More than 75 faculty members appeared at College of the Canyons’ governing board meeting Wednesday as a “show of unity” amid contentious contract talks between the district and faculty.
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The meeting came two days after the college’s Faculty Association put out a statement calling a contract offer from the Santa Clarita Community College District “insulting.”
Faculty members who showed up Wednesday viewed the 1.57 percent raise they rejected recently with a vote as a “paltry offering” in light of improved state finances, said David Stevenson, a communications professor who spoke as a member of the College of the Canyons Faculty Administration at Wednesday’s meeting.
“In simple terms, the financial compensation offered to full-time faculty members was insulting, and a clear signal of how little we are valued by the district,” Stevenson said at the meeting.
COC administrators received a 1.75 percent raise approved at the same meeting with a 4-1 vote.
Board member Joan MacGregor praised the work of the college’s administrators, but she was’n’t ready to approve the raises without more discussion.
While faculty members felt gradual pay increases in their contract professors accrue through their years with the school didn’t amount to raises, board President Michele Jenkins disagreed.
“Steps and columns are an increase in salary,” she said, adding most in the private sector would find it hard to say otherwise.
The contract offered to faculty was similar in terms to ones already approved by the two other groups that recently negotiated contracts with the college, the classified staff and part-time employee unions, said Eric Harnish, vice president of communications for COC.
The nine-month contract negotiation left faculty members feeling “outraged,” according to a COCFA statement.
COC’s faculty is a student-centered group, Stevenson said, which was seeking fair and equitable compensation. With the increase in funding through Proposition 30, there was an additional $10.7 million that wasn’t going to raises, Stevenson added.
The SCCCD didn’t have funding fully restored by the 2012 voter-approved tax increases, Harnish said in a previous interview, noting Tuesday that over the last five years, the college’s budget was slashed by 10 percent.
“Now, with more state resources available, we’re now beginning what is, essentially, a process of rebuilding from those cuts,” Harnish said.
“We’re adding back classes, and as you saw here, tonight, the board is committed to compensating employees,” he added. “And the resources are available now and they want to see that employee compensation is adjusted, but in an equitable manner.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News