February 2023 Advocate: Contract negotiations continue with mediator

Contract Negotiations

After district has failed to offer fair proposals on pay, benefits or other issues, negotiations for a new faculty contract continue with a mediator

At the December 22nd negotiations session for a new three-year faculty contract, the District’s chief negotiator noted that AFT and District negotiating teams remained far apart on a number of issues and he proposed that the parties enter into mediation with a neutral, state-appointed mediator in an effort to move towards agreement. Negotiations between the union and the district on a new 3-year contract have been ongoing since May 2022 and faculty have worked without a new contract since June.  AFT’s negotiating team agreed to proceed with voluntary mediation and district and union negotiators met with a mediator for the first time on Tuesday, February 7.

To make any significant improvements in our contract, it’s crucial that faculty let the district know that we will not accept a contract that does not provide reasonable pay and benefit increases. AFT needs to hear from all faculty to let us know what actions you are willing to take to help win a fair contract settlement.


District proposals on faculty pay equal pay cuts

The District presented their first counter proposals on compensation and benefits at negotiations on December 15th and 16th. The District is proposing raises of 5%, 3%, and 3% for all faculty over the 3 years covered by the contract (2022-23, ‘23-’24 and ‘24-’25), with an extra half-percent per year for instructional adjuncts. The 2022-2023 raise of 5% that the District is proposing falls well below the inflation rate for 2022, meaning that it is effectively a pay cut.  

Contract Year District Offer Inflation* Real Change
2020-21 5.67% 5.25% 0.42%
2021-22 0.52% 8.26% -7.73%
2022-23 5% 3.20% -5.71%
2023-24 3% 3.20% -5.81%
2024-25 3% 3.20% -6.02%

Numbers in this table have been updated from a previous version. “Real Change” represents the additional amount that would need to be added to the salary increase to get us back to our 2019-20 salary, accounting for inflation.
* Inflation projections of 3.2% for 2022-23, 2023-24 & 2024-25 are the CPI historical average since 1913. See CPI Inflation Calculator
The District’s initial salary increase offer is 5%, 3%, 3% for the 2022-2025 contract

AFT proposals on faculty pay

AFT responded to the District by proposing that all faculty receive raises of 10%, 8%, and 8% for 2022-23, ‘23-’24 and ‘24-’25, while instructional adjuncts receive total raises of 17%, 15%, and any additional raise needed to reach the 85% parity goal in the third year of the contract. The extra half-percent the District is proposing for instructional adjuncts does very little to close the parity gap between instructional adjuncts and their full-time counterparts or to allow the District to reach its parity goal of 85%. SMCCCD instructional adjunct faculty’s actual pay-per-class compensation still lags significantly behind the Marin and Mission/West Valley districts and is also behind the San Jose/Evergreen district when comparing most steps and columns. (See a detailed report comparing SMCCCD instructional adjunct pay with those in neighboring districts here.) Non-instructional adjuncts (including counselors and librarians) are already at or above the 85% threshold, but instructional adjuncts still make on average only about 75% of what full-timers make per class.

AFT proposals on healthcare benefits

AFT is also proposing increases in employer healthcare contributions sufficient to make the Kaiser single, two-party, and family plans free to full-timers. AFT also continues to propose quality, affordable District healthcare coverage for part-timers working at least 40% in SMCCCD, with an expanded reimbursement program for part-timers working at least 40% between multiple community college districts. The state has allocated $200 million per year to reimburse community college districts up to 100% of their spending on part-time healthcare, meaning that the union’s proposals stand to save SMCCCD money. But the district has refused to offer any counterproposal on these benefits, saying they’re waiting for guidelines to be issued by the State Chancellor’s Office. It is not clear to AFT what guidelines the District is waiting for or expecting, since the legislation making community college districts eligible to be reimbursed up to 100% of their spending on part-time healthcare by the state has already been passed and signed into law, and $200 million has already been allocated for this purpose. (Read more about part-time faculty healthcare parity here.)

Non-economic proposals

District negotiators have also totally refused to move on AFT’s proposals for a more equitable workplace as is shown in the following table:

Issue Current AFT proposal Current District proposal
Parental leave 1 month of fully paid parental leave before using sick days/partial pay NO
Dual enrollment Assignments at off-campus locations must be opt-in NO
Remote work All faculty entitled to work 50% of hours remote; counselors can take 50% of appointments remote NO
Disability accommodations HR must provide status update within 30 days of request for accommodation; appeal process available NO
Academic freedom New contractual article protecting faculty academic freedom NO
PT seniority Apply seniority rules to summer assignments; each PT entitled to receive average of 3 most recent loads before less senior PT get load

Same or similar load as PT had in last 3 semesters
Summer: seniority rules do NOT apply


District’s strong budget could easily meet faculty and staff cost-of-living increases

District negotiators have been resistant to move on reasonable salary, benefit or other proposals despite the fact that SMCCCD is extremely healthy financially. Revenues remain strong, our colleges and the district all have healthy reserves, and the district continues to violate the 50% law that requires community college districts to spend at least 50% of their educational expenses on classroom instructors’ salaries. The district spent $15.7 million below what it was mandated to spend on instructors’ salaries in 2021-22.

Read more on how the district is failing to prioritize faculty and staff pay and benefits while the budget clearly shows it can afford to meet reasonable cost-of-living pay and benefit increases for its faculty and staff.

What can faculty do to help win a fair contract settlement?

To make any significant improvements in our contract, it’s crucial that faculty let the district know that we will not accept a contract that does not provide reasonable pay and benefit increases. We can express our support for a fair contract by acting together in numerous ways. AFT needs to hear from all faculty to let us know what actions you are willing to take to help win a fair contract settlement. Please fill out this quick one-minute “Count on Me” form to let us know which possible union actions you would support and also give us feedback if you have any comments about negotiations or what is important to you in a new contract.

Please click here and complete the one-minute “Count on Me” form!