Happy New Year to everyone! Welcome to 2014!

2013 turned out to be an exceptionally good year for the Part-Time Faculty Association. I am writing this in the hope that 2014 will be even better.

Just for starters, last year we increased our membership by more than 40%. We moved to a new office, won two communication awards at the annual California Federation of Teachers state convention, held on Open House in our new office as well as one of our twice yearly membership meetings.

Early in the year the PFA leadership began to seriously consider the plausibility of changing offices. A committee was formed for that purpose, and it began investigating what other suitable spaces might be available. We soon settled on 426 E. Barcellus, Suite 103, which offered more than double the space of our previous location and at a lesser cost—an unbeatable combination. While moving was strenuous, as it always it, it was well worth the effort. Moving day was June 1, and by mid-June we were fully functional.

In March the annual CFT convention was held, this time in Sacramento. While this three day event is always stimulating, a kind of union-revival meeting, the fact that we won two awards in the annual communications contest made it especially memorable. Incidentally, the 2014 Convention will take place Mar. 21—23, in Manhattan Beach, and we intend to send at least four, perhaps five, delegates.

In April we had an exceptionally pleasant Spring Membership Meeting, this time at the Olive Garden restaurant near campus.
In July we settled our yearly contract reopeners. This was a major accomplishment for us and was the result of hard, conscientious work on both our part and on the part of the district’s bargaining team as well. We were very pleased with the outcome and believe that the changes reflect improvements for our members: A 10.4% salary increase for credit-lecture, a 20% increase in pay for office hours, 5 new columns on the non-credit salary schedule, and placement of the state parity funds on the salary schedule. This was the result of 10 years of effort on our part, so we are justifiably happy that this was done.

In August Richard Baker was elected as our new secretary-treasurer, taking the place of our friend Gary Aston, who sadly passed away on Feb. 5. In September we held an Open House at our new office, and in November we held our fall membership meeting there.

What Lies Ahead for 2014?

While looking back on a successful year is always nice, what does the future hold? What lies ahead for the PFA and its members?

A major event will be this year’s contract negotiations. This time the entire collective bargaining agreement is on the table, all 22 articles, and while some will hopefully be settled easily, others may prove more challenging. We are confident that we will continue to work with the district’s bargaining team and emerge with a contract that is even better than before. It makes us very proud to know that our collective bargaining agreement is now seen as a model for other part-time stand-alone units like ours. This year our bargaining team will consist of Mike Terman, our CFT Representative, Mark James Miller, Susan Case, and two newcomers, Richard Baker and Danielle Blanchard.

We are looking forward to 2014 with confidence tempered by caution. While it appears we have weathered the worst of the Great Recession, there are still uncertainties, and we have yet to restore all of the sections that have been cut, and many of our members have not yet returned to work or are still not teaching the same number of classes they once had. But we are moving in the right direction. If 2013 was a better year than expected, we are confident that 2014 will be better yet. As always, our battle cry will be, “Equal Pay For Equal Work.”

Mark James Miller, President, Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College, CFT Local 6185, Santa Maria, CA