El Camino College Federation of Teachers gathers in response to agreement reached on Oct. 13

Biology Professor Dr. Darcie McClelland, left, Chemistry Professor Laura Saldarriaga, middle and Chemistry Professor Ryan Turner gather in the Federation office on Oct. 14 after an agreement was reached with the district over the faculty receiving Cost of Living Adjustment on Oct.13. This agreement was reached after weeks of negotiations with the District. Photo By: Elizabeth Basile/ the Union.
Biology Professor Dr. Darcie McClelland, left; Chemistry Professor Laura Saldarriaga, middle; and Chemistry Professor Ryan Turner gather in the Federation office on Thursday, Oct. 14 after an agreement was reached with the district over the faculty receiving Cost of Living Adjustment on Oct.13. This agreement was reached after weeks of negotiations with the District. Photo By: Elizabeth Basile/ the Union.

The El Camino College Federation of Teachers gathered Oct. 14, in response to the result of their negotiation with the El Camino College District.

The El Camino College (ECC) Federation of teachers reached an agreement with the district on Oct. 13 regarding Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for employees.

COLA is the change in cost to live in the state. The state calculates the percentage of increase and the funds go into a worker’s salary to keep up with inflation.

The Federation (the teacher’s union) has been negotiating with the district for weeks to get COLA added to their salaries. According to a handout from the Federation at an event they organized, the COLA negotiations have been for a retroactive 3.26% increase in the faculty’s salaries for the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

El Camino College Federation of Teachers' members and supporters march in front of the ECC campus on Oct. 7. This was during their last educational campaign before reaching an agreement with the district. The Federation had been negotiating with the district for weeks for Cost of Living Adjustment. Photo by: Shawn Rodriguez/ the Union.
El Camino College Federation of Teachers' members and supporters march in front of the ECC campus on Thursday, Oct. 7. This was during their last educational campaign before reaching an agreement with the district. The Federation had been negotiating with the district for weeks for Cost of Living Adjustment. Photo by: Shawn Rodriguez/ the Union.

For the past two weeks, the Federation has been holding “educational campaigns” in response to fruitless negotiations. Members and supporters of the Federation would gather on ECC’s campus and hold marches.

Last week, an agreement was reached with the district that was for a different percentage than the original 3.26% COLA that the Federation requested.

Union President Kelsey Iino said that there was a 5.07% 2022 COLA that had already been approved by the district, as well as a retroactive 2.13% COLA which was settled on instead of the full 3.26% on Oct. 13. If approved, the faculty will get a 7.2% COLA in all, effective December 2021.

Iino also says that the district’s final offer was one that the Federation could “tentatively” agree upon, however, the offer still requires a membership vote as well as having the Board of Trustees approve the decision.

When the Federation gathered on campus, it wasn’t to hold another campaign, instead, they discussed the agreement, ate food that was brought to them and took part in activities.

Full-time Art History professor Ali Ahmadpour had set up a large piece of fabric with squares drawn in for the faculty to write their opinion.

Computer Information Systems Professor Khai Lu crontributes to the fabric mural set up by full time Art History Professor Ali Ahmadpour on Oct. 14, meant to reflect the opinions of the El Camino College faculty. "It&squot;s a celebration of the collective effort that of all of us who stood by the union, stood by for other faculty," Lu said about the event. Photo By Elizabeth Basile/ the Union.
Computer Information Systems Professor Khai Lu writes onto the fabric mural set up by full-time Art History Professor Ali Ahmadpour on Thursday, Oct. 14. The mural was meant to reflect the opinions of the El Camino College faculty. "It's a celebration of the collective effort that of all of us who stood by the union, stood by for other faculty," Lu said about the event. Photo By Elizabeth Basile/ the Union.

Ahmadpour said that later he would display his own artwork on the fabric with the possibility of hanging it in the Federation office.

Some people at the gathering also shared their thoughts about the agreement with the district.

“I’m very happy that it seems that we’ve entered a new era of communication and working together and I think that will be hopeful for the whole college,” Digital Art professor Annette Owens said

Members of the Classified Employees staff have been showing up to support the teachers union at the academic campaigns, however El Camino College Classified Employees President and ECC locksmith Roy Dietz still has to go to the negotiating table for COLA.

“I’m hoping that we get the same thing… the strategy in the past has always been, you against the teachers,” Dietz said

Dietz said that he has been working with Iino to change the narrative, turning the situation from teachers versus the office workers into them being there for the students.

“We’re against you if it’s affecting our students,” Dietz said.