CCA: Working for your interests

Every once in a while someone tells me that while he knows the value of the NEA’s federal advocacy and is well aware of the work of the CTA in California, he doesn’t know what the CCA does. Sometimes they don’t even know what ACC is.

CCA is an internal subsidiary of CTA, reporting to CTA staff and working within CTA’s governance structure. However, we have our own council, our own council, our own committees and our own budget. We work statewide in a number of areas, including advocacy, equity and diversity, legislation, member development support, part-time issues, and policy. Although our Bylaws and Standing Rules provide over 60 pages of detail, I would like to summarize the ACC in a few paragraphs.

CTA is a PK-14 organization, and over 96% of CTA members are PK-12. Thus, CCA leaders often have to explain and defend community college faculty within CTA itself. To accomplish this, Vice President Randa Wahbe and I interact regularly with the CTA Board of Trustees, and we work with delegates from CTA’s State Council of Higher Education to promote an understanding of the needs of college teachers at meetings of the Council of State.

In fact, most higher education positions that come to the Council of State come from one of the CCA committees. Legislation that primarily affects California community colleges is forwarded by the CTA to the CCA’s Legislation and Advocacy Committee for review before being considered by the State Board. Similarly, most CTA policies that deal with higher education emanate from CCA’s Policy Committee. The CCA is a proud part of the CTA!

Although we share (with one exception) physical districts run by school boards/boards, community colleges are organized at the state level separately from PK-12 districts. That’s why Vice President Wahbe and I monitor the CCC Board of Directors and interact with leaders of other college-focused organizations statewide. CTA’s seat on the State Chancellor’s Advisory Council has traditionally been held by the CCA Chairman, and I also advocate for faculty there.

Although some of the working conditions we encounter are similar to those at PK-12, the reliance of the community college system on a large number of part-time faculty and the fact that most of our students are adults creates an environment quite different. That’s why CCA has its own Part-Time Faculty Issues Committee (PTFIC), Faculty Equity and Diversity Committee (FEDC), and Membership Development Committee. This is also why CCA offers a specific training component for community colleges during the CTA Presidents’ Conference.

Finally, CCA reaches out specifically to community college faculty and offers several workshops and conferences each year that use CTA staff to train your local’s leaders, negotiators, future leaders, and committee chairs. Your local union leaders use these events to network with other community college union leaders and to learn how to improve and maintain your wages, benefits, and working conditions.

If you would like to learn more about the CCA, I encourage you to browse our website, cca4us.org. Better yet, talk to your local president about becoming a delegate to one of our upcoming conferences.

Andrew B. Reiter