The Faculty Federation of Community College of Philadelphia, Local 2026, started its second school year this fall without new contracts for all three of its bargaining units.
Since the contracts expired on August 31, 2016, CCP’s administration has tried to rewrite them in its favor, while the union – at and away from the bargaining table – has tried to encourage the college to work collaboratively to reach fair and equitable agreements that support student success.
After 18-months of talks, the main sticking points are increased course loads that leave less time for faculty to work with students, salary “increases” that would be more than offset by higher benefit costs and CCP’s demand that administration control the calendar, evaluations and other issues that now are agreed upon jointly.
“Rather than negotiate in good faith at the table, CCP publishes self-serving and often inaccurate communications in college-wide publications aimed at our members,” said union presidents Steve Jones and Eric Massenburg. “The administration sent several memos about negotiations to the college community last spring in which they tried and failed to divide and conquer union members, but our members are resolute and united.”
The major sticking points in negotiations are:
• The administration wants to increase the course load for full-time faculty by 25%-33%, which the union contends would make it difficult to work with students and would wipe out almost all part-time/visiting lecturer positions, reducing educational quality and undermining faculty diversity.
• The administration demands unilateral control of the calendar, faculty evaluations and tenure, and other items that currently require mutual consent.
• The college is demanding that Classified Employees and 12-month faculty clock in and out electronically, a Big Brother measure that the Classified Unit and the 12-month faculty oppose.
• The college claims it is offering faculty and staff net salary increases of 2% per year. The figure is inaccurate, the union contends, and any increase would be eaten up by increased health-care deductibles, co-pays and new out-of-pocket costs for benefits. Additionally, the college is proposing no pay increase for the first year of the new contract.
• The administration wants changes in retirement benefits that would cost current and future employees thousands of dollars.
“The administration’s proposals undermine educational quality and faculty diversity,” union co-presidents said. “CCP’s faculty and staff are fighting to improve the quality of education for students who depend on community college for opportunities.”
CCP, which has had a balanced budget for the last 12 years, can and should provide faculty and staff with the time and resources they need to help students graduate, transfer to 4-year colleges and move into their careers. The union is fighting for:
• Reasonable course loads that allow faculty time to prepare for class, meet with students and offer meaningful feedback.
• Release time for faculty leaders, lower class sizes in writing-intensive courses, adequate staffing in Counseling, Library and the Learning Lab, and improvements in the academic advising system.
• Fairness and equity for all faculty and staff. The union has proposed annual salary increases for all faculty and staff that won’t be swallowed up by increased healthcare costs.
CCP employees are working under the terms of the previous, five-year contract. The union represents full- and part-time professors as well as staff, including janitors and secretaries. The last strike was in 2007. The union has held a number of protests at board meetings and college events to increase awareness about the dispute.