Our negotiations with the administration team since Spring have been based on two principles:
- Portland Community College employees should be able to afford to live in Portland and the Portland Metro area.
- PCC should compensate employees with equal pay for equal work.
Neither of these principles is complicated or hard to understand. But neither can be achieved in just one bargaining cycle. We will need to come back over and over, to insist on these basic values.
We have two negotiations sessions scheduled next week: Monday, September 11 (9am-2pm) and Wednesday, September 13 (9am-12pm). We continue to need to make some progress on these priorities. The most important thing you can do is attend one, or both, of next week’s sessions and help us move towards an agreement. Your attendance shows the administration that these basic values matter, and that PCC employees care about one another. If so, sign up to attend the next meetings at the CLIMB Center.
In this cycle, we asked for a 4% cost of living increase — modest compared to what is needed in the Portland area according to this research. The administration team has so far refused to offer any cost of living increase, instead talking about a 1% one-time lump sum payment. Obviously, the size of the offered payment is a problem, but the deeper issue is that a one-time payment does nothing to meet the basic principle. Workers should be able to afford to live where they work. The cost of living in Portland is on a steep increase with no sign of leveling off anytime soon, driven by rising housing costs!
After surveying you to gather our FCE and FFAP members’ concerns, we focused on two inequities in this cycle — underpayment to “part-time” faculty and disparities in the retirement programs for classified staff as compared to full-time faculty and academic professionals. (To see how steep the pay inequities are for instructors, go here.). While the administration team has so far been willing to talk about these issues, our members need more than talk. We need at least some movement to ameliorate these longstanding inequities.
Your negotiations team appreciates how many of you have already attended sessions and engaged in this process. We need your continued engagement in this process and hope you sign up to attend bargaining sessions next week.
Shirlee Geiger, Bargaining Team Member