have been excluded from all communication regarding the union, faculty retreat, etc. I would like to vote but am curious why I have not been included in any of the dialogue (both from the University and form the union).
A: Ms. Johnson thank you for your excellent question. Not all ULV employees, indeed, not all adjunct faculty at the University are eligible to be in the bargaining unit.
According to the National Labor Relations Board, those eligible to vote in the election include: All part-time faculty, including department associates, employed by the Employer who teach one or more for-credit class(es), lesson(s), or labs at the Employer’s main campus located at 1950 Third Street, La Verne, California.
The following are excluded from the unit: All other employees, employees assigned to the Employer’s Law School, faculty teaching in locations outside of the main campus, faculty teaching on-line courses (regardless of location), full-time faculty, graduate students, lab assistants, artists in residence, student teaching supervisors, graduate assistants, teaching associates, clinical fellows, teaching fellows, teaching assistants, and research assistants, staff or administrators (in their capacity as such), whether or not they also have teaching responsibilities, deans, registrars, librarians, volunteers, other represented employees, clerical employees, managers, guards and supervisors as defined in the Act.
Submitted by Julianne Johnson on January 30, 2014
Q: I was contacted at home by the union. I do not want to be contacted at home. What are my rights and how did the union get my personal information?
A: We've received a number of inquiries like this in recent days. Please find below the following information about your rights.
If a representative of the SEIU contacts you, approaches you on campus or even at your home, it is your decision whether or not to engage with them. You can choose to have a discussion with them, or you can ask them to leave and even ask them to remove you from their lists.
Always remember: you do not have to share with anyone how you plan to vote. This is a secret ballot election—nobody will know, and nobody has the right to know, how you vote unless you choose to tell them. Also, even if you signed a union authorization card, you can still vote “no” in this election if you feel the SEIU is not right for you or not needed at La Verne now. Please note that while it’s not unlawful for the SEIU to try to talk with you at your home, it is unlawful for them to engage in threats or intimidation. If you feel that something inappropriate has occurred, you may contact the regional office of the NLRB directly to express your concern. You may also contact your HR representative.
National Labor Relations Board
888 South Figueroa Street, 9th floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017-5449
Phone: (213) 894-5200
Fax: (213) 894-2778
You can learn more about your rights at www.lavernelabordialog.org/Know-Your-Rights
The union was able to get your home address through what is known as an "Excelsior List." This list has the names and addresses for all eligible voters in this secret ballot election. While we go to great lengths to protect your private information, we were required to provide this information to the Regional Office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Board Agent then provided it to the SEIU, which then may use the list to campaign for your vote—including visiting you at your home. We understand that you may feel your privacy is being violated should the SEIU contact you at home, but the NLRB requires us to turn over this information—the University has no say in the matter.
Submitted anonymously on January 27, 2014
Q: In one of your responses you cite the work of Dr. Kate Bronfenbrenner in an intentionally misleading way. Do you realize that using a source like this still constitutes academic dishonesty despite providing the source? Her study is about legal and illegal tactics used by employers to avoid unionization and how we need stronger laws to protect workers. You use her work to scare adjuncts. Why do you think it is O.K. to do this?
A: Thank you for sharing your concern about the use of Kate Bronfenbrenner’s work and our use of her conclusions about the negotiations record of first contracts. See: Setting the Record Straight
We understand her premise that because the NLRA does not impose a time limit on the process of bargaining for a first contract, and in fact does not require an employer and a union to reach an agreement in collective bargaining, that certain employers may use this to their advantage.
Our goal is that all adjuncts be informed before they vote on this important decision before them. The question they will be voting on is “Do you wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining?” Hence our belief that adjuncts need to understand what collective bargaining means, what the law says about collective bargaining, and what Dr. Bronfenbrenner found when she did an analysis of first contracts and employer tactics. We have no intention to “scare adjuncts.” Indeed, we encourage adjuncts to review her study and findings in full. We have posted her study, No Holds Barred, on the website.
The University is committed to bargaining in good faith, should SEIU prevail in the election.
Submitted by Hector Delgado on January 24, 2014
Q: I want to offer a word of thanks to the HR staff for offering this contact point as well as for the coffee chat; it is clear that there has been no hesitation of the administration to present opportunities for balanced discussion on this important issue. Regardless of your position, I would strongly encourage my peers to exercise their right to vote. The chart shared in a recent email from our provost, Jonathon Reed, (also presented during the coffee chat session) indicates a very low voter response by those who were voting eligible. I do not wish to have the decision to unionize to be the result of apathy. Please do not ignore the voting packet when it arrives. Contrary to what you may have heard or believe, a failure to vote is not a "no" vote; it only removes your voice from the process. Please let your voice be known.
