San Francisco Art Institute
Dear CCA organizing committee
We’ve been following your struggle to unionize contingent faculty. We know from our recent experience that such a struggle takes commitment, courage and a sensitive balance between maintaining momentum and making space for the deliberative process of all concerned faculty.
We’re aware that you’ve faced some confusing circumstances, including attempts to control, or even undermine the process by administrators and other faculty members. And though everyone involved may have good intentions, we know that it’s crucial for adjuncts to organize amongst ourselves, outside of the entrenched patterns of power within our schools, in order to gain our own voice in the functioning of our institutions, and to counter the further erosion of our working conditions.
As you probably know, at SFAI we faced severe opposition to our organizing efforts from administrators. It was a testament to the levels of solidarity and communication we had achieved that we were able to overcome this opposition at every turn, consolidating our mutual support and clarifying our reasons for claiming our rights to collective bargaining and legal representation as educational workers.
We believe that the best chance we have is to join together with adjuncts across different Bay Area institutions, as well as with adjuncts across the country, and with precarious workers in other labor sectors, many of whom face near-identical challenges to our own. Our union can help us build the networks we need to finally offer some resistance to the corporatization of the higher education system.
Since our election we’ve found that the SEIU is willing to work with us around our unique demands and to grant us the autonomy we need to form our own structures for accountability and decision-making. As members of SEIU local 1021 we have access to substantial resources of organization and expertise, including the academic-specific expertise of the California Faculty association, an SEIU affiliate. We’re now trying to figure out how to best make use of these resources.
We know that you probably have a lot of questions and doubts about this process, and we want to let you know that we are here in support in case you need it. You are on the right path, and we celebrate your efforts to organize. We are confident you will win and we look forward to joining with you in the struggle.
SFAI Visiting Faculty Association
Joseph Del Pesco