News & Event
November 6, 2017 - CCRI Faculty Association filed an unfair labor practice against CCRI management for unilaterally imposing a J-Term and violating their collective bargaining agreement. CCRIFA president Steven Murray and elected representatives sent the below letter to their members. Murray also encouraged members to attend an informational meeting last week via video:
Members of the CCRI Faculty Association,
The attempt to unilaterally impose a J-Term by administration without consultation or bargaining with faculty is a serious matter, clearly violating our Collective Bargaining Agreement, the basic tenets of shared governance as provided in CCRI’s enabling statute RIGL 16-33.1-3, and the AAUP Statement on Shared Governance.
As your duly elected representatives, and in conjunction with CCRIFA Bylaw 5.2e1, the CCRIFA Executive Committee fully support our CCRIFA President, Steven Murray, and our exclusive bargaining agent NEARI, in the filing of an Unfair Labor Practice claim with the Rhode Island Labor Board.
As educators, we must question whether such condensed delivery of course material is academically sound and in the best interest of our students. By excluding faculty from the process, our administration puts our students at risk.
All members of the association should refrain from teaching these classes and chairs should refrain from scheduling them until an agreement with our Association has been reached. To teach and/or schedule these courses without an agreement weakens our ability to effectively bargain a new contract this spring, weakens our position in governance, and weakens students' chance of success.
Our union is only as strong as its members. We must stand united in our devotion to the students we have dedicated our careers to educate.
Mazin Adam, Art
Anthony Amore, English
Renée Anderson, English
James Austin, Library
Jean Billerbeck, Biology
Michael Burdon, English
Steven Forleo, English
Leslie Killgore, Social Sciences
Marc Levasseur, English
Debra Lilli, English
Todd Linton, Mathematics
John Mowry, Engineering and Technology
Carol Panaccione, Foreign Language
Anthony Rashid, Engineering and Technology
John Ribezzo, Business Administration
John Rood, Nursing
Kimberly Rouillier, Rehabilitative Health Programs
Laura Ryan, Library
Holly Susi, English
Luke Sutherland, Performing Arts
Paul White, Physics
November 8, 2017 - Community College of Rhode Island Faculty Association President Steven Murray issued the following in response to the J-Term suspension at the college:
“Further, the faculty association filed an Unfair Labor Practice against CCRI on October 25. President Hughes acknowledged in The Providence Journal that Vice President for Academic Affairs Rosemary Costigan dealt directly with department chairs to design the J-Term. The administration aggressively circumvented the union and violated the contract.
“As the faculty of this college, we refuse to put our students’ education at risk in order to fulfill a political promise.”
October 13, 2017 - As we welcome a greater number of students due to Rhode Island Promise, our focus should remain on quality education for all CCRI students. A "J-Term" for a few hundred students shifts that focus. Management never sought the professional recommendations or advice from faculty and staff. Instituting a "J-Term" with zero input from the very professionals who are educating CCRI’s students disregards the importance of communication and planning.
Every CCRI student enrolls believing their individual pursuit of a postsecondary education is a priority to the college. Faculty members, education support professionals, and staff work every day to ensure students are prepared with the skills and training necessary for well-paying employment. Communication among administration, faculty and staff is a crucial component to student success.
If President Hughes was graded on her commitment to involving stakeholders in the process, she would receive a failing grade.
An equally divided U.S. Supreme Court delivered its decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, affirming that public employers have a compelling interest in having strong and effective collective bargaining. The 4-4 decision leaves intact the sound law of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that has been working for nearly four decades.
At issue in Friedrichs was whether non-union members could share the wages, benefits and protections negotiated in a collectively bargained contract without needing to pay their fair share (agency fee) for the cost of those negotiations. The case was brought by the Center for Individual Rights, an organization funded by corporate special interests that are pushing their own agenda. The National Education Association, the nation’s largest union with more than 3 million members, and the California Teachers Association, are two of the union respondents in the case in addition to the state of California.
“The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a political ploy to silence public employees like teachers, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, higher education faculty and other educators to work together to shape their profession,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “In Friedrichs, the court saw through the political attacks on the workplace rights of teachers, educators and other public employees. This decision recognizes that stripping public employees of their voices in the workplace is not what our country needs.”
