By Carlos Ochoa/Staff writer/@carlosochoaLBCC
Teachers protested for pay raises and the Board of LBCC Trustees voted 5-0 to authorize the Community and Workforce Project Labor agreement at the Tuesday, April 26 Board meeting.
Alexis Ramirez, 22, political science major, who attended the Board meeting, said, “Today, many people had their voice heard. From labor unions to teachers, I am proud to see change first-hand at the college.”
Before the meeting, a protest demonstration was held outside of T100, the Board meeting. The protest included members of the full-time union of teachers, counselors and librarians at LBCC
Once inside audience members were told to leave the room and enter the overflow room across from the meeting room in T1200 due to safety concerns and fire codes, a police officer said. The meeting was aired on a large screen there.
A member of the union, who did not wish to be named, said, “I have been here for 27 years. There was a 2.5 percent cut a few years back and one-and-a-half years ago they restored the cut, then called it a raise. The president has been given a raise, but not us.”
During the meeting, LBCC President Eloy Oakley addressed comments relating to the pay raise of teachers said, “I realize that negotiations require a bit of a dance to get to an agreement and we always seem to come to agreement. It’s an interesting time, as we are trying to invest at LBCC, a lot of reserve money is spent at LBCC. It just hasn’t been used yet, technology or classified staff. I have to think about the probability the college may go through another recession. The college is hoarding money, but not through another. I don’t want to come forward in the future to reduce. Yes, they faculty will get an increase, but we will do it in a responsible way. In no way is that disrespectful and we will continue to work with them to regain strength. Now in a position, where we exceeded classified staff from 2008. Hope we can continue invest in more staff, and continue to respect each bargaining unit for the future.”
After the meeting, Trustee Sunny Zia described the remarks of saving money and said, “So it’s pretty much rainy day reserve, but the question is ‘how much should we put in that?’… . I think we can have the right balance to take care of the faculty and the district in the long term. There’s a delicate balance we can achieve.”
During the meeting Trustees Doug Otto, Virginia Baxter and Zia congratulated Vivian Malauulu on her victory for the area 2 Board of Trustee seat, which is currently occupied by area 2 Trustee Irma Archuleta.
Before the meeting, Ron Miller, the executive secretary of the Los Angeles and Orange counties building and construction trades council, said union members attended to oversee the final vote of the community and Workforce Project Agreement, which will initiate construction at the college with the use of the potential bond measure funds. The voters are being asked June 7 to approve.
During the meeting, four members of the Board commented in favor, and other Board members did not comment, of the agreement before unanimously voting to authorize execution of it.
After the meeting, John Pope, LBCC director of Public Affairs and Governmental relations, said the agreement has been a goal of the college and said it could benefit businesses from the college and local businesses such as the port of Long Beach and the Los Angeles area construction industry.
Board members suggested a ban on cigarettes and e-cigarettes at the college.
In the consent agenda, a budget increase for disabled students was proposed, and Zia said, “We can do more and we should for disabled students.”