The El Camino College student newspaper has published a series of articles on the Federation’s efforts to recapture COLA for faculty. Most articles were authored by journalism student Elizabeth Basile, who attended every on-campus event we hosted from start to finish.
We believe it was a collective effort on the part of faculty, Federation leadership, and supporters that helped us reach an agreement. We thank The Union for its attention to our fight. Below is the complete list of articles published in October.
On Thursday September 30th faculty gathered on campus to focus on COLA negotation efforts. Student journalists were there to cover the event. See the article published by The Union on October 3, 2021.
In addition to the article, we have a video for you to watch about the event. The Federation leadership was please to see the degree of support we had from faculty, staff, students, community members, faculty family, and even a trustee from a local K-12 Unified School District. Contact us for information on our next event.
The Federation has worked for several months to reopen Article 10 (Compensation) of our 2020-2022 contract with the goal of negotiating the 2019/2020 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 3.26%. We are pleased that President Thames and the Board of Trustees (The District) have agreed to re-enter negotiations.
During the 2020-2022 contract negotiations, the District’s negotiating team contended that it had already spent the salary portion of the 2019/2020 COLA on other expenses and that massive budget shortfalls were impending. In response, the Federation’s members voted to forgo a salary increase in 2020 in support of the El Camino College community.
The District’s reserves (savings in the bank) are on track to grow from $28.5 million (2018/2019 actuals) to $56.2 million (2021/22 projected) after accounting for the Federation-negotiated 5.07% COLA that will take effect January 1, 2022.
The Federation proposed a retroactive 3.26% COLA increase to our salary schedules, effective January 1, 2020. This is estimated to cost the District about $4.4 million. However, the District’s offer was a one-time payment significantly less than the District has received from the state.
The Federation’s negotiating team did not accept this offer because it is drastically less than what faculty at nearly every other campus in the state have received–most have received the full 3.26% COLA.
Another negotiations meeting is scheduled for Monday 10/4/21. Please get involved with the Federation so we can work together to address this problem.
Federation Asks District to Reopen Contract after May 2021 Revise
August 25, 2021 update to this story: During the last round of negotiations, the District refused to pass on the 2019/20 and 2020/21 COLAs. But, after many months at the table, the Federation negotiated into our contract a provision for a 2021/22 COLA, effective January 1, 2022. The 2021/22 state funded COLA is 5.07%, which is a combined and compounded 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 COLA. This COLA will be effective January 1, 2022. The Federation’s request to reopen the contract for the 2019/2020 COLA of 3.26% is still before the administration and BOT–we have not heard anything about their desire to reopen the contract to discuss the 2019/2020 COLA of 3.26%, which the district put in its reserves while our salaries lost ground to inflation. The District’s reserves are on track to grow from $28.5 million (2018/2019 actuals) to $46.8 million (2021/22 projected even after passing on the 5.07% COLA to all employees, not just faculty). Please get involved with the Federation so we can work together to address this problem.
At the May 17 Board of Trustees meeting, the Federation asked the District to reopen Article 10 in our Contract because of the improved budget conditions. We asked the District to pass on the planned state funded COLAs of 3.26% for 2020 and 2.31% for 2021. The 1.7% COLA for 2022, if funded, it is already in our contract.
The following provides some quick background for this ask: During the 2020-2022 Contract negotiations, the District contended that too much budget uncertainty prevented them from distributing state funded COLAs to its employees. When COVID hit, the District shifted to a narrative of budget cuts, deferrals, canceled apportionment payments, and even possible layoffs.
In the last eight months, the budget reality has changed dramatically. More than $85 million federal and state COVID-related dollars have flowed to El Camino to assist students (about half of that money) and the college during the pandemic.
At the state level, what was projected to be a budget deficit turned into a massive budget surplus. This surplus is now so great that the state outlined plans to fully fund the COLAs for 2020, 2021, and 2022. Deferrals too will be fully paid.
In light of the federal COVID assistance, improved state budget, and the District’s stated position at the bargaining table, we are asking the District to pass on the COLAs for 2020 and 2021. We believe, at a minimum, faculty deserve it and the District can comfortably afford the cost.
We are asking the Board of Trustees to support the reopening of Article 10 and the District to pass on the COLAs of 3.26% for 2020 and 2.31% for 2021 and would like to request your support on this petition to show our administrators and Board of Trustees that this is a serious and important issue for ECC faculty. See the email we’ve recently sent you.
We are currently in the early stages of gathering data on comparable community college districts that passed on state funded COLAs to their employees and have learned that our colleagues of the following community colleges received COLAs from their institutions: Cerritos College, Mt. San Antonio College, Los Angeles Mission College, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Valley College, Los Angeles Pierce College, Los Angeles Trade-Tech College, Los Angeles Southwest College, and Los Angeles Harbor College. Additionally, adjusting for cost of living, comparative salary data shows that over the course of our careers, El Camino College faculty rank as the 15th lowest paid in the California Community College system.
Furthermore, After adjusting for cost of living, faculty at ECC make the same amount as colleagues at Rio Hondo at the initial step, but our Rio Hondo colleagues make 12% more by step 13, and 13% more at the highest step. Colleagues at Long Beach City College make 24% more cost-of-living dollars at the initial step than we do! Faculty in the LA Community College system make 7% more than we do at the lowest step, and 20% more than we do at the highest step!