Mr. Bess, Thank you for visiting LaVerneLaborDialog.org and taking the time to read about the very important decision adjuncts on the main campus will be making soon-whether or not to be represented by SEIU. As you pointed out, it is important for adjuncts to cast an informed vote. That is why we have created this website dedicated to sharing facts about unionization, as well as hosting "Connect over Coffee" sessions to facilitate discussion, and sending numerous communications to eligible voters via email and to their homes.
The decision made by those who vote will impact all of us. It is my sincere hope that the majority of votes that are cast will be No votes. If the majority vote to have a union represent the adjuncts, it is for an indefinite period of time. However if the union does not win this election, they can try again in just 12 months. I'd like to see adjuncts us a chance to improve with you and do great things together by voting “NO."
Submitted by David Bess on January 17, 2014
Q: Why is this called a "dialog" site? The communication is only one way. You seem obviously afraid to let us post un-refereed public comments in the other direction; i.e. from us to you. As an adjunct, I DO NOT APPRECIATE the sledgehammer approach that you have taken. I probably would have passed altogether, because I'm already secure in another position, but thanks to your tactics, I will be certain to vote in favor of the union. I have always loved teaching here, but the politics of this place stink.
A: We appreciate your candor and are sorry you feel this way. “Dialog” reflects our commitment to ensure our part-time faculty who are eligible to vote are fully informed and able to weigh the facts from both sides – the union and the University. We are inviting a dialogue through the many “Connect Over Coffees” we are hosting, and hope you have had the opportunity to attend one and make your views known. Further dialogue with your Dean, Chairs and other adjuncts is also encouraged – and we hope this web site helps facilitate any informed conversation through whatever avenue you choose. We greatly appreciate your contributions to the University of La Verne and ask that you keep an open mind and fully consider all of the facts available to you before you cast your vote. Thank you again.
Submitted anonymously on January 13, 2014
Q: Is it true that the founder of SEIU is Wade Rathke? That Wade was tied to SDS in college and then had direct involvement in ACORN. The history of both groups are radical socialist activists? Does SEIU still have ties to Wade and the Tides Foundation?
Wade Rathke is the founder of SEIU, Local 100, a pubic sector union based in New Orleans. Originally the local was an independent union for Hyatt Hotel employees and became affiliated with SEIU in 1984.
He also founded the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Arkansas in 1970. In 2008 it was reported that Dale Rathke, brother of Wade Rathke, was found to have embezzled almost a million dollars from ACORN and affiliated charitable organizations. On June 2, 2008, Dale Rathke was dismissed, and Wade stepped down that same day as ACORN's chief organizer, but he remained chief organizer for Acorn International L.L.C. Congress voted to end all funding to the organization, and on October 1, 2009, President Obama signed into law legislation known as the Defund ACORN Act that effectively prohibits the federal government from granting taxpayer dollars to “ACORN and any ACORN-related affiliate.”
Judicial Watch, Inc., a self-described conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law has published a report about ACORN. It can be found at: www.judicialwatch.org/files/documents/2011/acornspecialreport08222011.pdf
Submitted by John Dietz on December 27, 2013
Q: Since SEIU supports many Democratic/Socialist and liberal candidates, can I designate to opt out of all dues as applied to such causes? Do we as faculty have the right to opt out these contributions? If so, where is it in the labor contract?
A: The answers to these questions depend on what would be in the collective bargaining agreement. Typically, a collective bargaining agreement requires all employees covered by the agreement to pay the union for representation. Members of the union pay dues, which are set by the Union. Covered employees who wish to opt-out and not be a member of the union, usually have to pay an “agency fee”. The union determines this amount too, but it typically is equal to the full dues amount less the percentage of dues that are NOT attributable to bargaining, administering, and enforcing the contract.
For example, the collective bargaining agreement between George Washington University (GWU) and SEIU, Local 500 requires all faculty who do not voluntarily choose to become members of the union to pay to the union each month, as a condition of employment, an agency fee. (There are a few exceptions, such as for those who hold diplomatic or ambassador status.) The agency fee for SEIU, Local 500 is 81% of the dues rate or $24.30 a month. Those who choose to become members of the union must pay the full dues rate, which is $30.00 per month.
Sometimes, the collective bargaining agreement will also allow for conscientious objectors – those who are members of a bona fide religion, body, or sect that historically has held a conscientious objection to joining or financially supporting an employee organization. Even these individuals, however, must pay a sum, equal to the agency fee, to a non-religious, non-labor, charitable fund or organization.
We do not know what the dues or agency fees would be for the University of La Verne adjuncts and part-time faculty should they become represented by SEIU. That’s a good question to ask the union.
Submitted by John Dietz on December 5, 2013
Q: How many part-time faculty/adjunct professors are employed at the Regional Centers? How many are employed on the main campus? Thank you.
A: Approximately 294 adjunct faculty members teach on main campus and approximately 223 teach on the regional campuses, depending on the school term.
Submitted by John Corso on November 27, 2013