El Camino College Federation of Teachers holds second educational campaign on campus

The El Camino College Federation of Teachers continue their educational campaign rally through the ECC campus site on Thursday, Oct 7,  spreading awareness over the Cost of living Adjustment (COLA) contract dispute with the district. Months of negotiations prolong as the union and district tries to reach an agreement. Photo by Shawn Rodriguez/The Union
The El Camino College Federation of Teachers continue their educational campaign rally through the ECC campus site on Thursday, Oct 7,  spreading awareness over the Cost of living Adjustment (COLA) contract dispute with the district. Months of negotiations prolong as the union and district tries to reach an agreement. Photo by Shawn Rodriguez/The Union

The El Camino College Federation of Teachers gathered with supporters on Thursday, Oct. 7, in their second educational campaign for Cost of Living Adjustment.

The El Camino College Federation of Teachers (the teachers’ union) has been negotiating with the district to receive 3.26% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for the 2019/2020 fiscal year, according to a handout from the Federation’s campaign last week.

Union President Kelsey Iino said that there would be a second educational campaign after a fruitless negotiation with the district on Monday Oct. 4. Iino also said that the next negotiation with the district has been scheduled for Oct. 13.

“…I think that if there was justification to how we spend our money and it made sense, right, we’d be OK with it cause it’s fair but, while we continue to struggle… in comparative with our peers, our college reserve keeps growing. So it’s not like there’s no money. I think that that becomes problematic and it feels personal,” Iino said.

The El Camino College Federation of Teachers cheer during the Federation President Kelsey Iino’s speech moments before they begin their educational campaign march through ECC campus grounds on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. Months of negotiations between the Federation and the district have yet to bring about an agreement over the union’s proposed retroactive 3.26% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase to their salaries, according to a union press release. Photo by Jose Tobar/The Union.
The El Camino College Federation of Teachers cheer during the Federation President Kelsey Iino’s speech moments before they begin their educational campaign march through ECC campus grounds on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. “Today we are building momentum, we’re building teamwork…the classified union did show up…we have community, we have family members, friends and loved ones and hopefully most importantly, we have students here,” Iino said. Photo by Jose Tobar/The Union.

COLA is the change in cost to live in the state. The state calculates this every year and the percentage that would go into a worker’s salary so the worker’s money would still have the same effectiveness as inflation decreases the value of a dollar.

The event started with people adding to the collection of signs, assembling, and grabbing noise makers. Full-time history professor Hong Thomas said that she believes these educational campaigns will bring better results with each one.

Toni Newman, an East Los Angeles Community College Child Development Teacher waves a sign that reads, “Be fair, share COLA” during the El Camino College Federation of Teachers’ educational campaign march on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. “I’m here representing COLA and supporting our union members,” Newman said. Photo by Jose Tobar/The Union
Toni Newman, an East Los Angeles Community College Child Development Teacher waves a sign that reads, “Be fair, share COLA” during the El Camino College Federation of Teachers’ educational campaign march on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. “I’m here representing COLA and supporting our union members,” Newman said. Photo by Jose Tobar/The Union

“I think that as we’re as we continue and we come out and we gather I think that we’re going to be more successful, and raising awareness,” Thomas said.

The campaign group started their march from the Federation office in the Communications building to the sidewalk, shaking water bottles filled with solid objects, hitting drums and tambourines and shouting chants including, “No COLA no peace!”

A large crowd of El Camino College Federation of Teachers members and their supporters march past the Student Services building during their educational campaign on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, chanting, “What do we want? COLA. When do we want it? Now.” After months of negotiations the union and the district have yet to reach an agreement over the Cost of Living Adjustment the union proposed as a retroactive 3.26% COLA increase to their salaries, according to a union press release. Photo by Jose Tobar/The Union
A large crowd of El Camino College Federation of Teachers members and their supporters march past the Student Services building during their educational campaign on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, chanting, “What do we want? COLA. When do we want it? Now.” After months of negotiations the union and the district have yet to reach an agreement over the Cost of Living Adjustment the union proposed as a retroactive 3.26% COLA increase to their salaries, according to a union press release. Photo by Jose Tobar/The Union

The group looked for a response from the traffic as they held signs asking the cars to “honk to support educators.”

When the group reached the Administration building, El Camino College (ECC) alumnus Agustin Meza, went inside to deliver a letter of support for the teachers, to H.R. Vice President Jane Miyashiro

“I spent six years at El Camino College and it was through the guidance and support of my professors that I was able to strive personally and academically. Thanks to their help and support I was able to obtain my associates degree and transfer to the University of California, Irvine. I think that it is essential for the professors to… be paid fairly and it’s not a matter of accommodation or luxury, it’s a necessity,” Meza said.

Meza wrote a letter about how his professors’ guidance and support benefited him during his time at ECC. The educational campaign ended at around 1:30 p.m.

Editor’s note: Information about Agustin Meza’s letter was updated for clarity on Oct. 12 at 12:27.