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, is already in our contract.

The following is some quick background for this ask: During the 2020-2022 Contract negotiations, the District contended that there was too much budget uncertainty to pass on state funded COLAs. When COVID hit, the District shifted to a narrative of budget cuts, deferrals, canceled apportionment payments, and even possible layoffs.  

Despite this position, the Federation was able to negotiate an increase in the District’s health care premium contributions for FT faculty, some gains for PT faculty, and lab-lecture parity. As just noted, the Federation also negotiated the COLA for 2022, to which the district was initially opposed. However, given the economic uncertainty, the pandemic, the District’s explicit unwillingness to provide any salary increase to faculty, and being at the bargaining table for 9 months after our contract expired, the Federation’s members agreed to forgo the COLAs in 2020 and 2021. 

We faculty took one for the El Camino team, so to speak. 

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 in the May revise numbers from last Friday, 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. 

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Updated: 5/20/21