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SMC Faculty Rejects Contract

By Ann K. Williams
Staff Writer

December 1 -- Santa Monica College faculty have voted 395 to 25 to reject a contract they say unfairly denies them the same pay raises college administrators are getting.

The votes were counted Tuesday, and, according to Faculty Association President Lantz Simpson, showed overwhelming opposition to the latest salary proposal by the college.

“We’ve sent a clear message that we’re united behind our negotiators,” Simpson said.

At issue are raises which the Association says are overdue.

College administrators got a 2 percent raise retroactive to January, 2005 and will get a 3.5 percent raise in January, 2006, according to Association figures.

By contrast, the last raise faculty got was 2 percent in August, 2002, and they won’t get another one until mid-February, 2006, when their salaries will go up 3.5 percent.

“This is a matter of fairness and equity for everyone,” said the Association’s chief negotiator Mitra Moassessi.

“Why does the college have money for a raise in administrators’ salaries, but not for faculty’s salaries?” Moassessi asked.

In the last two years, the College has gotten cost of living adjustments of 2.41 percent and 4.23 percent as well as $8.2 million in equalization funds from the State, Simpson said.

“None of that has gone for faculty raises,” Simpson said. “Where did it go?”

Now that the faculty have rejected the District’s offer, it’s up to the Board of Trustees to make the next move, according to Simpson.

“We’re waiting for a more fair offer from the District,” he said. “ If we get a fair offer, we’re ready to settle.”

In the meantime, both sides are waiting for the Board of Trustees to announce who the next College President will be, most likely at the next meeting on December 5.

“I’m hoping that with the new President we can get this settled soon,” Simpson said.

College officials declined to comment on the negotiations -- which are going into their 16th month -- citing legal constraints.

“We’re still at the table,” said College spokesman Bruce Smith. “Negotiations continue.”

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