San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers call for awareness besides benefits

On Tuesday, Feb. 1, the San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493, negotiated with the district for pay raises and other benefits.

The negotiations originally began seven months ago. While the salary is part of every negotiation, the difference now is that there are discussions of benefit costs as well. For example, health benefits for faculty, faculty evaluation procedures, faculty flex day requirements, faculty workload language and expectations, and a number of other issues.

According to Katharine Harer, AFT Co-Vice President and a part-time professor of English and Literature classes, has been a major part of the cause. There have been efforts to raise awareness of teachers’ rights through advertisements and meetings across all three campuses.

“Our initial goal was to convince the district to return to the bargaining table after they called for Impasse, which ended bargaining,” said Harer. “We have been successful in convincing the district to restart bargaining because of faculty activism.”

In a show of activism, the faculty wore red shirts in order to express support for the AFT bargaining team. It is encouraged for the faculty to wear the shirts every Tuesday in order to show unity.

“Over 500 faculty signed a petition around workload equity,” Harer said. “One of the issues in bargaining. Faculty have responded strongly because the issue of fair workload matters deeply to all of us.”

Staff members who have also taken part in this are English Professor Rob Williams, and Health Science Professor Paul Rueckhaus, both AFT Chapter chair members.

Due to limited contact, it is unknown how the meeting went.