The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), through the Council, has been representing professional staff in the state colleges since 1974. During this time it has negotiated several master agreements, processed countless grievances and provided professional staff with all kinds of assistance with employment related problems.

Individual members of professional staff have always been very active in the Union. Their participation is key to the Union's effectively addressing their needs and concerns.

Here's a partial list of what professional staff have accomplished through the Council & AFT:

  • CAREER DEVELOPMENT. A sabbatical by any other name is a Career Development Leave. Locals have implemented a program which allows professional staff to have leave at 3/4 pay for "personal development aimed at improving professional skills." Each year approximately 24 staff are eligible for leave for up to a full semester under this Union-sponsored plan. Your local Union's implementation involves negotiated clauses concerning eligibility, peer review committees, administrative review procedures, etc. (See Agreement - Article XVI.L. - page 26) Professional staff are also covered under the Career Development Procedure outlined in Appendix II of the State-Union Agreement.

  • STRUCTURAL PROMOTIONS and RECLASSIFICATIONS. The Agreement provides a procedure for applying for higher level administrative positions, or for initiating reclassifications. Several locals have negotiated procedures to speed up the processing of promotions and reclassifications on the campus. Council staff have assisted professional staff in preparing job descriptions and in preparing and presenting their cases for promotion or reclassification. The colleges and universities must follow procedures for announcing, posting, and interviewing as set forth in Article XVI.F. of the State-Union Agreement.

  • PERFORMANCE-BASED PROMOTIONS. The State-Union Agreement provides professional staff who meet or exceed the criteria for performance-based promotions to be eligible to be considered for such promotions. The performance-based promotion consists of advancement to the next higher title in the employee’s title series.

  • RESTRICTION ON OUT-OF-TITLE WORK AND TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENTS. Pursuant to Article XVI of the State-Union Agreement, locals are working to further define professional staff rights in these areas. Council staff representatives will assist members with out-of-title work complaints.

  • JOB DESCRIPTIONS. The Union negotiated the right of every staff person to have a job description. A current and accurate job description is an important tool in evaluation, promotion, reclassification and filing grievances. On some campuses, the Union has pressed the college/university to provide all professional staff job descriptions, lists of vacant positions and so forth in order to better monitor professional staff rights under the contract.


Professional Staff Meeting

  • PROFESSIONAL STAFF INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS. Some local Unions have worked on such programs in order to give professional staff an opportunity for development in their professional careers. Time minimums, procedures and content are some of the issues covered.

  • SUMMER TEACHING AND OVERLOAD RIGHTS. Thanks to AFT, all qualified professional staff are now eligible to obtain overload teaching assignments and, like faculty, have priority in summer session assignments.

  • TIME OFF FOR IMPORTANT MEETINGS. Under the Agreement, professional staff who are released from their regular duties to attend work-associated meetings or negotiations or grievance sessions may not be required to make up the time missed.

  • PROFESSIONAL STAFF INPUT IS GUARANTEED ON CAMPUS. Our AFT contract states that unit directors and supervisor must hold periodic meetings with staff input on establishing such meetings.

  • BINDING ARBITRATION FOR PROFESSIONAL STAFF. From time to time, the State has tried to deny staff bringing arbitration in cases where they were denied second or subsequent multi-year contracts. This protection as set forth in Article VII, Section E.5, amounts to a form of tenure.
  • TUITION REIMBURSEMENT. Tuition reimbursement has been improved in two ways after AFT negotiations. The numbers of eligible credits and the maximum reimbursement figure have increased with each succeeding contract.

  • WORKSHOPS. At the request of local Unions, special workshops for staff are held from time to time. These have included workshops on professional staff grievances, generic titles, reclassifications, local negotiation of times of concern to professional staff, etc.

  • ADDITIONAL SALARY STEPS. Negotiations have reproduced two additional steps on the salary guide over and above what many other state employees have.

  • PROGRAM ASSISTANT RECLASS. In 2015 the Council successfully negotiated a title reclassification for Program Assistants to Professional Services Specialist IV. No newly hired employee will be titled as a Program Assistant.