NEA Summer ED Grant Boosts CODAA Membership Drive

The College of DuPage Adjuncts Association (CODAA) is engaged in an aggressive membership drive. As of mid-October, this drives has resulted in adding 97 new members and increasing active membership to almost 55%.

During the Summer 2018, CODAA received a $10,000 grant from the National Education Association (NEA) to bolster support for CODAA by identifying new leaders and increasing membership. A membership drive has been long overdue. Although CODAA engaged in efforts each year to convert Fair Share to Active members through mailings, socials, and membership meetings, the only full-blown membership drive was for CODAA’s inception in 2001. UniServ Director Michelle Couturier, with assistance from NEA’s Michelle Gutierrez, CODAA President Cheryl Baunbach-Caplan, and Lead CODAA Member Organizer Bill Enright, developed the grant proposal. IEA Leadership consisting of Michelle Couturier and Organizer Karen Moore, along with others from the Naperville IEA office, championed laying out the groundwork of this effort by organizing and training the CODAA team of Member Organizers alongside IEA trainers Mike Prehoda and Susan Thorson.

Garnished with bright CODAA buttons and warm smiles, CODAA Member Organizers set out across College of DuPage campuses meeting with potential CODAA members. Bill Enright, Political Science Instructor and Lead Member Organizer, spoke to the importance of collective bargaining matters, for without it “there would be no chance for each member to negotiate their own pay and protections, so working as a union is the only real chance to get fair treatment. In preparing to be a Member Organizer, I heard how CODAA was started from the hard work and dedication of a few volunteers and how adjunct faculty pay increased by 25% in the five years after the union was established. That would not have happened without collective bargaining. All of CODAA’s members are highly educated professionals who could make much more in the private sector but dedicate themselves to teaching and to COD. It is reasonable to ask for fair pay and treatment for the hardworking members, and that is why I am so interested in making the union as strong as possible.”

Lorreta Pyrdek, English Instructor, Member Organizer, and an original CODAA volunteer, said with excitement: “It was gratifying to meet a number of the former fair share members, who, for the most part, had favorable views of CODAA and of what we had achieved. It was also enjoyable to meet and work with fellow IEA and NEA members who volunteered to help our organizing efforts. That was the true union spirit. Thanks to Michelle and the other IEA and NEA personnel, and our own members for their hard work in getting this essential drive off the ground.”

This organized effort created momentum, fresh enthusiasm, and excitement for CODAA resulting in record memberships, turnouts, and involvement. IEA’s Michelle Couturier celebrated the effort: “What a fabulous membership drive as memberships [are up] over 50% for the first time since the inception of CODAA. [We experienced] unprecedented turn out at our [recent fall] member meeting which resulted in 25 new volunteers and in the largest group of non-officers planning on attending the IEA One Conference in October.”

With the success of this membership drive, it is clear to see why CODAA is one of the largest locals in Illinois. It is because of CODAA’s leadership and vision that CODAA continues to trailblaze the way for other locals. Bonniejean Alford, Sociology Instructor, CODAA Vice President of Policy, and Member Organizer, reflected on the role member organizing will play in the future of CODAA and its members: “The role of CODAA in the relationship between adjuncts and administration at College of DuPage remains central to helping meet the needs of the students. Now, it is a critical time to use our collective voice to find the balance between those student needs, the college needs, and the often-overlooked needs of the adjunct faculty member. CODAA stands at the ready to serve not only as a bridge from our members to administration, but also to provide a safe space for the expression of concerns about their working life at College of DuPage.”

CODAA’s membership drive was an impressive demonstration of this year’s NEA slogan “We Are Stronger United.” This collective effort resulted in record-breaking results, as 55% active members represents a 14% increase in membership from June 2018 numbers and is a strong showing for adjunct bargaining units. Cheryl Baunbach-Caplan, Counselor and CODAA President, is proud of the incredible work done by the Member Organizers and CODAA’s Membership Chairs, Vicki Root-Wajda and Rob Robson, who recorded and processed all the new memberships. Michelle, Cheryl, Bonniejean, and Bill, along with the CODAA board, are working diligently to lay out a plan to ensure a continuous and active membership drive aimed at growing the strength of CODAA for years to come. Only as one voice can the individuals be heard on their quest for equity in the academic workplace.

 

Comments are closed.