What was the strike authorization vote?

Our Strike Authorization vote passed with an 88% approval rate!  This is an historical moment. We all know why we’re teachers here: for the students. And we all know with cutbacks, mergers, curriculum changes and new rules that the students are not getting the education that they’re paying for. This is about treating us fairly and giving our students quality rather than the perception of quality.

Does this mean the union will strike?

Yes.  The P-fac Steering Committee set the date(s) and time for a limited strike action.  On Wednesday, November 29th and Thursday, November 30th.between 9:30am-3:30pm.  We will begin marching in front of 600 S Michigan building and walk south on Michigan Ave.  We are asking everyone to arrive by 9:30 a.m. if possible.  You can join in at anytime.

What if I teach during those times?  What should I do you?  What do I tell my students? 

If you teach a morning class, we ask that you announce to your class that your faculty union has voted to strike and that you must honor the picket line.  You will leave at 9:30 a.m. and your students are welcome to join. THEN, join with other P-fac members and students outside your building and march together to join the picket line at 600 S. Michigan.  We will have some members in front of each building in solidarity so that you can walk together to the picket lines. If you teach later in the day you can inform your students ahead of time and provide them information on the coalition. You can inform your class ahead of time of what to expect.  Whether you are teaching or not during those times you can tell your students about The OurColumbia coalition of students and faculty.

What if I do not teach during the strike times?

It is crucial that we support our faculty who are walking out of classes on the day of the strike.  We must be there in numbers and send a clear message to the College that they cannot divide us.  Meet us at the Press Conference scheduled for 11:00 a.m. at 600 S Michigan.  This is our chance to show that we are united in numbers. We must be visible in our solidarity. We have support and speakers. Arise Chicago, Loyola Faculty bargaining team and SAG-AFTRA (the union representing approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals) have committed their support and will be there at the Press Conference.

What does a scab mean?  Why is it important not to cross the picket line?

A scab or a “strikebreaker” is a person not in the union or in the union but willing to cross the picket line.  When you see workers on a picket line – whether they are physicians, janitors or steelworkers – they never cross a picket line.  We need to understand that they are fighting for all our interests.   It is crucial that our own members never cross the picket line.  Whether you were in favor of the strike or not, you must adhere to the democratic process and the collective voice – 88% voted for the strike!   A strike is the strongest action a union can take to stand up to an unjust employer.  We are fighting to hold onto the middle class and to provide basic systems to protect our faculty and ensure educational excellence for our students.  By crossing the picket line you harm your union, your colleagues and your students.  Hold the line – we are strongest together! If you have any questions, please contact us at info@pfac.org.

What if I teach music lessons separate from my unionized job on campus?

During this time we ask you to wear red in solidarity while teaching ay private music lesson and return to the strike when you are done.

Will I lose my pay if I leave class?

We don’t believe that the college will try to dock anyone’s pay as it would only serve to escalate our campaign. Our attorney is taking every measure to best protect all our members.  While there is always some risk, our union has a strike fund and a hardship fund and we are setting up a system so that no one member will lose pay while others do not.  We will ask all our members to commit to making a small donation to cover the faculty who are walking out on Wednesday and Thursday and the union will contribute.  We do not expect this but in case it does we need to take all precautions.

I noticed that we have a no strike clause in our contract, how can we strike? 

The no strike clause in contract is no longer in play.  At the end of August when our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expired and we began bargaining for a new contract P-fac decided not to extend the contract.  Mostly, this is due to the College not honoring our Collective Bargaining Agreement and making unilateral changes throughout the College.  When you do not extend the contract (which many unions do not unless things are going so well you choose to abdicate your strongest leverage if needed) all the articles of contract remain in place except for the no strike out, the lock out, the grievance process (now we must file at the national labor relations board for a contract breech) and the management rights clause.  We positioned P-fac in the best bargaining position possible.

What can I do to help before the strike? Will there be an opportunity to make signs?

On Monday, November 27th and Tuesday, November 28th you can stop by room 1313, 600 S Michigan building anytime after 9 a.m. and help make a sign or banner.  Your students are welcome to join us.  You can make a sign at home and bring it on the day of the rally.  We have poster boards, picket sticks, markers, and banners on hand.  Pick up a P-fac red t-shirt with the slogan we stand for students, not profits.  Wear red in your classroom on Monday and Tuesday.  Drop off signs you made at home and share other creative ideas for the rally.

Talk to your students, alumni and community about the upcoming job action. Let them know we welcome their support and remind them that we are fighting for the quality of a Columbia College education. We are fighting for students and ourselves. Tell them about the OurColumbia group.

Can I bring instruments, music, chants, and poetry?  Can we invite our students to participate?

Revel in the power of solidarity and collective action! Meet fellow union members and supportive students on the picket line. Carry signs. Join in chants. Share stories. Bring instruments to make music.

Where can faculty find additional information? 

Faculty can write to their union at info@pfac.org,

Find us online:

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/pfac.org

On Twitter: www.twitter.com/pfaccolumbia