The case was thinly veiled attempt to weaken collective bargaining and silence educators’ voices. In response, hundreds of amici curiae or “friends of the court” briefs weighed in to support the union respondents. Twenty-one states, dozens of cities, nearly 50 Republican lawmakers, school districts and public hospitals rose in support of the value fair share fees provide in terms of the effective management of public services. During oral arguments, lawyers for the respondents argued that the current fair share system is a good compromise and common sense solution. Rhode Island is an agency fee state. The court’s decision today left that system in place nationwide.
The Friedrichs case provided a vivid illustration of what’s at stake when it comes to the highest court in the land. It also was an example of how corporations are using the Supreme Court for political agendas rather than what the court was intended: interpreting and upholding the Constitution.
National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) President Lawrence Purtill on Wednesday praised Portsmouth High School teacher Risha Pellegrino for her bravery and encouraged districts to review safety policies:
“Our students, faculty and staff deserve a safe place to learn and teach. I am pleased that the Portsmouth administration is reviewing their policies to ensure a safer environment after the teacher assault at Portsmouth High last week.
“The Portsmouth assault is a sober reminder that violence can happen in any community – unfortunately, we have far too many examples nationwide proving that true. This incident does allow an opportunity for all districts across the state to re-examine their policies and explore best practices from across the country in consultation with education and law enforcement professionals. Portsmouth and other Rhode Island districts must keep the review process ongoing and incorporate staff input to be truly effective.
“Most importantly, we are happy the Portsmouth High students are safe and grateful that our member colleague did not sustain serious injuries when her assailant forced his way into the school building. She is to be commended for her heroic efforts in protecting her students from harm.”
February 23, 2017 - National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) President Larry Purtill today released the following statement with regard to President Trump’s revocation of guidance for public schools allowing transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity put in place by former President Obama:
“We’ve been told since the election that the LGBTQ community had nothing to worry about with a President Trump. Yet at his first opportunity he chooses to attack LGBTQ youth. It’s offensive and disgraceful.
It is important to note that Rhode Island state law bans discrimination with regard to public accommodations – including public schools – based on gender identity or expression. Transgender students are today and should always be protected and NEARI will aggressively fight any efforts to roll back policies that keep all children safe from intimidation and harm.
Rescinding federal guidance does not undo legal protections for transgender students. Transgender students are protected by the Constitution and Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex. This includes when using restrooms and other school facilities.
We will do everything possible to protect, welcome and embrace our transgender students. Every, and I mean every, student deserves that and I will be asking RIDE to take this opportunity to recommit to the existing state law and guidance already in place.
We will not turn our backs on these students. In fact, we’ve got their backs! Politics among adults is one thing, but not protecting every student is outrageous and will not be tolerated.
All students yearn to feel comfortable in their skin and find their place in this world. This holds especially true for LGBTQ youth. It’s easy sometimes when using acronyms to really remember their meaning. The “T” stands for transgender and today and every day we will stand with our transgender students.”
If educators, administrators, parents and students see any act of discrimination or witness bullying or threatening behavior, please report it immediately to your local officials, NEARI (401-463-9630) or GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders (GLAD: 617-426-1350).
WASHINGTON - February 22, 2017 - The Trump administration is planning to release a new plan to rescind federal guidance to protect transgender students from discrimination. The National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union, reiterated its pledge to double-down on protecting the civil rights of our LGBTQ students and members.
Withdrawing the guidance does not change the law. As most courts have held, Title IX protects transgender students, and only courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court, can change that. Schools have a legal and a moral duty to support all students, including transgender students. In fact, states, school districts, and schools nationwide are supporting and affirming transgender students, and we believe they will continue to do so with or without guidance from the Trump administration.
The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:
“Every student matters, and every student has the right to feel safe, welcomed, and valued in our public schools. This is our legal, ethical and moral obligation. The Trump administration’s plans to reverse protections for transgender students by rescinding the Title IX guidance, is dangerous, ill-advised, and unnecessary.
“We reject this discriminatory plan because it is a drastic departure from our core values. We don’t teach hate, we do not tell people how to pray, and we do not discriminate against people based on their religion, gender, or identity. Period.
“As the Trump administration threatens our students and our values, we will double-down on our efforts to protect our most vulnerable citizens, including our LGBTQ students and members. We urge more states, school districts, and schools to adopt protections for transgender students. We owe to our students because they need to see us take a bold stand against discrimination whatever form it takes.”
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