Last Thursday, August 26 the joint bargaining team met with PCC administration to continue working toward an agreement on Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) for 2021-22 and 2022-23. Once again, our team documented the session on Twitter, and you can read a blow-by-blow account of the discussion here.
Administration is inching closer to an offer that would maintain the 2.5% yearly COLAs we negotiated in 2019. However, the cost of living in the Portland metro area is currently increasing at a rate of around 5% per year! And while the administration would love for us to accept their position that the College is in financial distress due to the pandemic, we know this is not the case. Here’s how we know that:
- Fewer class sections offered saves the college money (mostly on the backs of part time instructors)
- The College has saved millions of dollars by pushing operating expenses onto employees via remote work
- PCC has received $54 Million in federal relief money
- The Oregon State Legislature’s budget allocation for community colleges includes $21 Million in unanticipated funding for PCC
Toward the end of the meeting, administration did finally offer to maintain the 2.5% COLAs in 2021-22 and 2022-23, but with a couple of caveats:
- The COLAs would be implemented slower, in 6-month increments—1.5% / 1% / 1.5% / 1%; and
- The final increment would be rolled back in 2023 if enrollment in 2021-22 declines below 18,642 (which would be an 8% decrease from 2020-21)
Obviously, we’re not interested in helping the College *save* money by cutting our COLAs, nor are we interested in negotiating contingencies. If we have learned anything from the last year, it’s that hits to enrollment are often offset by other dollars, and we don’t need to negotiate ourselves into a hole in 2023.
We will meet again on Wednesday, September 1 at 2:30 p.m. where we will share our team’s counteroffer. Follow along on Twitter if you are interested!