CTA contract widens salary gap

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By Aletheia Meloncon

By Aletheia Meloncon

The California Teachers Association contract that was ratified March 18 gives a cost of living increase for faculty. However, it fails to close the salary gap that leaves part time faculty at a disadvantage.

Dariush Haghighat, associate professor of political science and treasurer for the Riverside Community College District/ CTA Executive Board, calls for amending the contract to close the widening distance between the salaries of full-time and part-time faculty.

“The way that the contract is now the part-time faculty is basically working as cheap labor,” he said.

Karen Skiba, president of the RCCD/CTA clarified that raises that full-time faculty gets is also given to part-time faculty. The only difference being the amount of hours that each is allowed to work.

“Part-time faculty is allowed to work their normal hours, substitute and do special projects,” Skiba said.

The CTA’s constitution has changed since the past several years with part-time faculty becoming more involved and having more say.

According to Skiba, when the constitution was written seven years ago, part-time faculty could only vote for one representative for part-time. Now part-time faculty can be selected for any position on the RCCD/CTA.

Currently there are representatives and a vice president for full-time and part-time faculty for the RCCD/CTA on each campus.

“Part time faculty could actually get to be president, if they so desired,” Skiba said.

Not only is the gap widening for part- time faculty but cost of living adjustments may not be a guarantee when the state budget is passed in July by Schwarzenegger, governor of California.

The adjustment a 4.53 percent increase to the faculty, but it is not a fixed amount. If the budget is cut as many are anticipating that might not leave any adjustments for the faculty or they will receive substantially less than what they are expecting.

“It was not adequately conveyed to faculty that the adjustment might not be what they expected,” Haghighat said. People cannot assume it will be there the way the economy is going.

The contract that was ratified is for three years and gives salary adjustments as follows: the first year they are compensated with the adjustment, with the second and third year is the adjustment and 1 percent. The contract also makes these adjustments retroactive from July of 2007.

Many will see the pay increase as early as April, but for others theirs will not start until June. A memo was issued by the RCCD that the retroactive pay would not be available to department chairs, coordinators or coaches.

Their pay increase would take effect in June. This sudden announcement has not gone over well with department chairs who oppose their exclusion of the retroactive increase.

“I plan on challenging this once I find out if this decision is final,” Haghighat said.

A meeting was scheduled for March 27 to address this.

The CTA for RCC is selected by faculty to do collective bargaining as an agent under the provisions of Senate Bill 160, to represent the faculty on salary and fringe benefits and professional matters related to working conditions. This information is available at http://www.rcc.edu/faculty.

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