The Union met with the District’s bargaining team today, and verbally exchanged salary/health package proposals, trying to reach an agreement.
Despite our efforts, the District refused to present a package that the Union can accept.
After salary negotiations (see below), the Union explicitly asked one more time for the District to maintain status-quo on full-time healthcare for 2019. This is a 60-year tradition at Cerritos College. The District refused, even though last year’s golden handshake cut the District’s benefits costs for faculty by $130,000 in 2019. The District held our healthcare hostage and refused to sign off.
Thus, the District has decided to uphold a $23,500 cap on full-time health benefits starting January 1. The District will begin to deduct as much as $391 per paycheck on that date for some faculty. (If this affects you, you have already been notified by the District and the Union.)
The Union is asking for a raise for all faculty. COLA by itself is not a raise, in fact, it’s not enough to keep up with the true cost of living in Southern California. Thus, we are asking for COLA plus. With a budgeted surplus for of $6.5 million this year, on top of $70 million of unrestricted funds stashed in various accounts, District can very comfortably afford our proposal.
Two weeks of intensive “sidebar” meetings leaders of the District and Union teams left us with the impression that we could be very close to an agreement on salary and health benefits. In the interest of securing an agreement soon, the Union offered reasonable concessions in both monetary and non-monetary areas; but the District wants to keep too much in return for giving too little. In fact, we estimate that the additional cost for what the Union’s proposed during today’s negotiations, over the District’s proposal, would be just $300,000 per year, out of a total annual budget that this year is $115 million.
For just one example, the Union offered to withdraw its complaint against the District to the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) for their refusal to negotiate on Just Cause. We proposed to drop the complaint if the District met our salary request, and agreed to add a single sentence about Just Cause to the contract. This would also enable us to conclude negotiations on two other outstanding articles. The District refused our proposal.
In fact, we proposed implementing a revenue-sharing formula for the 2nd and 3rd years of the contract. This type of formula has worked at other colleges for over a decade, with broad support from both employees and administrators. A formula protects the District from overextending itself, while it also ensures that faculty receive a fair and proportionate share of any revenue growth. A formula would be a win/win for both parties, but the District refused to reach agreement about using a formula.
The District and CCFF are in agreement on a number of changes to improve equity in pay and working conditions for part-time faculty. Both sides proposed a modified salary schedule for part-time faculty that uses a parity factor, like many of our neighboring Districts. This means that the part-time hourly rate would be calculated as a percentage of the full-time rate. Part-time faculty would be better compensated for their educational attainment. After this structural adjustment, any raises applied to the full-time salary schedule would be automatically applied to the part-time schedules.
Both sides have proposed fixing the part-time non-instructional schedule so that it has the same number of steps as the instructional part-time salary schedule.
Both sides have also proposed the creation of a pool to allow for healthcare reimbursement for qualified part-time faculty.
The District has also consistently supported paying part-time faculty at a fixed rate for some ancillary activities, such as department meetings.
However, the District today would not present a written proposal showing agreement in any of these areas. Does the District even want an agreement?
The District did present what they say is their “last” assignment article counter. They demand to fundamentally change the work conditions of our counselors and librarians. We disagree. The two sides set the Assignment article aside for the day, to attempt to reach agreement on salary and health benefits, but will return to Assignment in future sessions.
Our next negotiation session is October 30th. CCFF is upset at the intransigence of the District — especially for refusing to sign off on healthcare for one year.
Please know that we are fighting for you and holding the line. Please continue to be patient. Feel free to be angry. We are!
Save the date for the 11/14 Board of Trustees meeting. We’ll be in the admin quad starting at 6:30 pm.
Let us know we can count on you by telling us you can come to the Board meeting.