On Thursday and Friday, scores of instructors from San Bernardino Community College District Teachers Association (SBCCDTA) rallied at San Bernardino Valley College to demand the economic justice of affordable healthcare, while safeguarding against an insidious policy that could double the workload of SBCCDTA members-without compensation.
Lines of instructors stood in protest at San Bernardino Community College District office on Thursday, brandishing signs as they protested a lack of health care for their SBCCDTA part-time instructors- a problem union leaders say could be resolved by tapping into a state reimbursement program. Union members want the San Bernardino Community College District to utilize the state-sponsored Part-Time Faculty Health Insurance Program, a $200 million reimbursement initiative included in California’s 2022 Budget Act. SBCCDTA wants this healthcare provision, already being implemented successfully elsewhere, to be instituted in the SBCCD for over 700 part-time members.
According to SBCCDTA President Ed Gomez, “Vice chancellor Kristina L. Hannon has expressed disapproval of the program, even stating ‘We cannot trust the state of California to give us the money.’” “For professors and part-time faculty, some who received $2.00 increases, it rings hollow when the vice-chancellor’s salary is $269.000, and they recently voted themselves raises from 30K to 50K this past year” he said.
“Their Cadillac healthcare plans stand in stark contrast to our members who neither have affordable healthcare, nor a path to receiving it.”
–ED Gomez, SBCCDTA President
For members like Mary Lawler, SBCCDTA treasurer, who has worked five years as a part-time kinesiology and health instructor at Valley College, it’s a matter of daily pain and struggle. That’s about the same amount of time she has postponed hip replacement surgery because she cannot afford it. Like her colleagues, she wants to remain a healthy contributor to the college; “I’m just asking for us to get a resolution to this so part-time people can take their health benefits and get the help they need so they can have longevity to life.” she explained.
Zero Load = Zero pay
SBCCDTA also wants specific clarification on district policy related to coding of classes. Gomez, professor of history at Valley College, has said some faculty were told last school year they would teach two classes, but get paid for one. Individual classes have been designated as one-fifth of a “full load” of classes. By using a Zero Load code, the college can receive state funding for a second course of students by assigning Zero Load classes and doubling their workload without paying the instructor. SBCCDTA believes this policy is unacceptable and divisive to their membership.
On Friday morning, dozens of additional SBCCDTA members held a second rally at San Bernardino Valley College, with plans to greet new State Chancellor Sonya Christian and express the desire for settling the arbitration over the matters that remain unsettled.
Members expressed disappointment that the college received a late cancellation of the new chancellor who was not in attendance.
As SBCCDTA members concluded their second successful organizing event, President Gomez summed up the effort;
“In my twenty-six years of membership, I’ve never been prouder of my fellow CCA/CTA colleagues. We will fight and we will win. In solidarity.”
If you would like to take action or get involved, please visit bit.ly/weareconcerned, fill out the letter and email it to SBCCDTA President Ed Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org.