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UPDATE: COC faculty rejects proposed contract

Union spokesman calls proposed 1.57 percent raise 'insulting'

Posted: June 9, 2014 10:06 a.m.
Updated: June 9, 2014 7:03 p.m.

Members of the union representing instructors at College of the Canyons have rejected a contract from the Santa Clarita Community College District administration, marking the first time in two decades the full-time faculty has voted down a proposed contract.

A full 85 percent of valid votes cast by the College of the Canyons Faculty Association were “no,” with two-thirds of voters citing money as the main reason, union organizers said in a news release issued Monday.

Faculty members say the deal proposed by the college would provide a cost-of-living adjustment of 1.57 percent. It would be their first raise of any kind offered in seven years.

For more than nine months, the Faculty Association bargaining team has been in negotiations with the district representatives. The association represents the college’s 175 full-time professors and has been operating under an expired contract since 2012.

“We are hurting,” said Vincent Devlahovich, president of the association. “The faculty doesn’t have the disposable income they used to.”

The union asserts that while administrators have given themselves regular salary increases over the past decade, members of the Faculty Association have spent the last seven years riding out the recession.

“California is recovering at one of the fastest rates in the country,” Devlahovich said Monday. “Now it’s time for things to change.” He called the contract offered by the college “insulting.”

College officials, meanwhile, call the proposed contract “fiscally prudent.”

“The real issue is that the faculty union voted down a fiscally prudent contract proposal,” said college spokesman Eric Harnish.

Explaining what he meant by “fiscally prudent,” Harnish said: “In line with resources available to us.”

Harnish pointed out that two other unions on campus accepted similar contract proposals offering increases that reflect cost of living increases. Separate unions represent the college’s part-time instructors and its non-teaching staff.

Harnish also pointed out that only a third of the faculty union members voted on the proposed contract last month.

And he acknowledged that the Wednesday agenda for the Board of Trustees meeting will include a proposed 1.75 percent increase to administrator salaries.

“The state has gone through some hard times that have affected our college,” he said. “A lot of colleges had (teacher) layoffs and furloughs. We didn’t.”

Asked when talks are expected to resume between negotiators representing the college and the union, Harnish said: “Both sides have earmarked a couple of dates this summer.”

Devlahovich, however, said the association has received no word of a scheduled meeting.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




Unreal: Posted: June 9, 2014 1:05 p.m.

We could be kicking ass like Texas but nooooo. Because of the liberal leaders in this state we are over taxed and stagnant. The teachers union is one of the worst. Blame yourselves.

balld13: Posted: June 9, 2014 7:28 p.m.

Welcome to the way we feel in the California public sector. As Federal, State, County, and City employees have to divide a smaller portion of the taxpayer trough, those considered not necessary are hit first. But, rest assured, fire fighters and law enforcement will not be bothered.

TWgolf: Posted: June 9, 2014 8:25 p.m.

Don't worry, we will keep ramping up the pay and overtime for our beloved DUI checkpoints and saturated, militant police force.

DMeyer: Posted: June 10, 2014 9:48 p.m.

I'd vote no too. This is the first raise in 7 years and it's 1.75 percent, I wonder how much living expenses have gone up in the last 7 years. Mind you these are the professors, not broom pushers. I imagine these educators spent a good amount of time and money getting the proper education and credentials to teach at the college level.

On the plus side, the $2,500.00 check each of us are getting from the Obamacare implementation should arrive any day now. --edited.

Unreal: Posted: June 10, 2014 7:22 a.m.

Hey, the "broom pushers" need to live just like everyone else. They need raises too. Food has gone up 10% in the past couple years, gas 25%, and don't forget how much more we are paying for health care. All of this while our paychecks have barely crept up.

The issue is not who does or does not need a raise. Everyone needs a raise.
The issue is that if not for the liberal leadership in this state we could be doing very well. I know some of the slow recovery is because of Obama but Texas seems to do very well even with him in office.

You want things to be better? Then think before you vote in November.

Egoreputo: Posted: June 10, 2014 8:34 a.m.

The COC faculty voter turnout was not 33.3% as reported by Eric Harnish in this article but was certified by the COCFA election committee to be 82.8%. The taxpayers of Santa Clarita, all of whom support the College, deserve the truth, not District political spin.

Musing: Posted: June 10, 2014 9:21 a.m.

Did anyone catch the part that says that there are only 175 full-time professors for almost 15,000 students? The staffing ratio is more than 80 students per full-time faculty member. Atrocious!

The vast majority of all COC classes are taught by adjunct professors, who receive no benefits and are paid an hourly rate. Furthermore, that rate is significantly less that what adjuncts in neighboring districts are paid.

Te COC district needs to do better for its teachers. Buildings and administrators are only a part of what makes a school good.

CollegeTruth: Posted: June 10, 2014 9:24 a.m.

Wow, how much can Eric Harnish get WRONG in just a few short sentences.

In addition to misleading you about the faculty voter turn out:

The 1.75 percent increase to administrator salaries is an 'average' for just this year. Administrators received raises over the ENTIRE 7 years since the faculty has seen a raise, no matter how bad the budget and economy. Some have seen 20% raises.

While there have not been teacher layoffs, the number of full time faculty has gone down from about 190 to 175 because retirements and resignations that have NOT been replaced.

What has not gone down is administrative overhead. There are 81 and counting administrators, many with personnel assistants. Those are not the people who mow the lawn or clean the classrooms, that is pure bureaucratic overhead.

What COC is doing, is what all colleges are doing. Squeezing out full time faculty, replacing them with low cost adjuncts, and using the money to spend more on administrators.

Is that what we want for College of the Canyons?

lars1: Posted: June 10, 2014 4:42 p.m.

Musing must have graduated from this fine institute of learning.

Math was not a subject. If each teacher teaches 4 classes a day, three times per week, thats 12 hours of classroom time per week. Add another hour per class and thats only 24 hours per week. Not too bad, and they also get summers off.

If each teacher does this, the average class size is around 20.

Figure it out if you can!

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: June 10, 2014 4:49 p.m.

Lars: YOUR math does not account for all of the teacher's time, just his/her time spent in class. What about the time spent composing and grading tests, as well as grading papers, homework and preparing lectures?

lars1: Posted: June 12, 2014 11:23 a.m.

Egbert, you might have problems reading. I said 12 hours of actual classroom activity, and another 12 hours of grading tests, homework, papers etc.
Most teachers are not teaching a class for the first time. They have been using the same materials for many years. Grading homework, tests and papers don't require 60 hours a week.

Grading for a 20 multiple choice questions homework assignment:
Correct Answers to multiple choice answers.

Students answers
XXXX <-wrong answers

The time for a teacher to check this homework 20 seconds,
and to check all 20 students in a class the time is less than 7 minutes.

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