Maryland Institute College of Art
Part Time Faculty Committee
SEIU Local 500
To members of the part time faculty at California College of Art:
We’ve heard that, along with a number of colleges in California and across the U.S., the part time faculty at California College of Art has decided to vote on union representation. As your ballots are sent out and the debate begins on the campus, we want to express our support. We look forward to seeing California College of Art join the growing campaign to give adjuncts a collective voice in their future.
Our story may not be that different from yours. We started as a small ad hoc group and spent years trying to negotiate with the administration in good faith, with the mission of securing better compensation and working conditions for adjuncts. Ultimately, we learned that without official representation, we were powerless to compel the administration to take our demands seriously.
In response, we decided to organize as SEIU Local 500. After waging a tough, sometimes exhausting campaign, in the face of administration pressure, MICA’s part time faculty committee managed to win a decisive victory. The administration made efforts to dominate the conversation (sending out emails, holding online and on-campus forums, and asking department chairs to convey to individuals that forming a union would be against their interests), but we stayed focused and committed to our message. We worked hard to reach out to MICA adjuncts one by one, listening to their individual concerns and encouraging them to hear the strength of their own voices.
This is how we believe we won our union, and we feel certain that you will as well. We have carried the same message to other colleges -- including, most recently, San Francisco Art Institute, and Laguna College of Art and Design -- and seen them prevail. We are writing to let you know that you are on the right path and remind you not to get discouraged by the negative campaigns -- that they in fact will fuel your movement and push you to where you are going.
Stay strong and keep up the fight!
Renee Van der Stelt
Members of the Maryland Institute College of Art Part-Time Faculty Committee