The El Camino College Teachers Federation met on October 14, in response to the outcome of their negotiation with the El Camino College District.
The El Camino College Teachers Federation (ECC) reached an agreement with the district on October 13 regarding the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for employees.
COLA is the change in the cost of living in the state. The state calculates the percentage increase and the funds go into a worker’s salary to keep up with inflation.
The Federation (the teachers’ union) has been negotiating with the district for weeks to have COLA added to their salaries. According to a document from the Federation at an event it hosted, COLA negotiations focused on a retroactive 3.26% increase in faculty salaries for the 2019/2020 fiscal year.
For two weeks, the Federation has been carrying out “education campaigns” in response to unsuccessful negotiations. Federation members and supporters gathered on the ECC campus and organized marches.
Last week an agreement was reached with the district for a percentage different from the initial COLA of 3.26% requested by the Federation.
Union president Kelsey Iino said there was a 5.07% COLA 2022 that had already been approved by the district, as well as a retroactive 2.13% COLA that was settled instead of 3.26% full on October 13. If approved, the faculty will achieve a COLA of 7.2% in total, as of December 2021.
Iino also says the district’s final offer was a proposal the Federation could “tentatively” agree to, however, the offer still requires a membership vote as well as board approval of the decision. .
When the Federation met on campus it wasn’t to run another campaign, instead they discussed the deal, ate food brought to them, and participated in activities.
Full-time art history teacher Ali Ahmadpour had installed a large piece of fabric with squares drawn so that the teachers could write their opinion.
Ahmadpour said he would later display his own artwork on the fabric with the option to hang it in the Federation office.
Some people at the rally also shared their thoughts on the deal with the district.
“I am very happy that it looks like we have entered a new era of communicating and working together and I think it will bring hope for the whole college,” said Annette Owens, art teacher digital.
Staff of classified employees have come forward to support the teachers’ union during academic campaigns, but El Camino College classified employee president and ECC locksmith Roy Dietz still has to come to the bargaining table for COLA.
“I hope we get the same… the strategy in the past has always been you versus teachers,” Dietz said.
Dietz said he worked with Iino to change the narrative, transforming the situation for teachers vis-à-vis office workers by being there for the students.
“We are against you if this affects our students,” Dietz said.