Monthly Archives: March 2010

Cañada March 4 Day of Action

Cañada students walk out!

text and photos by Elizabeth Terzakis, Professor, Cañada College, English

Two hundred Cañada College students walked out of class on March 4th and gathered in the campus quad for a speakout against budget cuts. The college’s budget was cut by 10 percent in the last year, leading to the cancellation of more than 27 sections (out of a total of about 600) this semester, and reducing students services programs that help first generation, disadvantaged, and disabled students to access their right to education. Both counseling hours and book vouchers were cut in half, while disability testing was moved off campus.

The college is facing a second 10 percent cut to its budget in the next year, which will result in the cancellation of over 100 sections next semester. The English as a Second Language Program will be hit particularly hard; almost all the part-time faculty in the department did not get assigned any classes next semester. Since Cañada has historically served Redwood City and East Palo Alto’s large immigrant communities, these cuts are likely to have a significant impact on the racial composition of the student population.


The walkout was called by Cañada Strikes Back! (CSB), a student group that also organized a teach-in earlier in the semester. CSB co-founder Katy Rose challenged campus administrators to take responsibility for the cuts or join in the fight against them. “The administrators say their hands are tied. Well, I got up the other morning, and the content of my bank account was negative $1.75. My net worth was less than a half a tank of gas. But I’m still here. Because if there’s one thing working class people are good at, it’s finding a way out of no way. And that’s what we need from our administration. No more cuts. No more excuses. The money is out there. It’s their job to find it.”


After the speakout, students presented a list of demands, signed by all present, to the college president and then marched to the campus entrance, which was being picketed by Carpenters Union Local 217. The carpenters were out because the San Mateo Community College District has hired nonunion carpenters to do the finishing work on a faculty housing complex that is being built on Cañada’s campus. Students stood beside picketing carpenters and chanted their support while calling for solidarity between students and workers.


After marching back to the center of campus, students formed carpools to join in the march and rally for public education in San Francisco.

The Cañada Strikes Back! contingent had a strong showing at the S.F. march



Skyline March 4 Day of Action

Skyline Students Walk Out!

by Masao Suzuki, Professor, Skyline College, Economics

On Thursday, March 4th, hundreds of Skyline College students left class and gathered on the campus quad for their Day of Action protest against budget cuts.  After a short song, Skyline Against Cuts leader Michelle Araica led off the march.  As student marshals held open doors, led chants, and stopped traffic, nearly 500 students and a dozen or more faculty and staff supporters marched through almost all the buildings on campus, chanting “Hey hey, Ho ho, Budget Cuts have got to go!”.

Hundreds of Skyline students gathered for a 10 am rally (above) and then marched through the campus (below).

After the march, there was an 11 a.m. rally that include faculty and students speaking out against the budget cuts. Skyline History professor George Wright told the students that Skyline’s action, along with those of other schools throughout the state and across the country, was an “historic protest”.  Cosmetology students led a chant of “Hair Cuts Not Budget Cuts!”

This protest was possibly the largest student action ever in Skyline’s 40-year history.  To build for March 4th, Skyline Against Cuts tabled in the cafeteria, spoke in classes, put up flyers, and reached out to other student groups. They also did a “flash mob” in the campus quad which got a front page photo in the school newspaper.

Skyline Against Cuts was also able to forge a broad united front in support of the March 4 Day of Action.  Students along with Concerned Faculty members mobilized for a meeting of the faculty Academic Senate and got a strong resolution in support of the Day of Action passed.  Skyline Against the Cuts also met with the student government to encourage them to pass a resolution in support of March 4 and to work together on a rally that day.   The broad support for the Day Action led to a very positive statement from the College President to all the faculty and staff about the Day of Action.  Some faculty members cancelled their classes, others cut their classes short so that their students could participate in the Day of Action.

I was able to speak with a number of students after the rally.  Floyd Pitts, President of the Black Student Union and member of Skyline Against Cuts, was one of the main organizers of the Day of Action.  He said that “I was glad to see such a big turnout.  I hope that we can keep the energy going.”

In the afternoon a contingent of students from Skyline Against Cuts travelled to S.F. to join the march to Civic Center (photo by Alan Benjamin)



April 2010

The Advocate – 33.5 –
April 2010 (2 MB)

In this issue:

Extensive coverage & photos from March 4th actions & “March in March”!

  • District students, faculty & staff join over 10,000 at “March in March”
  • March 4th actions at all 3 colleges & major S.F. event
  • website named best in state!
  • California needs to decide budgets by majority vote
  • Six AFT 1493 delegates attend CFT Convention
  • March for California’s Future challenges state priorities
  • AFT 1493 decides to support District parcel tax, despite inequities
  • An introduction to retirement health care benefits

Skyline Chapter: AFT at a Glance: March 2010

March 2010

Bringing the Latest Union News to Skyline Faculty


Dear Skyline Colleagues,

Over the past months, AFT 1493 has published in The Advocate a number of articles regarding “binding arbitration” and the reasons that it is a top priority in our current negotiations. We are asking you to support “binding arbitration” by clicking on he following link and signing our Union’s online petition for binding arbitration:

According to our current contract, decisions made by arbitrators are only “advisory,” meaning our District Board of Trustees can at any time overturn a decision that an arbitrator makes on behalf of any faculty member. Last year, the Board of Trustees exercised its power when it overturned a decision made by a highly respected arbitrator. In last year’s case, the arbitrator ruled that our District had violated the AFT contract and that the faculty member be awarded back pay and reemployment. However, the Board of Trustees rejected the arbitrator’s decision, leaving the faculty member with nothing, and leaving all faculty with a clear sign that the Board is, at any time, willing to overturn a ruling that it doesn’t agree with.

Keep in mind that, beyond tenure, our contract includes many other items that guarantee our rights and benefits as faculty. Without binding arbitration, if we file a grievance based on a contractual item, ranging from peer evaluation to transfers to benefits and more, and the arbitrator rules in our favor, the Board may overturn that ruling. In the long run, if a long, hard battle is fought for something that is guaranteed to us under our contract, it is not enforceable, even if an arbitrator rules in our favor…all this because we currently don’t have “binding arbitration.”

Let’s work together now to show our support for “binding arbitration.” An easy way to do this is by signing the petition that AFT 1493 has posted online. This petition calls for the District to agree to a change in our contract to “explicitly ensure that, when a faculty grievance goes to arbitration, the decision made by the arbitrator must be ‘binding’ rather than ‘advisory.’”

Click here to sign the petition!

If you have any questions about binding arbitration, please feel free to contact the following people at Skyline:

Joaquin Rivera (x4159), Chief Negotiator
Katharine Harer, Co-Vice President and Negotiator (x4412)
Chip Chandler (x4286) and Nina L. Floro (x4414), Skyline College Co-Chapter Chairs
Eric Brenner (x4177), Advocate Editor
Alma Cervantes (x4368), Skyline College Executive Committee Rep.