Faculty, staff unions at CCC form new group

Faculty and staff at Cayuga Community College have united to form a new organization called United Cayuga Professionals.

Group officials say this organization was formed to facilitate transparency and clear communications within the college, while working on positive initiatives to bolster the work and learning environment for all at the Auburn and Fulton campuses.

United Cayuga Professionals combines members from the four unions which represent workers at the college, including the Faculty Association, the Administrative Professionals Group, the Educational Support Professionals, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 932-C .

Organizers say the need for the group grew out of the frustrations experienced after the college struggled with a budget deficit last spring, which led to the College’s Board of Trustees declaring a state of financial exigency, staff reductions, and the resignation of the CCC president.

They say the primary mission of United Cayuga Professionals is to promote a unified voice representing all workers to the college’s administration, Board of Trustees and the community.

“Our intention is to get all the employees of the college working together as a larger unit to make a better place for our students and for our employees,” said Doug Brill, one of the founding members of United Cayuga Professionals and a member of the Administrative Professionals Group.

“Our first full group meeting was a way for many workers to begin healing,” said United Cayuga Professionals founding member Professor Dia Carabajal.

“We suddenly found ourselves in a crisis, no one knew who to be upset with, so we’re hoping this group will help us build relationships that would stand if we face a crisis again,” Carabajal said.

“As a member of the Educational Support Professionals group and the United Cayuga Professionals committee, I would like to see the members of the four unions work together to become more of a solid unified workforce here at the college,” said Patricia Hamberger, senior typist.

“Morale issues are also on the forefront of everyone’s mind as well.  I have always been proud to be an employee here and would like to feel that way again,” she said.

“I think the four unions working together only makes sense and will be beneficial for the college,” said Henry D’Amato, mechanic and a founding member representing the Mechanics and Custodial Unit.

Already the group has experienced success.

Founding member E. Bruce Walter says CCC’s Board of Trustees has agreed to have a representative from each union participate on the search committee for a new college president.

They also hosted a guest speaker in December. Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York Department of State’s Committee on Open Government, gave a presentation to the group on open meeting laws and the Freedom of Information Act.

“We’re committed to learning together so we can help facilitate open and clear communication among all of the College’s constituents and the College’s Board of Trustees,” said Carabajal.

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