My name is Diana Valladares and I am the President of RHCFA. I hope you all had a restful Summer and feel rejuvenated for the start of the school year.
On July 12, the Board approved 8.22% COLA for the 2023-2024 school year. In addition, our negotiations team secured funded COLA for us until 2024-2025. Our bargaining team also negotiated paid office hours for our part-time faculty, ensuring they continue earning according to the amount of work they dedicate to the college. These victories ensure that our college is competitive in retaining our highly talented educators. Thank you to our leaders who continue to advocate on all our behalf and for making us a great team.
As a reminder, our at-large membership meetings occur every third Thursday each month from 1-2pm with the first one on September 21. The meetings are held in LR 128 and you can also tune in via zoom. Lunch is provided for members who come in person, too!
Something that I’m extremely excited to announce is that Grant Tovmasian, our at-large representative, will be facilitating a self-defense workshop on Mondays beginning September 18 from 4-5:15pm. This will be the second time Grant has offered his services and we’re thankful for his time and dedication to supporting our staff.
Regarding upcoming events, I have a few save the dates coming your way. On Thursday Oct 19, we will host a members’ benefits workshops to learn about discounts on travel, rental cars, and other automatic benefits such as the CALM app. On Wednesday, Nov 8, we will host a Generation Debt - Student Loan Forgiveness Workshop for those who are interested in learning more about updated policy decisions and your eligibility in Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Finally, to kick off the year, I would like to welcome our new full-time faculty hires:
Jennifer Alexander - Biology
Sinisa Bijelic -Computer Information Technology
Daniel De La Rosa – Accounting
Glenn Heap – Psychological Services
Patricia Hughes – Speech
Connie Isais -Political Science
Haruka Ito - Biology
Mike Lopez- Physics
Claudia Romo – Counseling
Marisela Saenz- Counseling
Shellie Stamps –Ethnic Studies
Barbara Thurn-Tamayo – Nursing
I would like to end our updates with a dedication to Counselor Julius Thomas, a close colleague, long-time faculty member, and a well-known union leader at the national level. His presence and dedication to the college will be missed.
The Rio Hondo College Faculty Association is comprised of over 550 full-time and part-time faculty members. About 60% of the members are part-time faculty, ranging from those who teach several classes per term in Communications to hourly instructors who work only a single weekend day teaching a Public Safety class. Since we are involved with higher education, we are part of the Community College Association (CCA), a group representing about ten thousand college professors in California. In turn, CCA is part of the California Teachers Association (CTA) who serves about three hundred thousand educational professionals in the state. We are also part of the National Education Association (NEA) who represents three million members in the country.
The Rio Hondo College Faculty Association is an “agency-fee, wall-to-wall union.” This means that all faculty, both full- and part-time, who work at the college pay dues to the Association, whether they are members or not. Non-members can obtain a percentage of their yearly dues returned by completing the paperwork sent to them by CTA in the fall. Beyond this, there are no advantages to not being a member. There are, however, many benefits to being a member as described below.
Members are able to vote in officer elections and for ratification of negotiated agreements, receive benefits such as promotional items and meals at meetings, can run for Association offices, may attend Community College Association conferences, and have greater levels of paid representation in arbitrations with the District.
Since membership in RHCFA also confers membership in the California Teachers Association and National Education Association, members receive a whole slew of additional benefits which include the following:
The majority of your dues go to CTA who use the funds for membership benefits (which can be accessed here), advocacy, scholarships, and other purposes related to education. Some of your dues go to CCA and NEA who also provide services and benefits to faculty (NEA benefit information can be found here). A small portion of your dues are retained locally. Note that all faculty at Rio Hondo College pay the same dues, regardless of being a member or not. There is little benefit in not being a member. If you are unsure of your status or want to join, please contact us.
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