Faculty Federation asks for seniority and better pay

%28Left%29+Jasmin+Tucker%2C+part-time+instructor+at+Cerritos+College%2C+speaks+to+the+board+during+public+comments.+Tucker+was+fed+up+with+not+receiving+better+pay+for+the+work+she+does+at+Cerritos+College+Photo+credit%3A+Sebastian+Echeverry

Sebastian Echeverry

(Left) Jasmin Tucker, part-time instructor at Cerritos College, speaks to the board during public comments. Tucker was fed up with not receiving better pay for the work she does at Cerritos College Photo credit: Sebastian Echeverry

Sebastian Echeverry

Students leaving class late last night would have glanced over at the Cheryl A. Epple Board Room and would have been shocked, as an overflowing crowd huddled outside to listen to the board of trustees meeting.

A highly eventful meeting with tension and debate saw the Faculty Federation’s outcry for better pay increments and a tug-of-war debate for the passing or not passing of a Public Works Agreement.

Faculty Union ask for seniority rights and salary

President of the Faculty Union Dr. Solomon Namala was surprised when he heard trustee John Paul Drayer say that was the first time he’d heard of teachers lacking pay increase in their paychecks.

The union was trying to get the board of trustees to acknowledge the fact that its members’ pay was not increasing paycheck-to-paycheck.

Namala said, “Salary is the main point here, for both full-time and part-time faculty.”

The issue of the demands for department chairs force teachers into chair positions and they claim that there is no adequate pay for the extra work a chair comes with.

The union asked the board for seniority rights to accommodate for part-time faculty that have worked for Cerritos for a long time.

“It means that [senior part-time faculty] won’t be let go and newer faculty, that may be cheaper for the school to hire. So we want some kind of stability in the area,” he said.

According to Namala, there are teachers on campus that have been stuck with the same pay rate since the first level.

He explained that there are levels in certain areas of the faculty that go up, once they go up pay goes up as well.

“In other colleges you go up 20, 25 steps. Here at Cerritos, in some columns, if you reach step 10, that’s it you’re stuck,” He said.

Jasmine Tucker, part-time instructor on campus, has been with the school for 25 years and was concerned about pay, but more so about seniority rights.

She said, “For example, you might be teaching here for 25 years, it’s not a guarantee that you will [have] an assignment for the next semester.”

Seniority rights would calm Tucker down as she is worried about not having secure jobs for part-time professors.

College President Dr. Jose Fierro said he does not see a clear answer for having part-time faculty seniority rights yet.

He said, “Seniority rights for adjunct professors is part of the current contract negotiations, so I don’t have a clear answer for that.”

Fierro reassures, however, that full-time professors already have seniority rights.

A number of professors were in straight out rage as their voices shook and tears rolled down their faces.

Professor Diane Pirtle felt the board was being disrespectful by using their cellphones while public comments where being made.

“I’m sick and tired of this board,” she said. “They have been screwing us over for quite sometime and I’m tired of it. I haven’t had any kind of a step increase in eight years, I’ve been here 18 years.

“With the economy the way it is my income has gone down 16 percent, I’d love to see [the board] take 16 percent out of [its] paycheck see how they feel about it.”

Project Labor Agreement passes amidst support and opposition

Ruben A. Smith, attorney for the Alvarado Smith law firm, presented the final draft of the Project Labor Agreement between the college and various construction unions signing the agreement.

The PLA was passed by the board of trustees.

A major opposer of the PLA was the Associated Builders and Contractors incorporated.

The ABC stated that the PLA was a discriminatory agreement because it blocked non-union workers from working on campus construction projects.

Smith said that only core employees of the union halls can work on projects under the PLA.

If a student wanting to work on the project is not a core employee, he will not be able to because the spots for employment would be occupied by core employees.

To become a core employee one must undergo training with an apprenticeship program in collaboration with the union.

A job will be provided by the union to train in the apprenticeship given the fact that it is mandatory to have a job to be trained, and if the person does not have a job one would be provided.

Dave Everett, government affairs director, carried into the board meeting a large sign that read the PLA was discriminatory to some workers.

He said, “The main issue with [the PLA] is that it’s going to restrict the construction contract to just their political donors, which is the labor unions, and because of that you’re going to get four schools for the price of five.”

Everett gathered this information from buildmoreschools.com.

“It’s a tax payer rip-off, a student rip-off and you’re actually screwing your own students,” he said.

In the PLA’s defense, Smith mentioned to the board that work opportunities under the agreement include:

  • Hiring of students, district residents as journeymen and apprentices
  • Promote and encourage opportunities for underrepresented members of the community, minorities, women, veterans and disabled veterans in the construction industry.

ABC’s disinterest in the PLA comes from a Forbes article that states PLAs perpetuate discrimination for smaller non-union contractors.

Passing of non-religious invocation

Non-religious invocation passed almost unanimously, as the board dwindled to the last minutes of its meeting.

Trustee Zurich Lewis said that members of the audience can choose whether or not they would like to join in the non-religious invocation opening comments before the meeting.

New board president

Dr. Shin Liu is the new board of trustees president and Marisa Perez is the new vice president.

Carmen Avalos concluded her two-year position as board president.

Lewis is now the board clerk.

To view the recap video of the meeting click here.