Association of College Educators (ACE), became the certified representative of all faculty employees of West Valley - Mission Community College District in 1984. ACE was an idendependent, unaffiliated employee bargaining unit certified by the State of California's Public Employment Relations Board to represent all Full- and Part-Time faculty employees, counselors, nurses, librarians, and relevant substitute employees. In December, 2104 the ACE membership voted overwhelmingly to affiliate with the Californial Federation of Teachers (CFT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), in order to obrain more professional support for its work and to link more directly with other educators in boarder statewide issues. We were then known as ACE AFT Local 6554.
In order to have a more clear identity in the local community and the labor community, we changed our name to communicate more fully who we represent. We are now known as the West Valley-Mission Federation of Teachers, AFT 6554. (WVMFT, AFT 6554).
In a very general sense, the agreement between WVMFT, AFT 6554 and the West Valley - Mission Community College District (our "Contract") defines the rules of the workplace as relates to salary and compensation; assignments, duties, and responsibilities for each of the included job positions; policies and rules regarding carrying out those duties and responsibilities to which each employee is assigned; rules for evaluating performance of those jobs to which ACE member employees are assigned; and the procedures for resolving disputes regarding those policies and procedures as defined through the agreement. It is our union's responsibility to act as the collective voice of all faculty regarding workplace policies, procedures, conditions, and compensation, and to ensure that faculty are treated and rewarded fairly and equitably. That responsibility is carried out in two ways: One, through negotiations with the District regarding the terms stated in the contract's Articles in order to reach an agreed-upon set of rules by which we conduct our duties and responsibilities; and, two, though consistent representation by our union's officers, stewards, members, and committee member appointees who engage with the contract as a living, day-to-day guide, reminding District Administration and union embers alike of the guiding principles embodied within the agreement.
Why do we even have a union?
Employees form unions in order to preserve their voice as an influence over their workplace - over how they are compensated, what their benefits include, how they are treated by their employer in the workplace, and so on. Without a faculty bargaining unit in place, the District's Academic Senate becomes the de facto faculty representative. The Senate, especially since the inclusion of the "10+1" list coming from AB1725, relates much more specifically to academic affairs than to workplace conditions. However, historically in West Valley - Mission, the Academic Senate did represent faculty until early 1980's when the District's administration unilaterally changed health benefits over the summer. Faculty then realized they needed an effective voice.
We are all of us, all of the faculty in their many roles, both dues-paying members of WVMFT, AFT 6554 as well as those faculty who have chosen not to pay their dues but are still represented by our collective bargaining agreement with the district, to which all faculty turn in times of dispute or question. Thus, we, WVMFT, AFT 6554, are truly the collective voice of our workplace. The greater the number of voices - the greater faculty participation in union affairs - the better and louder that voice speaks for all of us. Membership in our union is not a passive exercise; when you invest in the work of WVMFT, AFT 6554, you invest in both yourself and your faculty colleagues.
That's how we do what we do to be who we are.