Conversations with Union Leadership regarding COLAs

Dear Colleague,

I would like to thank Union leaders Chief Shop Steward Paul Fernandez and SCCFT President Eric Hamako for meeting with me twice last week. The first meeting was to inform them of our current situation, that Administrative Exempt employees will have their 3% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) paused for 2020-21. During this meeting I requested consideration and invited them to join me in future conversations to identify opportunities for savings equivalent to this year’s projected COLA costs for Classified staff and Faculty. Additionally, the topic of suspending COLAs for all staff was also raised during a regular bi-monthly meeting for discussions regarding the College’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan. It is my hope that these meetings are the first in a series of many that will collectively help us problem solve ways to address the budget shortfall in permanent state revenue loss associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

As mentioned in the campus message early last week, the College made the decision to pause COLAs for Administrative Exempt staff. This pause will result in approximately $240,000 in savings. Additionally, the ongoing cost for the COLAs distributed to Classified staff and Faculty beginning in 2020-21 totals approximately $900,000. We have scheduled a meeting with the Classified Union leadership on July 15 to begin the conversation, with a similar request sent to the Faculty union leadership to discuss these costs and other budget strategies. While other colleges are doing more temporary furloughs, we have contained furloughs while maintaining employee benefits. We are hoping to work cooperatively with Union leadership to find ways to alleviate the impact of COLA costs on our reduced budget by the end of July.

The Executive Team is committed to exploring every option available, along with the tremendous solutions shared in the employee budget survey, to identify sources of permanent budget reductions and to preserve as many positions as possible at the College.

I look forward to continuing to work with the Union leaders to develop creative solutions to address our COVID-19-related budget crisis.

With appreciation for your dedication to teach and serve our students,

Cheryl Roberts, Ed.D.
Office of the President

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