CCSF Teachers Voting on Whether to Strike After Lengthy Trustees Meeting

Marynoel Strope /Ingleside-Excelsior Light

After more than a year of contract negotiations, City College of San Francisco’s faculty union members will begin a nine-day voting period to determine whether to strike on Feb. 29.

Prior to the vote, faculty union members publicly addressed the college’s Board of Trustees at their Feb. 25 meeting.

“Don’t let this school go on strike—please!” said longtime ESL teacher Alison Datz during the meeting’s first public comment session.

American Federation of Teachers 2121 has been bargaining for over a year with very little results, Datz said. An estimated 81 percent of City College teachers belong to the union.

In 2012, voters approved Prop. A, a parcel tax to provide funding for the school that the state cannot take away. Intended to offset budget cuts, prevent layoffs and provide an affordable, quality education for students, Prop. A passed with a nearly 73 percent majority. Union members say the funds are unspent in reserves, with estimated numbers ranging from $5 to $65 million.

“We know the district has at least 65 million dollars,” AFT 2121 president Tim Killikelly said to the trustees at the second meeting since their power was reinstated. “You did not have the authority recently, but now you do.”

Killikelly urged the trustees to take part in the negotiation process. The union has called for a strike authorization vote on Feb. 29. Teachers will probably strike by campus, with the Ocean campus likely to be first.

“The proposed raise has built-in pay cuts and no raise for part-timers,” said Karen Saginor, former academic senate president.

Many teachers commented on the plight of part-time faculty and the importance of equal pay for equal work, and called on administrators to decrease minimum class size and maintain and strengthen peer evaluations.

While instructing a class once meant lecturing at a podium, teaching has become much more interactive and labor intensive, said the union’s Executive Director Chris Hanzo.

“It’s time we have pay and workload that reflects that,” Hanzo said. “The district has flatly rejected every union proposal. There’s been no give and take.”

Teachers questioned buying new police vehicles and computers and hiring new administrators.

“Hiring for a new administrative position is really questionable at this time,” union Vice President Alan D’Souza said. “Since 2011, administrative expenditures have gone up at least 29 percent while faculty expenditures have gone down nine percent. […] There is a dire need in payroll.”

Negotiations began in January 2015, and the faculty’s contract ended eight months ago. Union representatives hope the strike will result in a March agreement.

Trustees left for a closed session meeting to confer with labor negotiators about the teachers and faculty unions collective bargaining agreements before reconvening.

Other Meeting Business

A new CCSF building project at 33 Gough St. and preparations for compliance with new standards for accreditation were also on the agenda. Trustees expressed concern about the slow pace in preparing the complex self evaluation needed for the next round of accreditation, which will begin this October.

Trustees also reviewed a student success scorecard report, which showed both overall positive results in preparing students for transfer as well as less encouraging numbers for Latino, African-American and Native American students.

“I’m extremely alarmed by the low completion rate of African-American students at City College,” Trustee Alex Randolph said of the scorecard results. “It’s another sign of how we’re failing that community—not just in City College but in the city in general.”

Trustee Steve Ngo expressed doubts over Trustees John Rizzo and Brigitte Davila’s resolution to request a transfer of the Balboa Reservoir parcel to City College, which passed with a 4-3 majority. The Public Utilities Commission-owned lot, adjacent to the college’s Ocean campus, will house a mixed-use housing and commercial project. Ngo questioned whether the school should be acquiring land while dealing with so many other issues.

The meeting adjourned well after midnight but the board did not specifically address the contract negotiations.

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