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Breaking: Cerritos College to Cut Healthcare to FTE’s During Pandemic

 

 Norwalk, CA — October 4, 2021 — At 5:30 pm on Wednesday, October 6, Cerritos Community College faculty and staff will picket on the corner of Alondra and Studebaker to inform the public about the college’s decision to reduce the amount they will pay for healthcare for full-time employees.

 Employees received notification on September 15 that they will need to begin paying for their plans at the end of November.

 Some employees will have to pay almost $800 a month to retain their current coverage.

 “This cut is unnecessary and cruel,” said Dr. April Bracamontes, communication studies professor and chief negotiator for the faculty union, “The cost to continue covering the medical insurance premiums for full-time faculty is a little more than $300,000 a year. This seems like a lot but it’s a drop in the bucket when you compare it to the college’s annual budget of $127 million.  Our college ended last year with a $7 million surplus. It projects a $4 million surplus this year.  We also already have $37 million in our reserves which is meant to be used during tough times. Providing healthcare to employees during a pandemic seems like one of those tough times.”

 Employees that will be most impacted are those who buy coverage for their children or have more flexible plans in order to provide care for very sick family members.

 “My daughter is able to live like any other teenager today because of our health coverage,” said Ilva Mariani, math professor, “I had to choose a plan with a lot of flexibility because we needed to visit world-class specialists on the East Coast for that to be possible.  I would not have picked it if we didn’t need it.  There are a lot of out of pocket expenses.”

 Up until now the college has fully covered the healthcare premiums of all full-time employees, managers, and even the elected trustees who opt to receive coverage through the district.

 Employees protesting the district’s plan will also attend the college’s Board of Trustees meeting at 7:00 pm Wednesday.

Cerritos Community College employs approximately 1,500 people.  About 614 are full-time employees. 

 The Cerritos College Faculty Federation (CCFF) is organizing Wednesday’s picket.  CCFF union members are being joined by staff who are represented by CSEA. 

 CCFF represents all of the full and part-time faculty who work at the college and was founded in 2003.

 

The District issued a statement to HMG-CN.

“The Cerritos Community College District values all of its employees and collective bargaining units. The District is currently in negotiations with CCFF and is committed to meeting and negotiating in good faith on matters within the scope of bargaining. The critical need for health care for our employees and their families, especially during these unprecedented times, is an important part of the discussion.  Although the collective bargaining agreement with CCFF expired on June 30, 2021, under its terms, the District’s obligations regarding those health care premiums that exceed the negotiated cap of $23,500 per full-time faculty member per year were extended through December 31, 2021. 

The District offers medical plans covering the faculty member’s family for below the current cap of $23,500. The District has never suggested that the $23,500 premium contribution, available to all full-time unit members per year, is being reduced or eliminated. Further, CCFF has only recently provided the District with its proposal regarding wage increases, which was essential for the District to respond to the overall economic issues on the table. The College is eager to continue the negotiation process to hopefully reach a final resolution and believes any concerted activity while meaningful progress is still being made is premature. CCFF is fully aware of the District’s desire and intent to reach an agreement that supports all employees.

We regret the picketing action called for by the CCFF, an action that is contrary to the interests of our students. Labor contract issues should be resolved at the bargaining table and not interfere with our students’ academic objectives.”

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