Dear Colleague:

Welcome to Santa Monica College! You should have received a copy of the collective bargaining agreement (also known as "the contract") when you were hired. If you have any questions about the contract, or if you need a hard copy of it, please call the Association office at (310) 434-4394 and we can help you.

The SMC Faculty Association is the exclusive representative for all tenured, probationary and part-time faculty (excluding those teaching in "Community Services") and negotiates on behalf of faculty in areas related to compensation, benefits and working conditions. We help faculty file grievances against the district if the contract has been violated, provide education related to retirement options, health benefits, leaves, and evaluation procedures, and provide guidance and support if the district is investigating you for alleged wrong-doing related to your employment at SMC.

The contract states that all faculty "as a condition of continued employment" must "either become a dues-paying member of the Association or pay the Association a service fee." This specific provision was ratified in a special election of all faculty, union members and nonmembers, full-time and hourly. Perhaps it would be helpful to outline the three choices you have:

1. Members. Members receive all the privileges of membership, including the right to vote and hold union office. Most faculty, including a majority of both full-time and hourly faculty, are members. Very few of your colleagues have chosen to refrain from joining the Association. To become a member, you must fill out a membership form. If you do not fill out a membership form you become an agency fee payer by default.

2. Service (or Agency) fee payers. Agency fee payers may not vote or hold office, but they do receive all other benefits of membership. The amount deducted from your check for agency fee is the same as the dues. However, agency fee payers have two rights. They can request a rebate for the amount the independent auditor determines has been spent for non-chargeable activities such as political action (audit enclosed). Second, they can challenge the auditor's determination of how much has been spent for non-chargeable activities.

3. Objectors. Those who do not want any of their dues collected to go the Association, objectors, must file an "Objection to Payment of Fees. An objector cannot have been member of a union in the past." If the Executive Committee approves the objection, the objector must contribute an amount equal to dues to the Santa Monica College Foundation, the Associates, or a scholarship fund approved by the district. If this contribution is not made by payroll deduction, the Association must receive a copy of the canceled check or other proof of payment. If an objector wants to be represented by the Association in a grievance matter, the Association will charge the objector for services provided.

If you have not already signed up as a Faculty Association member, please join over 1000 of your colleagues in supporting the work the Faculty Association does on your behalf. A membership form is downloadable here. Membership gives you a say in contract ratification, selection of officers, and the right to hold office. We urge you to become a member and to become active in letting us know how best to meet your needs.

If you have questions, please call us at (310) 434-4394.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Morse

SMC Faculty Association President