El Camino Instructors to Protest Salaries

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El Camino College instructors, frustrated over stalled contract talks, are taking their complaints public with plans to picket at graduation ceremonies Friday.

Talks broke off with college administrators several weeks ago after faculty members, who have not received a pay raise in three years, rejected an offer that included 1% salary increases in July and January.

"That's an insult considering we haven't gotten any pay raise in the last three years," said Lance Widman, a political science professor and president of the faculty union.

The union requested this week that a state mediator step in to end the standoff.

The instructors, who want an additional 2% raise during the 1995-96 school year, will distribute flyers at graduation detailing their complaints, Widman said.

Contract talks began 18 months ago for college instructors, who earn $29,000 to $60,000 a year.

Officials at the Torrance-area college said the school cannot make a more generous offer to instructors. Dwindling funds from the state have made such increases impossible, said President Sam Schauerman.

Members of the El Camino Federation of Teachers, which represents 700 full- and part-time employees, voiced dissatisfaction with college administrators at a union meeting last week. All of the 100 faculty members in attendance cast no-confidence votes against Schauerman, and 95% of them voted no confidence in the board of trustees.

Instructors, barred in their contracts from striking, also will take their protests into the classrooms.

In the past, instructors often have permitted students to be added to full classes. But many instructors plan to refuse to permit additional students to enroll in their summer and fall classes once the roster is full, Widman said.

That news disappointed Schauerman, who said classroom protests hurt students while doing little to further negotiations.

Schauerman said college administrators would like to continue negotiations with the faculty, but he said talks could not resume if the union called for state intervention.

Widman said teachers would be willing to accept the college's last offer if they were given assurances of a more generous raise in the next several years.

"How can I assure them of that?" Schauerman said. "I have no idea what the state is going to do."

The college received $30 million in state funds last year, and officials expect a 50% decline in funds this year, said business manager Victor Hanson. Increased enrollment fees and more revenue from local property taxes are expected to help make up the difference.

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