“Faculty are the ones who teach the students, but classified staff are the ones who facilitate and take care of them,” said Tanna Thomas, Yuba College Instructional Support Analyst.
When students get help at the financial aid office, at the registration desk or in the library, they are most likely getting their help from a member of the college’s classified staff.
Yet to the great disappointment of the classified workers of Yuba College, they have not settled on a contract with the college district. Infact, the contract negotiations between the Board of Trustees and the California School Employees Association are now in their nineteenth month, while classified employees have not received a cost of living adjustment in two years.
Tanna Thomas, Chief Negotiator for the CSEA; Daleen Thomas, President of CSEA Chapter 283; Lorraine Ainsworth, Labor Relations Representative; and Jerry Marois, Labor Relations Representative, have met for the past 19 months with the Board of Trustees’ management team to obtain an equitable proposal.
“During the past 19 months we have relied on patience in a sustained effort at collective bargaining with the Board of Trustees,” said Chief Negotiator Thomas.
Until August 1 of this year Tanna Thomas and CSEA’s team negotiated with Attorney Dorothy Landsberg, the district’s legal counsel, with no tentative proposal in sight. Since the beginning of September, the CSEA team has been negotiating directly with management team members for the Board of Trustees.
Management team members for the Board of Trustees include Paul Mendoza, Vice President of Student Services; George Souza, Interim Director of Personnel Services; and Michael Dencavage, Vice President of Business and Chief Negotiator. Dencavage also works with the Budget Subcommittee, the District Committee and College Site Counsels to develop the annual budget.
Dencavage stated, “The Board of Trustees and I are optimistic that an agreement will be reached soon.”
The concept of Colective Bargaining was structured and signed into law by the California Legislature to ensure fair and equitable treatment to faculty, staff and students of the 70 state community college districts that administer 108 colleges and dozens of locations.
Many Yuba College classified employees, however frustrated they are at the bargaining process itself, are reluctant to speak out against their administrators, even though many sources have said that they feel unappreciated.
Chief Negotiator Tanna Thomas stated, “The workers are very frustrated. They have served the district far longer than many current (board) members. They’re concerned over retirement benefits promised, suddenly empty promises!”
Yet rather than resort to strikes or other more radical steps, the classified staff hope the Board of Trustees will work with the CSEA in negotiations. Most of them remain confident in the negotiations and characterize the CSEA as their representative voice.
Daleen Chapman, President of CSEA Chapter 283 emphatically stated, “Up until this point there has been no fair and equitable proposal. Wednesday night (September 11) Dencavage told the Board of Trustees that he believes the management is close to a settlement. Only if the Board presents a fair and equitable long term proposal, only then will CSEA settle.”
CSEA was formed in 1927 and is democratically controlled through members in more than 750 chapters. The union represents over 190,000 classified staff employees throughout California that account for all support services within 70 community college districts.