Lately, I have many questions from classified employees addressed about our contract. Even long-time union members are confused about what the contract means- especially if they never “used” that section.
The most obvious form of contract education is informing classified staff about the rights our contract guarantees. Wage raises, health care, professional growth and other benefits negotiated into our contract are important. Passing this information will help learn your rights and also increase the consistency in contract application throughout the college.
One of the most basic rights CSEA member has is the right to union representation in matters relating to discipline, reprimand or dismissal. Be sure to know your rights before trouble starts. If your supervisor schedules or calls you into a meeting, you might have a reason to have your union representative present. CSEA representation is not automatic- you must ask for it. Your supervisor does not have to advise you of your rights. You cannot choose a representative to attend a meeting with you, it is based on availability of job stewards, urgency of a matter.
During a meeting scheduled for another purpose but which turns “disciplinary” during the course, you should request that the meeting be immediately terminated and rescheduled to a time when CSEA representative can be present.
Management must stop the meeting or reschedule until CSEA representative is present; failure to do so constitutes an unfair labor practice and is illegal. If the supervisor denies your request for union representation and insists on continuing the meeting, you have the right to refuse to answer any questions that could be used against you.
Do not walk out on the meeting, contact CSEA representative afterward. Failure to request representation might cause an arbitrator to rule that your rights were not violated, so it is very important that you contact a union official to preserve your rights.
The endorsement process for the College Board of Trustees was taken most seriously by the CSEA membership. Special thanks to the moderator Dr. Troy Davis, who put together a forum for candidates so the college community can meet and ask questions. At a special meeting on March 1st our Chapter by majority votes endorsed Dr. Armineh Hacopian, Ann H. Ransford and Yvette Vartanian Davis.