Community Colleges in California are finally given a break this year, with restorations to many categorical funds, budget for hiring new full-time faculty, cost of living adjustment (COLA), and base allocation increase (also known as “super COLA”). A budget like this has not been seen since before the great recession of 2007.
College and K-12 districts around the state are restoring funding to programs and services which were drastically cut during the recession, and unions are negotiating long overdue pay raises. Glendale School District recently agreed to a 5% increase starting in 2016, after settling to a 3% increase retroactive to January 2015. <source: http://www.latimes.com/socal/glendale-news-press/news/tn-gnp-me-1121-agreement-20151121-story.html> Meanwhile, CSU faculty union is rallying to settle for a reasonable wage increase, demanding a 5% increase instead of the 2% being offered by CSU management <source: http://www.dailydemocrat.com/social-affairs/20151117/csu-faculty-rally-for-raises-in-long-beach>
Unions around the state, much like Glendale College Guild, recognize that we have lost a significant amount of purchasing power since the recession; and now that the college budget is recovered, our goal is to restore our purchasing power by negotiating for a reasonable wage increase after suffering years of financial drought. While our negotiating team has been working diligently to come to an agreement with the District on the general raises, the salary offers from the District so far have not come close to achieving our goal.
The negotiating team has been meeting weekly to discuss openers and strategize, and has been negotiating weekly with the District since the first week of the semester. Negotiations have been productive as evident by the number of TAs signed so far, yet the most important agreement - raises to salary schedules – has been bouncing from one side of the table to the other since the very beginning. While the gap between what the District is offering and what the Guild is willing to accept has narrowed, we only have one more negotiating session left this semester on Thursday, December 3, 2015.
I remain optimistic that we will be able to bridge the gap and come to an agreement at our last negotiating session. Reaching a deal at our last session would certainly be a great way to start the winter holiday season, but it would also “bring about more ‘harmony’ and ‘trust’ between [faculty] and district officials” similar to what Glendale school board member, Nayiri Nahabedian, is quoted saying about her school district in Glendale News Press. <source: http://www.latimes.com/socal/glendale-news-press/news/tn-gnp-me-1121-agreement-20151121-story.html> And also similar to what another board member, Greg Krikorian says in this same article: "I see what our teachers do every day. It is truly priceless what they do. At the end of the day, it's beyond well deserved … When they leave that classroom and they're being drained, they can know that the board did everything possible to compensate them to the best of our ability." <source: http://www.latimes.com/socal/glendale-news-press/news/tn-gnp-me-1121-agreement-20151121-story.html>
Let’s hope that our GCC Board of Trustees also recognize all the hard work that our faculty do on a daily basis to assure that our institution remains the premier community college in the area, and settle on a reasonable and long overdue increase to salaries to match the premier status of our college. Faculty working conditions ARE student learning conditions!
Happy Winter Holidays!
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