Leslie Simon (left), 40-year City College of San Francisco faculty member, joins almost one hundredd supporters in a strike outside the Ocean Campus in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

CCSF faculty, students begin day-long strike

Dozens of City College of San Francisco faculty and students didn’t let the rain dampen their spirits Wednesday morning at the start of the faculty union’s first-ever strike outside the main campus.

Holding signs and marching in a circle in front of the school’s science building beneath the trademark sign, “The Truth Shall Make You Free,” the group of some 60 students and faculty donned ponchos and held umbrellas to protect themselves from the rain.

“We’re not here for the money, but we don’t like to be mistreated,” said Jorge Sanchez, who has taught ethnic studies at CCSF for 25 years. He added that many part-time teachers have to take on additional jobs and still barely make ends meet because of their current wages.

Wednesday’s strike is over unfair labor practices alleged by the American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, CCSF’s faculty union, and comes as the union and administration have endured more than a year of unsuccessful contract negotiations over faculty pay.

CCSF officials have offered to boost faculty salaries by 7.19 percent over two years, though faculty would not receive two percent of that increase after next school year unless the college is able to increase its enrollment.

The union shot that offer down, arguing the raise would amount to a 1.7 percent increase over 2007 wages unless enrollment increased at the school.

The college has experienced financial troubles in recent years, losing more than a third of its student population after the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges threatened to revoke its accreditation in 2013.

The school remains open and fully accredited today.

However, the administration canceled classes at all 11 campus Wednesday, citing safety concerns because of the strike.

Alexandra Nickliss, who has taught at CCSF for more than 20 years, said that while she owns a home in San Francisco, she has seen a number of employees leave or take jobs at other colleges because they can’t afford to live in The City on their current wages.

“We’re making less pay than we made in 2007,” Nickliss said. “That’s a message the administration sends that they don’t value the faculty.”

Interim Chancellor Susan Lamb has said she “deeply” regrets the faculty union authorized Wednesday’s strike and said classes were canceled because the school did not anticipate having the necessary personnel onsite to maintain and operate the buildings.

Jesse Geist, 33, a CCSF psychology student and U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, said at Wednesday’s strike that he wants the administration to settle its differences with the faculty.

“I’m missing my classes today,” Geist said. “I fought for my country. I shouldn’t have to fight for my school.”

Students and faculty were planning to hold a noon rally at CCSF’s Civic Center campus at 1170 Market St.

S.F. Examiner staff writer Michael Barba contributed to this report.

City College of San Francisco faculty members and supporters participate in a strike outside the Ocean Campus in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

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City College of San Francisco faculty members and supporters participate in a strike outside the Ocean Campus in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

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CCSF faculty and students rally outside the main campus on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Students and faculty rally outside City College of San Francisco's Ocean Avenue campus Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner)

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