Home » Santa Clarita News » Education » College of the Canyons » Unionized Part-Time COC Faculty Goes On Strike 
Jade Aubuchon/KHTS News

Unionized Part-Time COC Faculty Goes On Strike 

Part-time faculty at College of the Canyons (COC) began striking Monday morning, bringing a contentious start to finals week at the local educational institution.

Unionized part-time faculty at COC began the strike at 6 a.m. Monday as a part of a protest over contract negotiations, according to union AFT Local 6262.

The union is alleging unfair labor practices and accusing the college of cutting part-time faculty pay, refusing to give them a fair pay increase and forcing them to work for free.

Their complaints are regarding their contracts with COC for the 2020 to 2021 and the 2021 to 2022 academic years.

College of the Canyons employs approximately 554 adjunct faculty members according to a fall 2021 report from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

A fact-finding panel was held in June and recommended part-time faculty not receive a raise for the 2020 to 2021 academic year, according to Eric Harnish, spokesperson for COC.

“They noted 2020 was a unique year because of the pandemic,” Harnish said. “No bargaining group at the college received a salary increase for that year.”

The board approved a 5.2 percent pay raise for part-time faculty 2021 to 2022, and those payments are currently in the process of being issued, according to Harnish.

Jade Aubuchon/KHTS News

Dan Portillo, a 17-year English adjunct professor at COC and union president of the AFT 6262 chapter, estimates that approximately 70 percent of the courses taught at College of the Canyons are led by adjunct faculty, with the average adjunct employee having at least a master’s degree if not a doctorate.

According to a 2020 report from the American Federation of Teachers, of the adjunct faculty teaching at 2-year and 4-year institutions across the nation, nearly 25 percent rely on public assistance and 40 percent have trouble covering basic household expenses.

The average yearly income for a COC adjunct professor hovers between the mid-20 thousands and low-30 thousands, Portillo estimates.

“We have Uber drivers working here. Lyft drivers working here, people who actually live in their car. I myself do substitute teaching at Saugus when I’m not here,” Portillo said. “You need the average of at least two other jobs besides COC.”

A fall 2021 proposal from AFT 6262 suggests a 6 percent increase in base pay for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 year and payment for office hours at the “non-instructional rate” of 65 percent of base pay, instead of the current $40 per office hour. In addition, it requests increased funds for union business, making it relative in comparison to full-time faculty union business funding.

“We’re mainly just looking for something better than zero for 2020 to 2021,” Portillo said. “I’ll leave that to my chief negotiator… but just give us something better than zero, and we’ll probably be happy.”

The contractual proposal also requested that adjunct faculty be given the right to vote in department meetings, which includes deciding on textbooks and curriculum requirements.

“It’s just really disturbing that the district is saying they’re not going to budge,” Portillo said. “So (COC)  doesn’t care that students are now going to be stuck with a different sub or no sub at all for class for the last week, have someone else give their grades, and disrupt  education that badly just to keep us from getting a few extra bucks.”

The Santa Clarita Community College District plans to hire substitutes to minimize class interruptions next week, which is the last week of the fall semester.

“I think it’s important to note that this strike will not lead to any compensation changes for the two years in question,” Harnish said in a previous story. “When the board implemented their last, best and final offer, that finished negotiations on contracts for those two years.”

As of Monday, COC has reached out to AFT 6262 to start a discussion for the 2022-2023 year, however, there is no information on a response, Harnish said.

“Our focus is on taking care of our students, so they can finish their classes and get their grades during this finals week,” Harnish said.

More information about how strikes could affect students can be found here.

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Unionized Part-Time COC Faculty Goes On Strike 


  1. If these people are as bright as they claim to be, get a job that you feel is better suited to your unique talents. If that’s not possible, accept the job you have and quit complaining.

    • Dennis- We are bright and we enjoy our professions immensely, so the administration should offer full-time positions+a decent living wage with benefits just as they have. Therefore we would not need to look for “better jobs”, don’t you think?

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About Jade Aubuchon

A Santa Clarita native, Jade has spent her whole life involved in community outreach. After graduating from Learning Post High in 2015, she went on to College of the Canyons to pursue a double major in English and Marketing. Jade spent several years as a ballroom dance performer for a local studio and has performed at public and private events throughout Santa Clarita. As KHTS Co-News Director Jade oversees the KHTS news team, which covers all the latest news impacting Santa Clarita. Along with covering and writing her own news stories, Jade can be heard broadcasting the daily local news every weekday morning and afternoon drive-time twice an hour on KHTS 98.1FM and AM-1220. Jade is also instrumental in reporting on-the-scene local emergencies, covering them on-air and via Facebook Live and YouTube. Another dimension to Jade’s on-air skills and writing are her regular political and celebrity interviews, including her bi-monthly interview with our Congressman Mike Garcia and many other local politicians and community leaders.