Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges Records
Scope and Content Note
The Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges Records consist of correspondence, flyers, meeting minutes, membership lists, reports, newsletters, constitutions, pamphlets, press releases, and ballots created by the union and distributed to its members or among its leadership, particularly in the period between 1967 and 1992, its first 25 years. The materials provide extensive information about the efforts of faculty and staff of Connecticut's twelve community college to organize, beginning in the late 1960s, resulting in the formation of the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges, better known as "The 4Cs," in 1973.
The records include information about the union's efforts to advocate for the members' rights to collective bargaining, contract and wage negotiations, promotions, shared governance and staff and faculty evaluations. It holds information about the election of officers, state budget allocations, the rights of adjunct faculty, political action, and lobbying with the Connecticut state legislature. The overall story of these records is of a successful union organized for the needs of public sector workers from its early years in 1967 as an academic “Congress” to its establishment as a bargaining agent by election in 1973, to the addition of part timers by election in the mid 1980s.
Some noteworthy items include a booklet of Personnel Policies for the Professional Employees of the Regional Community College System (November 1970) and photocopies of documents from the FBI file of Sidney Lipshires when he was investigated in the early 1950s for being a Communist.
Prior to the donation the materials were organized by Dr. Robert L. Reutenauer, a professor at Middlesex Community College and an active member of The 4Cs. The collection includes a history he wrote in 2003 of the union from 1967-1977, and a "Sabbatical Report" written by him in Summer 2013 when he organized the records and which includes an annotated list of selected documents in the collection.
[Much of this scope and content note was written with the aid of Dr. Robert L. Reutenauer]
- Creation: undated, 1950-2013
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1967 - 1992
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.
The Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges is a labor union formed to address the concerns and needs of the professional staff of the state's twelve community colleges. It was originally formed as the Community College Faculty Senate on January 16, 1967, with faculty representatives from the five community colleges then in operation: Housatonic, Manchester, Middlesex, Northwestern and Norwalk, and discussions focused on professional development, sabbatical, rank and promotion, tenure, reappointment, evaluation, sick leave, election of department chair, academic freedom, grievance procedure, negotiations bill and workload.
In March 1972, faced with Governor Thomas Meskill's proposed budget cuts, cancellation of raises, increase in student contact hours, and a hiring freeze for public higher education employees, the Community College Faculty Senate reformed itself as the Connecticut Higher Education Coalition (CHEC), with Robert Vater, a music teacher at Manchester Community College, as its chair. CHEC raised funds for a lawsuit against Governor Meskill and the Higher Education Legal Project (HELP) was formed to carry the suit forward.
On May 3, 1973, the group was reconstituted, now to include professional staff as well as faculty, as the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges, the purpose of which was to establish a collective bargaining relationship between the congress and the Board of Trustees, to guarantee staff participation in determining educational politicies and other matters of professional concern. Better known as "The 4 Cs," the group voted in Vater as its president and Sidney Lipshires, a teacher at Manchester Community College, as his aide.
In June 1975 the Connecticut General Assembly passed a collective bargaining law for state employees. The 4Cs was the first union certified under this new law, in December 1975, and bargaining began in earnest with the Board of Trustees. Accusing the BOT of delaying tactics and not bargaining in good faith, the 4Cs, now with 600 members, staged a one day job action on March 30, 1977. The BOT thereafter agreed to a contract that preserved tenure, due process and academic freedom.
Kay Bergin served as President of the Faculty Senate for Regional Community Colleges in the early 1970s. Robert Vater of Manchester Community College became president in 1973. Sidney Lipshires became President in 1977, serving for 18 years in this position.
[Much of this historical note was written with the aid of Dr. Robert L. Reutenauer]
1 Linear Feet (Two boxes of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photocopies, meeting minutes, flyers, and memoranda)
Language of Materials
The Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges is a labor union formed to address the concerns and needs of the professional staff of the state's twelve community colleges. The records consist of correspondence, flyers, meeting minutes, membership lists, reports, newsletters, constitutions, pamphlets, press releases, and ballots created by the union and distributed to its members or among its leadership. The materials provide extensive information about the efforts of faculty and staff of Connecticut's twelve community college to organize, beginning in the late 1960s, resulting in the formation of the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges, better known as the 4Cs, in 1973.
Provenance and Acquisition
The Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges Records were donated in December 2013 by the president of the Congress.
The following title associated with this collection has been cataloged:
Lipshires, Sidney. Giving Them Hell: How a College Professor Organized and Led a Successful Statewide Union (Sidney Lipshires, 2007). Dodd A11341.
- Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges Records
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 2014 April
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
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