SOCCCD Board accepts proposed faculty contract

MaryAnne C. Shults

The South Orange County Community College District board has approved the faculty association’s most recent salary proposal after months of political wrangling.

According to an e-mail sent today to SOCCCD certificated employees from Lewis Long, faculty association president-elect, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources David Bugay contacted the South Orange County Community College District Faculty Association’s negotiating team to inform them of the decision.

The final agreement is less than the original proposal. The faculty must vote to ratify the contract before it can be adopted by the Board of Trustees.

The District agreed to the proposed increase of state Cost Of Living Allowance of 4.53 percent for 2007-2008 for the full-time faculty, and 6 percent for 2007-2008 for the part-time faculty.  Both full- and part-time faculty would receive a 1 percent increase for each of 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. 

Thus, the full-time faculty will receive a 6.53 percent raise over the course of the contract, and the part-time faculty would receive an 8 percent increase.  By the time the contract is approved and implemented, almost two full years of the increase would be paid retroactively.

This acceptance comes after months of delay. In December, the two teams reached a tentative agreement on a proposed contract, and that proposal was approved by the faculty in a ratification voted in January. However, because of the deteriorating economic condition of the state, the contract as proposed and ratified lost District and Board support, and was pulled from the Board’s agenda.

Although the faculty association was not pleased with the delay, their only options were all negative in their favor.

Had they pushed to have the board vote on the contract anyway, the board may have voted it down, forcing negotiations back to the starting line. Or, file a legal complaint against the District claiming they were negotiating in bad faith. These options would have delayed a resolution for up to two years with no guarantee of a salary increase. During that time period, it is likely that the state’s declining economic condition would only get worse.

“In the first option, we would face the whole negotiation process over again, probable impasse and mediation, a time-consuming process,” Long said via e-mail. “In the second option, the body adjudicating a legal complaint about negotiations, would be likely to take from one to two years to rule on our complaint, with no guarantee that it would rule in our favor.”

The negotiating team went with the third option, as their belief was this would guarantee the best compensation increase in the most timely manner, and composed a new resolution which the District and board would approve.