Part-time faculty members at College of the Canyons began a strike Monday morning, reported Hometown Station, a radio station in Santa Clarita, Calif.
The part-time faculty members’ union, AFT Local 6262, is accusing the college of unfair labor practices.
“We did not make this decision lightly,” the union leaders wrote in a notice to adjunct faculty members. “We have been in negotiations with the District for nearly two years and they have refused to bargain in good faith … The most important thing you can do is to withhold your labor from the District. Do not lose faith. Understand this is a long-term struggle and your contribution matters.”
The union is arguing that adjuncts are forced to do free labor and haven’t received fair pay increases in the 2020–21 and 2021–22 contract years. The union and the institution entered negotiations in February 2021 and reached an impasse in March 2022. A mediation attempt in April ended in no agreement.
The college put out a statement informing students about the strike. AFT Local 6262 asked for a 6 percent increase both years but received no increase in 2020, the statement said. A fact-finding panel agreed with the college district’s decision, given the state did not provide funding for cost-of-living adjustments to community colleges that year. A 5.26 percent salary increase for part-time faculty and other permanent employees was authorized for 2021. The college plans to make retroactive payments by January at the latest, according to the statement.
Students were encouraged to let the college know if their instructors planned to strike so substitutes could be found, but the statement reassured students their professors would not be penalized.
“If you receive notice from your instructor that your class will be cancelled because of the strike, that DOES NOT mean your class is actually canceled,” the statement reads. “The college is working to find substitute instructors to ensure students have access to their courses during the last week of the semester, can complete their final exams, and receive grades so they are able to complete this fall semester.”