College District Settles with Workers’ Unions

College District Settles with Workers’ Unions

The Peralta Community College District (PCCD), which includes College of Alameda, announced it reached contractual agreements with two different unions last month. The district’s Board of Trustees approved three-year agreements with the Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT) and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) on Feb. 25.

“We want to attract talented faculty, staff and administrators with excellent and fair conditions of employment while being responsible stewards of the precious and limited public resources we have,” stated PCCD Chancellor Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud in a press release. 

The agreement with PFT is backdated to begin on July 1, 2019. It includes a cost-of-living (COLA) pay increase of 3.26 percent and steps toward compensation parity for part-time faculty, among other line items. The agreement concludes several months of negotiations between the district and PFT. The faculty union held a rally at Stroud’s first board meeting on Oct. 22, 2019, in Oakland to urge her to settle the contract negotiations.

“I want to thank Chancellor Stroud and the Trustees for their commitment to supporting faculty and the students we serve by ensuring that we have a fair contract,” said Dr. Jennifer Shanoski, PFT President.

The IUOE agreement also features a 3.26 percent COLA increase among other components.

“I want to thank the Chancellor for recommending support for the agreement,” said IUOE spokesperson Charlie Solt.

The news of the agreements come as PCCD has been trying to repair their standing with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). ACCJC placed PCCD on nine-month probation in January because the district failed to address ongoing financial problems, including a structural deficit, lack of adherence to policies and procedures, poor financial controls and growing pension obligations, according to a report. 

Former Chancellor Jowel Laguerre retired in February 2019 after the Fair Political Practices Commission of California fined PCCD $2,000 for spending almost $39,000 of taxpayer money on mailing Christmas cards. The ACCJC also cited declining fund balances, $31 million of “negative cash” in its treasury, failure to fix past problems identified by the accreditor and plunging enrollment for reasons they were placed on probation. 

College of Alameda enrollment has dropped more than 10 percent from 2014 (3,656) to 2019 (3,283), according to a California Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team report.

PFT is the bargaining unit for teachers, librarians, counselors, and nurses at PCCD. PFT represents more than 1000 full- and part-time faculty working at PCCD’s four East Bay Community Colleges.

IUOE engineers operate and maintain the physical plant systems in buildings, schools and similar facilities.

PCCD colleges include: Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, and Laney and Merritt colleges in Oakland.