Paducah labor council endorses KCCFSA censure vote against KCTCS Board of Regents
PADUCAH, Ky. -- A statewide community college teachers’ union has enlisted a Paducah-based union group in its fight to restore tenure rights for new hires.
The Western Kentucky Area Council, AFL-CIO, unanimously endorsed a resolution from American Federation of Teachers Local 6010 that censures the Kentucky Community and Technical College System Board of Regents for voting to end tenure for faculty employed after June 30.
“We deeply appreciate the support of our union brothers and sisters in western Kentucky,” said Barbara Ashley, executive director of Local 6010, also known as the Kentucky Community College Faculty and Staff Alliance. “We hope the other central labor councils in the state will follow.”
In addition to stopping tenure, the board abolished continuing employment status and paid post-retirement health insurance for new employees.
Since the regents voted in March, faculty members at 12 of the state’s 16 community and technical colleges have approved no confidence resolutions in the board. Faculty at another school voted to oppose and condemn the board’s action.
“The opposition to the board’s action is unprecedented,” Ashley said. “Votes of no confidence and opposition and condemnation are very serious steps. We hope the board is paying attention. We know members of the legislature are.”
State Rep. Rick Nelson, D-Middlesboro, has said he plans to prefile a bill restoring tenure, continuing employment status and post-retirement benefits before next year’s regular session of the General Assembly.
“We are glad to stand in solidarity with AFT,” said Jeff Wiggins, Western Kentucky Area Council president. The council is comprised of unions from several deep western Kentucky counties.
Here is the censure resolution approved by the Local 6010 Executive Board:
The KCTCS Board of Regents voted on March 13, 2009, to eliminate tenureand continuing status for faculty and staff, beginning in July 2009.
WHEREAS most KCTCS college faculty councils, the KCTCS System Faculty Council, the Community College Faculty/Staff Alliance, the Technical Faculty/Staff Alliance, and the faculty senates of Eastern Kentucky, Murray State and Northern Kentucky Universities publicly expressed opposition to removing tenure, and
WHEREAS the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, noting the importance of invested, experienced
employees for quality job performance, requested that the KCTCS Board of Regents withdraw its
proposal to eliminate tenure, and
WHEREAS the Kentucky House of Representatives, noting the importance of tenure to attract and retain high quality educators, strongly urged the KCTCS Board of Regents to retain its tenure system, and
WHEREAS it is well established that tenure was introduced and remains a standard in the vast majority of colleges and universities as a necessary means to ensure the best quality faculty and to protect the academic freedom of students and faculty, and
WHEREAS current research shows that a tenure system is positively related to student retention and student success, and
WHEREAS some or all of the community colleges in surrounding states offer tenure and/or continuing status, and
WHEREAS all of the public universities and public schools in Kentucky offer tenure, and
WHEREAS the KCTCS Board of Regents provided no substantiation to show how the elimination of tenure would save money, meaningfully increase the extensive hiring flexibility KCTCS already exercises, improve the quality of education for students, or have any positive result whatsoever, and
WHEREAS the term contract system of employment proposed by the KCTCS Board of Regents has no mechanism to preclude a system of cronyism from taking hold nor any remotely viable means to protect academic freedom, and
WHEREAS the KCTCS Board of Regents decision to eliminate tenure in the face of overwhelming
opposition from the very faculty and staff that make the KCTCS work demonstrates highly questionable leadership skills, and
WHEREAS the KCTCS Board of Regents decision to eliminate tenure in the face of strong opposition from the legislature
3 that originally envisioned and statutorily created the KCTCS itself demonstrates highly questionable leadership skills, and
WHEREAS the KCTCS Board of Regents violated the spirit of HB1 (1997), the legislation that created the KCTCS.
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved, the Kentucky Community College Faculty/Staff Alliance – AFT 6010 hereby:
• Declares no confidence in the deliberations or policies promulgated by the KCTCS
• CENSURES the KCTCS Board of Regents for the poor managerial practices it has exhibited and for diminishing the academic integrity and credibility of the KCTCS.