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Columbia College Faculty Among Strikers On Nov. 27-28

Sonora, CA — As anticipated, Mother Lode community college educators will be walking picket lines for two days before month’s end, protesting a number of the district’s labor negotiation activities.

According to Yosemite Faculty Association (YFA) President Jim Sahlman, at last eve’s all-member meeting, the union’s “Unfair Labor Practice Strike” was approved. As reported here, the move comes in the wake of negotiations between YFA and the Yosemite Community College District (YCCD) trustees board, which over the past three years have heated from simmering to well past the boiling point with both sides slinging accusations.

“In only nine hours we had 86 percent of the YFA voting membership participate in this vote,” Sahlman reports. “That is higher than even the impasse-strike vote we had earlier — and considerably higher than most contract ratification votes and YFA officer elections.” He adds that the final tally was 89.7 percent of the membership voting in favor of the two-day demonstration during which members will not be teaching classes, supporting extra-curricular activities or performing any other work-related tasks.

The two-day strike, planned for Nov. 27-28, will see YFA faculty walking picket lines at various locations across Columbia College and Modesto Junior College campuses, wearing red t-shirts and buttons. The union plans to officially inform the district on Monday when Modesto Junior College campus is expected to reopen after a brief closure due to wildfire smoke impacts, and has created a page outlining specific reasons for the two-day strike here for the public. The district, for its part, has indicated that it had a contingency plan in place to cover classes that has not yet been released to the public.

Sahlman says plans for a post-impasse strike in the Spring semester — a much longer one — will go ahead if the YFA and YCCD do not reach an agreement by then. He stresses the differences between the two protests. “We are protesting because we want the YCCD to…bargain in good faith, and avoid causing a post-impasse strike. They are hurting students, not to mention faculty.”