Across California, CCA members have continued to go above and beyond for members to ensure health and safety remain top priorities in negotiated memorandums of understanding amid the Omicron surge.
Submission by Mt. San Antonio College Faculty Association President Emily Woolery
For the Mt. San Antonio College Faculty Association (Mt. SAC FA), multiple side letter agreements during COVID-19 were negotiated. Side letter agreements focused on health and safety, increased workload, and inadequate district communication. Advocacy for online instruction continues as district administration strives for a large on-campus return. Counselors and librarians pushed hard to maintain the same rights for remote work, and they won this right through winter 2022. There is another demand to bargain for spring and ongoing remote options for all faculty, as it was a learning experience during the pandemic that students greatly preferred remote access over office hours, counseling appointments, and library support services. Remote options save driving, reduce the number of canceled appointments, and support students’ child care needs. Throughout the pandemic, faculty attended multiple board meetings to voice their concerns about various issues, including mask mandates, accommodations and leaves processes, and disparate treatment of faculty groups.
Additionally, for the pandemic-related remote costs not covered by other side letters, Mt. SAC FA was able to negotiate a one-time payment for two semesters of approximately $6,000 for full-time faculty and $3,000 for part-time faculty. Within the negotiated agreement, part-time faculty who had their entire schedules dropped due to enrollment were able to receive alternative assignments from spring 2020 through fall 2021.
“Showing up and speaking up often resulted in stronger health and safety measures in the classroom and support centers, and these actions brought recognition of the faculty member’s increased workload throughout the COVID pandemic. Mt. SAC FA gained recognition for their faculty’s increased workload and strengthened health and safety measures by implementing a multi-pronged approach supported by CTA labor relations and organizing consultants.”
–Mt. SAC FA President Emily Woolery
Submission by College of the Canyons Faculty Association President Nicole Faudree
After the district offered 3 percent of the 5.07 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in negotiations, the College of the Canyons Faculty Association (COCFA) started organizing protests before two board of trustees meetings, and nine faculty submitted written comments or spoke at board meetings. Faculty rallied around the need for full COLA to keep pace with increased costs for basic items, health and welfare. There were significant organizing activities with messaging and social media campaigns around the need for an equitable raise that included full COLA at 5.07 percent, not a watered-down amount, in order to keep faculty in a competitive wage for the economy. There was informational picketing at the board of trustees meeting, and the board did authorize district management to offer full COLA (5.07 percent), plus a bit more for health and welfare, to total 5.26 percent.
“Faculty understand that we have to fight for everything financial with our district. Since being successful at impasse three years ago, faculty are ready to stand up for what is right and what they deserve. Faculty did this even while most were working remotely.”
–COCFA President Nicole Faudree
There was negotiating for improved HVAC, masking, testing, and clearance procedures for vaccination/clear testing in spring 2021, summer 2021, and fall 2021. The district’s consultant was shadowed by officers; the space measurements to determine the number of socially distanced students were eventually challenged by COCFA, and the union prevailed. In addition, the district was forced to hire a new HVAC consultant to ensure proper safe ventilation after COCFA highlighted errors in an original report. Counselors, through negotiations, were given the option of reconfiguring counseling space, and remote counseling was extended in locations where there were too many employees and counselors to socially distance.
Memorandums of understanding (MOUs) from spring 2021, summer 2021 and fall 2021 captured reimbursement for extra time, work, and costs associated with remote work for full-time faculty. This was above the already negotiated Wi-Fi and computer/supply budgets. Each faculty was paid an additional $1,000, and department chairs were paid $500 for extra-contractual work.