City College of San Francisco supporters and staff held a one-day strike in April over — what they say are — unfair labor practices. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner file photo)

CCSF labor negotiations shift gears as new school year looms

The faculty union and administration at City College of San Francisco returned to a mediator Monday in an attempt to resolve their labor dispute as the first day of school approaches next month.

CCSF and the American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, which represents the school’s faculty members, met three times with a panel of fact-finders in recent weeks after unsuccessful talks with a mediator ended in March.

Faculty at the college have worked without a contract since it expired in June 2015 amid salary negotiations. Both sides have accused the other of unfair labor practices, which the union went on a one-day strike over in April.

The strike followed an offer from the administration to boost faculty pay, but the union declined the offer saying it would have been a minimal increase from their 2007 wages.

Unless the two sides come to an agreement, the fact-finders will release a nonbinding report to establish a factual basis for the negotiations. Recently, the California State University system reached a deal with its faculty union after fact-finders released a report favoring the union.

CCSF and its faculty union met with a mediator all day Friday and again Monday at the recommendation of the neutral fact-finder. There are three members on the fact-finding panel, one selected by each side and a third chosen by both sides.

While they were not allowed to make more than general comments on the negotiations, CCSF Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman and union head Tim Killikelly both acknowledged the mediation process has resumed.

“The parties are again talking to each other,” Mandelman said. “I take it as a positive sign.”

But Mandelman is still concerned a faculty strike this school year could artificially depress student enrollment, which future state funding is based upon.

“If we haven’t resolved this by the beginning of the semester, it’s a serious problem for the college,” Mandelman said.

After next school year, the college is also expected stop receiving state stability funding that has helped keep it afloat as enrollment has suffered after nearly losing its accreditation. (The school is open and fully accredited today.) That stability funding amounted to some $26 million for next school year.

Killikelly would not say whether the union plans to strike next month, but reiterated the union’s willingness to strike as necessary.

“We certainly would strike if we needed to, but I wouldn’t want to say what the exact time or type of strike it would be,” Killikelly said.

The final fact-finding session is scheduled for Thursday, the same day that CCSF’s Board of Trustees is expected to vote on its self-evaluation report.

The report will be used by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges beginning next fall and into winter when the agency decides whether the college will remain accredited.

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