Cerritos College Faculty Federation (CCFF) president, Lynn Wang, sent an email on March 21 to the faculty that the Union has officially reached an impasse and scheduled mediation.
“The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has officially declared that our negotiations with the District are at impasse,” Wang stated via email.
A faculty member, who shall remain nameless, explained his thoughts on the impasse.
In particular, this faculty member explained the strong financial position Cerritos College is currently in and specifically, how the board has refused to provide any COLA adjustment for faculty.
The faculty member pointed out how frustrating it is that the board approved a 5% raise for each of its board members and stated, “if the board and president are entitled to COLA, why aren’t other college employees?”
Another thing that frustrated this faculty member was the lack of response for a reason why for this 5% increase.
“It creates a lot of uncertainty for our faculty,” said April Bracamontes, a communication studies teacher and the vice president of CCFF.
“Imagine you continue doing your job without complaining, you continue being creative and learning new things, and yet you get the message that your district is unwilling to talk,” Wang said.
“It makes faculty lose their trust with our administration and our district,” the CCFF president said.
The most important articles that will be going through an impasse would be Article 8 (salary), Article 14 (student office hours), Article 15 (large class pay) and Appendix XX (part-time healthcare reimbursement).
What “impasse” means is that the district and union are at a crossroads on certain articles, which results in a third-party mediator helping out.
However, mediation is where the district and CCFF would be in two separate rooms where the goal would be to get Tentative Agreements (where both sides agree) on as many articles as they can.
The mediator ends up deciding if both parties will go into fact-finding, where, “a panel of three fact-finders review documents from each side and produce a report,” Lynn said.
“If there is no agreement after fact-finding,” Lynn states via email, “then the district can implement their last, best and final contract offer, and we gain the right to conduct a legal strike for a fair contract.”
Even though going into a strike would be a rare circumstance, the faculty’s, “jobs and livelihoods would be protected because it would be illegal for the employer to retaliate”, Lynn’s email said.
If you want more information on some of the articles in an impasse, go to this article that talks about those articles and issues.
The best way to support the Cerritos College’s Union would be to RSVP on their April 20th Informational Picket, sign the digital petition (and share it with your friends and family) and by using the Zoom background (and profile pictures).