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Introduction to the PA and to Unionism

What is the MVCC PA?

The MVCC Professional Association (PA) is the union representing over 200 faculty members and non-administrative professional staff at Mohawk Valley Community College. Why have the faculty and professional staff at MVCC organized a union? Simply put, for the same reason other teachers and other groups of employees organize unions: to have a voice at work.

A union is a group of individuals united to work for the group's collective benefit. In our case, the PA motto says it all: "United for Excellence in Education." We are unified, allied, to work for the improvement of education and services at Mohawk Valley Community College. Why? Because we are professionals who want to provide the best education possible to the students of Mohawk Valley Community College and need certain support and resources to do so.

One way the PA works to help provide the best education possible for MVCC students is by having a collective bargaining agreement, or a contract, with the college. It outlines the roles, rights, and responsibilities as well as the terms and conditions of employment for all PA members. It is simply a rulebook, or a guidebook, that the college and the PA use to ensure openness and fairness between and among the groups.

Another way the PA works to help provide the best education possible for MVCC students is by encouraging the active involvement of its members in the community through a variety of outreach, fundraising, awareness raising, and charity events throughout the Mohawk Valley. The PA works hard to keep our focus on the population we serve most directly: our students. Since a significant number of our students come from or currently reside in the Greater Utica area, it's imperative that we show them just how much the PA believes in supporting our community.

In this way--by actively participating in community outreach events such as these--we demonstrate our commitment to social and economic justice, to support food pantries so that the hungry can eat, to actively advocate for awareness of conditions that negatively affect the health and lives of our neighbors. We are literally out there, working in cooperation with local organizations, to show that we take active responsibility in supporting the community in which we reside. This is what our union is all about: working to ensure the support & resources we need to provide the best education possible to MVCC students and participating in and supporting our communities.

Brief History of the PA

The MVCC Professional Association was formed in the Spring of 1970 for the purpose of improving the terms and conditions of employment for the College's faculty and professional staff. Through careful deliberation, a constitution was drafted and ratified, and a member of the Biology faculty, David Chamberlain, was elected to serve as the Association's first president.

Within a period of several months, the first collective bargaining agreement was negotiated, ratified, and signed, with Jim Dyer, a member of the English Department, serving as chief negotiator. For the first time, the salary schedule, working conditions, and terms of employment of the College's faculty and professional staff were formally addressed.

In 1973, the Association affiliated with the New York State Teachers Association (NYSTA), which grew to become New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). The PA remains a part of NYSUT and is affiliated on the national level with AFT, the American Federation of Teachers. Through these affiliations, the local has had access to the expertise and resources of a broad network of education and labor professionals.

Through the years, the Association has continued to work to protect the rights of its members and to strive for improved working conditions and salary equity. PA presidents have represented a range of academic disciplines. Membership includes more than 200 faculty and non-administrative professionals from departments and offices across two campuses.

As noted above, in the interest of ensuring an environment conducive to achieving the goals of higher education, the Association remains dedicated to the diligent representation of all its members.

Introduction to Unionism

To learn more about the purpose, activity, history, and structure of educators’ unions, visit the websites of our state affiliate, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT Affiliate #39015) @ www.nysut.org, and our national affiliate, American Federation of Teachers (AFT Affiliate #2839) @ www.aft.org.

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