Over 120 SMCCCD faculty, staff, and students joined a Virtual May Day rally to discuss the impact of the COVID crisis on teaching and learning conditions and the need for fair compensation and for pay parity for part-time faculty. Attendees wore AFT “Red for Ed” T-shirts, sported a custom AFT backdrop, and flashed signs reading, “fair contract now!” or “part-time parity now!” Trustees Richard Holober, Karen Schwarz and Dave Mandelkern, newly-appointed CSM Chancellor Mike Claire, Pacifica Mayor Dierdre Martin, and Assemblymember Mark Berman were also present. [Read the full Advocate report on the rally.]

Click on links below to watch all of the speakers and comments from attendees:

•  Introduction by Moderator, Tim Rottenberg, Skyline College Adjunct Government/Econ. Instructor

•  Skyline Professor of History Rosemary Bell framed the discussion with a look back at the history of the May Day holiday that became International Workers Day. She moved to the current day crisis for working people and focused on the faculty contract in our district by asking a series of questions, including: “Why should those who give 110% every day not be compensated fairly for their work?”

•  Attendee comments following Rosemary Bell’s presentation

•  Skyline Professor of Economics Masao Suzuki said that the transition to online instruction was the hardest six days of his career. As such, he argued for an extension of the AFT MOU on Emergency Action due to Coronavirus Pandemic as long as “forced distance education” is our reality.

•  Attendee comments following Masao Suzuki’s presentation (including comments by Assemblymember Mark Berman)

•  CSM Adjunct Assistant Professor of Economics Ali Shokouhbakhsh shared his experience struggling to buy a condo in the South Bay Area for the last 8 years. With adjunct wages set at 60-70% of a full-time employees, little to no job security semester to semester, and banks “know[ing] what ‘adjunct’ means,” he found himself chasing skyrocketing prices.

•  Attendee comments following Ali Shokouhbakhsh’s presentation

•  Attendee comments following Steven Lehigh’s presentation

•  AFT President and Chief Negotiator Joaquin Rivera, thanked faculty for their support and pledged to “continue our fight for a fair contract, particularly in areas around workload, part-time parity and fair compensation.”

•  Chancellor Michael Claire said he’s “confident we’re going to be able to settle this contract,” acknowledging that “on our side we kind of needed a fresh look” and so the District has brought in an outside negotiator to “help all of us get through this next phase.”

•  Pacifica Mayor Dierdre Martin thanked the organizers for being invited and wished them good luck in settling the contract

25 of the more than 120 attendees at AFT 1493’s May Day 2020 Virtual Rally