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Cerritos College faculty to rally April 20 before Board of Trustees meeting as negotiations reach impasse

Cerritos College faculty to rally April 20 before Board of Trustees meeting as negotiations reach impasse
@CCFFLocal6215

Cerritos College currently has a 36% unrestricted reserve — $41.8 million — last year; $36 million more than is required by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

Norwalk, CA — April 14, 2022 —  After more than fifteen months at the bargaining table, negotiations between the Cerritos College Faculty Association and Cerritos College administration have reached an impasse. Fed up with the slow pace of negotiations, and upset over the college district’s low salary offer despite growing reserves, faculty are planning a spirited rally at the college district headquarters on April 20.

CCFF union President, Dr. Lynn Wang is hopeful the rally will convince the Cerritos College administration to settle a contract that recognizes the contributions of all faculty to the success of the students and the college.

“Cerritos College faculty have been there time and again for our students both before and during the pandemic,” said Dr. Wang. “But instead of investing in the faculty, the college administration has instead taken a hardball approach at the bargaining table.”

On March 15, 2022, the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) officially declared that negotiations with the District and CCFF were at impasse. Impasse was declared after more than fifteen (15) months of negotiations, with the union having exchanged over sixty (60) proposals with the District over about 25 different bargaining sessions.

Cerritos College faculty have been working without a contract for a year, and have not seen pay increases since the ratification of their previous contract in 2019. While faculty have not seen changes in their pay, the college has watched their unspent reserves increase. Cerritos College currently has a 36% unrestricted reserve — $41.8 million — last year; $36 million more than is required by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

In October 2021, the District offered its only economic proposal, and after futile sessions at the table, they now insist their offer is their last, best and final offer; and that CCFF and the District were simply “too far apart” to engage in meaningful negotiations.

Adjunct professor Anthony Gonzalez, who teaches math, shared during public comments at the March 9th trustee meeting, “I feel very strongly about the working conditions of faculty members like myself, and in particular our pay. Faculty deserve more than a cost of living increase. Our campus’ low pay for adjuncts requires working on two, or three, or more colleges, just to be able to afford decent housing in lower cost areas far from campus. Many of my colleagues have experienced significant health issues from this workload.”

The frustration is felt across all faculty, from adjunct faculty to retired full time faculty who have returned to Cerritos to continue sharing their love of teaching. A retired professor from Liberal Arts and former Chair of Chicano Studies, Professor Carlos Arce, stated, “It is my great honor to continue to serve students as a Chicano Studies part time instructor and to connect to their community as I have for my 28 years as a full time faculty at Cerritos. I am getting better and more knowledgeable with the ever advancing technology to help my students better, and that requires hours of extra time to prepare elaborate lessons. The District should recognize the outstanding work of the faculty, even more during this unfortunate time. If California recognizes the need to improve COLA to employees, the district should promptly pass COLA to all!”

A full-time faculty member in the Music department, Dr. Anna DeMichele, also shares the impact  the lack of recognition by the college is having: “The faculty, both full and adjunct, are the essential workers of Cerritos College. Our resilience, enormous amounts of extra time, and effort to keep students engaged and successful should be recognized by the district. Small stipends each semester have been welcomed, but a long-term solution should be implemented. Undoubtedly, you have all seen how inflation has accelerated recently, so it is not only fair that cost of living increases should be implemented but it is necessary to keep up with rising costs. This is not an unreasonable request.”

Details about the rally:

What: Faculty rally before the Cerritos College Board of Trustees meeting
Who: Dozens of Cerritos College faculty, classified staff, students and community members

When: Wednesday, April 20th at 5:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.
Where: Cerritos College (Parking Lot 5, Corner of Alondra Blvd. and Studebaker Ave., Cerritos, CA) and from 7:00 p.m. and on- Administrative Building, Board Room

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