Who Are We?
The UC Santa Barbara Faculty Association (SBFA) is a voluntary, dues-supported organization comprised of Academic Senate members dedicated to the improvement of the economic status and general welfare of the UCSB faculty. We are the only organization solely dedicated to protecting and improving the faculty’s basic employment rights. Over the past three decades the SBFA has worked hard to increase faculty salaries, to add significant health care benefits such as dental care coverage, and to protect and increase retirement benefits. The SBFA’s success in improving the economic status and the general welfare of the faculty is a matter of record. Our newsletter discusses issues of interest to faculty and highlights SBFA involvement in achieving our goals.
What Exactly Are We?
The SBFA is a faculty advocacy group, not a union. It is not currently affiliated with other organizations. It does, however, cooperate with other UC Faculty Associations on issues of common interest. The SBFA does not concern itself with strictly academic issues that are the primary concern of the Academic Senate, but it works closely with the Senate on employment rights such as salaries, health and welfare, fringe and retirement benefits, and other work conditions such as teaching load and outside employment policies. As an independent member-supported organization, the SBFA provides effective representation in employment matters and general welfare. We work closely with and effectively support the mission and goals of the Academic Senate. The Executive Board has often worked quietly behind the scenes on faculty issues, but with the input and energy of its members, the SBFA can be an even more effective organization for advocating faculty interests at the UC.
How Did We Come to Be?
In 1979, when the University was going through another cycle of lean years, a group of Academic Senate Faculty on several UC campuses concluded that the University alone could not stop the alarming decline in faculty compensation and the inevitable decline in academic quality that was likely to follow. They also expected that at some future point the California Legislature would pass a law allowing higher education faculty to unionize. Fearing that such legislation might lead to deteriorating quality and loss of control over academic policies, UC faculty formed faculty associations on most UC campuses. Faculty associations played an active role in drafting legislation aimed at making sure that the academic quality of the UC would never be compromised. When the collective bargaining law for higher education professors was passed in 1979, it became clear that the Academic Senate’s authority was restricted to academic matters and did not extend to economic or employment interests of the faculty. UC faculty were quick to realize that the Academic Senate’s role was limited by California laws and University regulations. This necessitated the establishment of faculty associations, not acting as the Senate, but as independent organizations that are not subject to the laws and regulations that restrict Senate action.