The state distributes COLA funds to employers with the recommendation that these state funds be passed on to their employees to keep up with rising costs of living. The work of El Camino College faculty, especially through this harrowing past year, has not gone unnoticed, and we are urging the District to pass on these funds, as prompted by the state, especially given the healthy budgetary outlook announced with the May budget revise. We also ask that you write to each trustee and request that they support the reopener. After seeing this data, it is evident that inaction cannot be an option. You may be interested in readingthis CNBC article stating that prices have reached a 5% jump in a month.
In response to the May 20, 2021 Town Hall with President Maloney and Vice President Ingram, the Federation would like to provide you with additional information. The two major topics covered were planning for a return to campus and the May budget revision. After the presentations, those in attendance asked questions. We would like to provide further information and clarity in response to these questions.
Return to Campus Information
Those of you returning to campus in the fall may have many questions about your working conditions. Some of those questions may be answered in the Campus Reopening Safety Plan. You can find the extensive 139 page document here.
Please be aware that the currently proposed plan expects faculty and students to handle routine cleaning, using disinfectant wipes to clean areas used in the classroom at the end of every class. Prior to classes starting there will be a “deep cleaning” and any personal items a faculty member may keep in the classroom will be thrown away if not removed from the classroom prior to the “deep cleaning” (see page 36/139).
Remember that vaccinations will help bring the pandemic under control. They will not prevent someone from testing positive and getting sick. They will keep those vaccinated from needed hospitalization and from death. Therefore, we will inevitably have COVID-19 positive cases. There will be a need for multiple “deep cleanings” and that can only be done by trained personnel with special equipment.
The Federation encourages all members to be familiar with working conditions as agreed upon in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and current COVID MOU (expires June 30, 2021). Feel free to express concerns to us, your Division Dean, the Vice President managing the area of concern, and ECC Trustees. You may address the Board of Trustees by submitting public comments, which are presented at monthly meetings or by emailing each member individually. You may also contact facilities managerial staff if administration cannot answer your questions to your satisfaction.
There were many questions about COLA during the Town Hall. On Monday 5/17, during the BOT closed session meeting and open session meeting, the Federation submitted written requests to reopen Article 10 of our CBA, which outlines compensation, to reinstate the COLAs that the District felt financially unable to extend to faculty during the earlier stages of the pandemic. To read more on this matter see the latest AFT news post.
The state does not mandate that COLA be passed on to employees, but it does strongly recommend it. Ultimately, it is up to the district to follow through in using this money to account for the impact of rising prices of employee salaries. So far, we have not received COLA, which is not a raise, it is an adjustment to keep up with inflation, for 2020 or 2021. Effectively, by not getting COLA, we are taking a pay cut to increase the district’s revenue.
President Maloney mentioned that to maintain transparency there is a web page providing information on CARES Act funding and expenditures. You can find it here. Below is a summary of the funding thus far.
ECC COVID Relief
HEERF I Allocations for Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act- $11,659,979
COVID-19 RESPONSE BLOCK GRANT –$2,027,874
HEERF II Allocations for Pub and Nonprofit Inst under CRRSAA sec 314(a)(1)- $25,121,457
The May Revision stands in stark contrast to the budget of one year ago. Compared to a projected state budget deficit of $54 billion a year ago, the state now has a projected $75.7 billion surplus. Combined with over $25 billion in federal relief, this supports a $100 billion California Comeback Plan—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only speed the state’s recovery from the pandemic, but to address long-standing challenges and provide opportunity for every California family—regardless of their income, race, or ZIP code.
May revise summary on higher Ed apportionment for 2021-2022.
An increase of $185.4 million ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund to reflect a compounded cost-of-living adjustment of 4.05 percent, which represents a 2020-21 cost-of-living adjustment of 2.31 percent and a revised 2021-22 cost-of living adjustment of 1.7 percent.
An increase of approximately $326.5 million one-time Proposition 98 General Fund to fully retire deferrals from the 2021-22 fiscal year to the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Forums for Superintendent/President will begin 4/28 and end. All faculty are encouraged to be involved in the selection process by providing feedback before May 6th. The Board of Trustees will use the information gathered from this survey as part of their decision making process. Access the form here: Assessment Form
The part-time committee and CFT came together to provide the following information to part-time faculty. There will be two sets of workshops facilitated by CFT. Please help me send out this information to all of our part-time faculty.
The Federation is proud to announce that the Lab-Lecture Parity memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been ratified by 99.5% of those who voted. Anonymous ballot voting opened 3/29/21 and closed 4/2/21. The voter turnout was strong and we thank everyone who participated. The next step is for the Board of Trustees to vote to approve this MOU during the Tuesday April 19th meeting.
The Lab-Lecture Parity MOU takes effect Fall 2021. All 168 courses will be funded in perpetuity and no further application or negotiations will be necessary to sustain their designation and funding as extensive laboratory classes. For a list of approved courses see page 3 and on of the Lab-Lecture Parity MOU document.
If your course is not listed as an approved course and you would like to apply for consideration, you can find the application here. Please submit your application by October 15th. If you are unsure how this change will affect your load, you can use the formula in page 1 of the MOU document or this calculation guide on the AFT website (resource tab). For additional questions please send us an email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org