Friday, September 04, 2009

SEIU Local 500 Statement on Johnson Suspension

Following is the statement by SEIU Local 500 on the Montgomery College Board of Trustees' decision to suspend President Brian Johnson with pay. SEIU won an election a year ago to represent the college's adjunct professors but still has not concluded contract negotiations with the administration.


Members of the part-time faculty of Montgomery College, represented by SEIU Local 500, are deeply troubled by the allegations leveled against Dr. Johnson. All public servants should uphold the highest standards of integrity, and, at a time when state and county budgets are strained to the brink and everyone is asked to sacrifice, the extravagant waste alleged is unconscionable.

Part-time faculty members are deeply invested in the success of Montgomery College and each student that passes through its doors. We teach 45 percent of courses at the college, outnumber our full-time peers by nearly 2-to-1, and have years of educational and career experience that benefit our students and communities.

As such, we are confident that the Board of Trustees will use this as a teachable moment, and that, when considering candidates to succeed Mr. Johnson, board members will address Montgomery College’s need for an engaged leader. For the college and its students to flourish, we need leadership that understands the value of positive, productive relationships with the many people who make Montgomery County and its educational institutions great.

We also urge the Board of Trustees to avoid allowing the scandal to further delay our contract negotations. Part-time faculty voted overwhelming to form a union some 14 months ago and since that time the college has shown inconsistent commitment to working together to settle a fair first contract.

We stand by our assertion that we deserve to be treated according to the principles of basic fairness: a meaningful voice in governance for the workers who carry out nearly half of all instruction; equal pay for equal work with comparable credentials; and job security.

We believe the college will most effectively move beyond recent developments by forging forward with the work of cultivating a new relationship with its stakeholders, including part-time faculty.