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MOORPARK : College Workers Protest Stalemate

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Dozens of Moorpark College secretaries and custodians took simultaneous breaks from their duties Tuesday morning to protest the yearlong stalemate in contract negotiations.

About 30 of the college’s 160 classified employees held a “unity break” outside the administration office for about 15 minutes Tuesday in an attempt to spur college officials to offer them more money.

The Ventura County Community College District has about 360 classified employees at its three campuses who have been working without a contract since last July.

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Union negotiators are asking for a 2% pay raise that would cost about $180,000, but college district officials say they cannot afford that much because state funding appropriations have not yet been determined.

Earlier this year, the district approved a 1% pay raise for the faculty, an amount that will cost the district about $300,000.

But classified union representatives claim their members are losing money by the month.

“Inflation has been 3%, so over three years their real income has been cut about 10%,” said Gregory Cross of the Service Employees International Union Local 535.

“They’ve actually had a pay cut and their work load is higher because there are fewer employees to do the same amount of work,” he said.

Chancellor Thomas G. Lakin said the district is unable to discuss details about any pay raise until state funding levels are more firm.

“We won’t know whether or not we can afford anything until our budget is finalized, and that won’t happen until we receive notification from Sacramento about the budget,” he said.

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The district is facing a budget shortfall of $3 million for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Friday.

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