CCFF awarded new contract after year of negotiations


Terrel Emerson

While the board members were in closed session, professor Solomon Namala spoke with the teachers outside. The faculty rallied outside waiting for trustee members to deliver their “yes” or “no” answer. Photo credit: Terrel Emerson

Ethan Ortiz

For the Cerritos College Faculty Federation, months of solidarity sparked a domino effect that would ultimately lead the union to receive the negotiated contract agreement.

Prior to the meeting, CCFF President Solomon Namala led the rally in an enthusiastic state.

“Our rally […], is a celebration of the culmination of our struggle to get a contract,” he said.

The months of rallies culminated at the board of trustees meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 21, where the faculty ended up derailing the board agenda.

An unhappy crowd of faculty members walked out the room shortly after the board came out of closed session, with no answer on whether or not the contract between the district and faculty union would be approved, followed by the board members discussing the school budget.

The union showed camaraderie as members discussed a plan outside the board room.

“Unless we are united, and we show them tonight, and we stay there, then we will not have this issue.

“There’s no need for them to review the budget, they have reviewed the budget for a long time,” said Namala.

Librarian Stephanie Rosenblatt would help lead the charge, while Namala stepped back in the board room, and passed out papers with numbers of other faculty from different schools, in order to get more people in attendance.

The budget would be discussed for well over an hour before chants began to shake the Cerritos foundation.

Political science professor Dennis Falcon led one chant shouting, “What do we want!?” and the union responding “a contract!”, “when do we want it?!” “Now!”.

Rosenblatt would ring the cowbell and continue with another chant.

The chants would cause the board meeting to head into recess and President Jose Fierro to explain to the union to calm down, so the meeting could continue.

“What I’m trying to do is get us to at least finish the meeting, so we can go back to closed session and finish the discussion, so a vote can be taken.

“The recess essentially was called until the noise is [stopped],” Fierro said.

Fierro and the union agreed that once the recess was over, the board would take about 15 minutes to discuss the contract.

An hour later, trustee John Paul Drayer came out to an anticipating crowd, shortly followed by Sandra Salazar.

Several members of the audience shared their displeasure with them on how it was taking so long to get everyone out.

Once everyone returned, with Carmen Avalos absent, President of the Board Dr. Shin Liu revealed that all seven members approved the contracts.

There was little to no reaction, as the CCFF walked out and rallied once more in celebration, leaving the board in almost silence.

Namala thanked everyone for their hard work and expressed how their next goal is to help get Prop 55 passed to ensure the contract would remain the same.

The night ended with tears, looks of happiness and relief in many faculty faces.

Kimberly Rosenfeld, main negotiator for the summer, said, “As a negotiator, it was highly frustrating at times, I think CCFF always tried to approach the table with an open mind and collaborate […], it’s a test of patience and resolve.

She continued,”We feel wonderful because after mediation didn’t work, we were pretty frustrated, we were really downtrodden over it […], beat up, we felt that we had done our best.

“When the dynamics changed at the table, I think we were all relieved and all really happy.”