City College Faculty Prepare for a Strike

San Francisco City College faculty members voted overwhelmingly last week to raise their union dues to create a strike fund for colleagues who would suffer in the event of a strike.

The Strike Hardship Fund was passed last Thursday with 93 percent of members supporting the motion in the faculty union’s highest voter turnout ever, according to American Federation of Teachers Local 2121 president Tim Killikelly.

“This vote should be a wake-up call to the City College administration,” Killikelly said in a statement.

The impending strike came about in response to the administration’s plan to reduce class offerings by 15 percent over the next three semesters, according to the California Federation of Teachers.

In addition, City College administrators face outdated pay wages that are 3.7 percent behind 2007 salaries due to massive cuts that occurred in the wake of San Francisco City College’s near-disaccreditation, lower enrollment as a result of the incident, and having a “trustee with extraordinary power outside of San Francisco,” according to Killikelly.

“Faculty want a contract that values the work we do for the students and city we serve,” Killikelly said. “We hope we are not forced to go on strike. But the administration’s proposal to cut classes will hurt students and faculty. Their wage proposal is just not competitive or realistic. How can faculty be expected to live in the Bay Area on what we are being offered?”

The American Federation of Teachers Local 2121 proposes a contract that will restore immediately all faculty wages to 2007 levels and a 16 percent across-the-board raise.

The city College administration has proposed a cost of living adjustment of a 1 percent raise annually for the next three years and a 1.1 percent increase for some full-time instructors.

“That proposal is pretty insulting,” Kilikelly said. “It doesn’t apply to everyone, only some full-timers and not at all to part-time instructors.”

Negotiations are set to continue each Wednesday until either an agreement is reached or when the two sides determine the negotiations are not going anywhere, Kilikelly said.

AFT2121 has been working without a new contract since June 30.

“If we can’t get a good contract, we have no choice [but to strike],” Kilikelly said. “We can’t forever be paid 2007 wages. It’s already 2015.”

Rachel Matsuoka, Bay City News

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