Classified Negotiations Struggles Continue

After another month of no progress, classified unit members organized to present at the board


Joshua Sanchez

CSEA 262 Second Vice President Brandon Gillett tells the board on Oct. 13 how sitting at the negotiating table has given him the opportunity to hear the experiences of fellow unit members.

After a month of pleading to the Mt. SAC Board of Trustees, conditions still have not improved for Mt. SAC’s CSEA 262 unit members.

Last month, CSEA 262 President Robert Stubbe came before the Board of Trustees to request for classified staff to be provided the option to work remotely and to have their benefits increased as the union did not receive benefits that other unions had received. One notable point of contention was how Stubbe pointed out that the Faculty Association had been able to bargain for a stipend for the hardship that the faculty had encountered in transitioning to working online, but the classified staff, who did work of their own to keep the college running, received nothing.

“The district only asserted that they are designating an alternate day for admission date this year. Time travel is not a thing, so you can’t go back in time and observe an alternate day in the past. This is the basis of a public entity claim that the CSEA field office filed against the district,”
Stubbe said to the board on Oct. 13. “Again, it boggles my mind why the district won’t consider agreeing to one time allocation of floating holiday time to put this issue behind us.”

This compromise would have settled the issue since the district has reportedly claimed to not have the money for the full cost-of-living adjustment the unit has requested.

While his main sticking point was the district’s unwillingness to offer classified unit members these things at the meeting prior, this meeting followed a different tone – one of putting a face to the issue.

Following the lead of faculty members who had previously come before the board to discuss how healthcare benefits were more than a bargaining issue – but rather a matter of life and death – classified unit members shared their stories with the board.

Financial Aid Specialist Sandra Bollier spoke on how she ensured that students were not receiving registration holds from the changes to financial aid that happened over the pandemic.
“I had the opportunity to talk to students to help them to understand the process, to unbill about 1500 students that would have had to pay money back to Mt. SAC so that they could continue to receive financial aid,” Bollier said. ”I did this from the comfort of my home. I worked 40 plus hours, I didn’t look at the clock, if the students needed me I’d shoot them an email.”
Many shared just how many tasks they had to take on to keep the college running, while others shared how they and their colleagues personally felt about being told in no certain terms that they do not matter.

“I have felt the betrayal ripple out across our unit as the administration piled on demands with no appreciation,” CSEA 262 Vice President Brandon Gillett said. “I have had the opportunity to witness the effects of COVID-19 play out across this campus during the last year and a half.”

Despite being treated this way, classified still pressed on.

“If they needed an appointment on a Saturday – I wasn’t working on a Saturday – I would call them on a Saturday to make sure that they had everything they needed,” Bollier added. “Not because I wanted to get paid for that, but because I truly honestly care about our students.”

Still CSEA 262 continues to ask for equity and the unit members have told the board that there have been no changes on that front.

“The Classified Senate urges the Board of Trustees to please support classified by asking the district to discuss these issues fairly and equitably with classified and their CSEA representatives,” Classified Senate President John Lewallen said in closing before applause from unit members.

In an administration where it took time for counselors to be recognized as faculty, it is uncertain whether things will change for CSEA 262.

“Your scrutiny in tending to these matters is the only light at the end of the tunnel, as we do not believe the district is giving proper heed to the concerns of our unit,” Gillett added. “Do not let this situation fester for another month.”

Their next public update will come at the next Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 10.