Cumberland County College Workers Vote to Affiliate with AFT

Previously unaffiliated union locals representing more than 60 administrative, student support, information technology and advising positions at Cumberland County College have voted to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey—the largest higher education union in the state.

Academic advisor Steve Stolar, a 38-year employee at Cumberland, is the president of a 41-person Administrators Association of Cumberland County College-AFT. Stolar received his associates degree from Cumberland among the first generation of his family to pursue higher education, later returning to work at the school. “This college gave me the opportunity to go to school and open the door to my future—that’s still what we do here,” he said.

Stolar said the school serves a county with the lowest per capita income in the state, but they earn top rankings for retention, graduation and transfer rates among New Jersey two-year colleges. He said the upcoming merger with Rowan College at Gloucester gives students the opportunity for bachelors degrees at inexpensive rates at Rowan as well as many partnership programs with Stockton.

Senior administrative assistant Linda Scully is the President of the Federated Association of Cumberland Employees (FACE), which represents 21 workers she considers the “FACE” of the college since students see them for many reasons. Scully said that members have been informed no one would lose their job in the merger, but they want to make sure they are going to be treated fairly and equally by new management.

A ten-year employee at Cumberland, Scully said the school “has been an integral part of my family’s story.” When her two youngest daughters graduate with fine arts degrees from the school in May they will join their older sibling, Linda and her husband in completing degrees at the school.

“We welcome these Cumberland County College workers into a union of educators who are committed to articulating our professional voices, and always improving our efforts to support student success from pre-kindergarten through higher education,” said AFT New Jersey President Donna M. Chiera. “Accordingly, we demand our members be treated with respect and dignity and compensated fairly for work regardless of potential changes in management.”

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