From the Vault is a series highlighting recent projects, research, and interesting finds from the Special Collections & University Archives department at the Gleeson Library | Geschke Center. This post features the history of the University of San Francisco Faculty Association (USFFA) and a recent research request from USFtv student director, Giuliana Salomone.
Prompted by an inquiry on the history of the USFFA for an upcoming USFtv piece by student director, Giuliana Salomone, the Archives department delved into the USFFA archival records and historical photograph collections to aid in the research. What we found was a rich history on the USF Senate and the founding and early years of the USFFA.
The USFFA, also known as the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) local 4269 was formed in 1975 and represents non-Law faculty and librarians in matters pertaining to wages, benefits, workload, and collective bargaining with the USF administration. In a recent USFFA Weekly Update from February 21st, founding USFFA president and economics professor, Mike Lehmann (1975 – 1988) recounts that, “when the University froze salaries in the early 1970s due to an imagined financial crisis, we organized. When the University sent letters of termination to all probationary faculty (half the faculty), we negotiated our first collective bargaining agreement and secured the return of all but one of those faculty.”
Lehmann continues that the USFFA, “enforced and preserved the collective bargaining agreement, thereby preserving the dignity of faculty and librarians and upholding educational standards. We voted to strike, we picketed, we went without a contract for 18 months, we wrote parents and newspapers, and even sued the Board of Trustees. But we never surrendered.”
For more information on what was happening on campus during the time of the USFFA formation as reported by the San Francisco Foghorn student newspaper, check out the collection online in our Gleeson Library Digital Collections.
Once the USFFA archival collection is more fully processed, the Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) department plans to make the extent of the records available and open for research (barring any restrictions on personally identifiable information). We would like to acknowledge SCUA student assistant, Grace Landers’s attention to detail and expert sleuthing which made meeting the deadline for this research request possible. Thank you, Grace!
If you are a student and would like to learn more USF stories and how you can shape campus history,
If you are a faculty or staff member and would like to learn more about our collections and how to use archives in your courses, please contact University Archivist, Annie Reid or Head of the Donohue Rare Book Room, John Hawk.