Teachers meet to fight for pay raises and workload provisions

Negotiations between the union and the district are at an impasse as both parties refuse to come to an agreement

Skyline College faculty, as part of the local American Federation of Teachers union chapter, expressed discontent with the pay raise in faculty contracts as well as the extra workload given to them outside of class.

Speaking at a faculty based meeting, members of the AFT Local 1493 chapter discussed previous negotiations between the union and the district on a swath of issues, but the main focus seemed centered around the matters of salary and workload.

The crux of discontent concerning salaries lies in the contract set between faculty and the district. Traditionally, this contract has a provision that slightly raises the wages of faculty over time, chiefly to help salaries keep up with inflation.

However, in this case, the AFT argues that the formulas used by the district to calculate some of these salary increases have been inaccurate.

The AFT cites their formula for calculating these wages brings a figure of 4.77 percent increase in salary over three years (2013-2016), while the district claims that the same formula brings only a two percent increase.

According to Monica Malamud, president of the AFT Local 1493, the district also claims that the smaller percentage of salary increase is due to simplification of its budget.

“Salary is the most important issue discussed at this meeting,” said Gregg Grist, adjunct Physics and Astronomy professor at Skyline College. “It affects how I can pay into retirement.”

The AFT is also looking to renegotiate issues relating to workload with a Workload Equity Proposal. One of the main issues relating to workload is that on top of their duties as teachers, they have to serve on committees like academic senate and attend Flex Day activities, even if they are not district sponsored. Many members of the faculty don’t have the time for these activities with the workload of their classes.

“Assessment of courses via Student Learning Outcomes is intensive,” English and Health science faculty member Paul Rueckhaus said.

Rueckhaus further clarified that the workload issue is not tied to flex days only, but also to necessary activities such as serving on committees for things such as the academic senate.

Much of the current frustration in negotiations between the two parties has been ongoing. Negotiations are currently at an impasse, so the next step for both parties is to hire independent fact-finders, who will research the salary formula and present information at a future meeting.

“The union has evolved in the struggle for a decent contract,” said Dan Kaplan, executive of AFT Local 1493. “We must inform faculty about the negotiations by holding campus meetings [at all three campuses].”