CSEA and KCCD negotiations reach a halt resulting in KCCD declaring impasse

Bianca Cacciola, Reporter

The Kern Community College District has been negotiating a new successor contract with the California School Employees Association (CSEA) since May. After a negotiation meeting on Oct. 31, KCCD had to declare an impasse in the result of an unsuccessful attempt to reach an agreement with CSEA on monetary items that were desired by the district.

“The district will be filing the required paperwork with the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) in the next few days. Despite filing for an impasse, the District remains willing and eager to talk with CSEA at any time in the hopes that an agreement can still be reached,” Tom Burke, KCCD Chancellor, said in a press release.

PERB forwarded the request of a mediator to the State Mediation & Conciliation (SMCS) and confirmed that a mediator would be contacting the district.

“A mediator has been assigned and is currently scheduling dates for mediation with the district and CSEA,” Tonya Davis, KCCD Vice-Chancellor, said.

The successor agreement began in December 2018 when CSEA submitted an initial proposal to the Governing Board. That proposal was not accepted until April 11, 2019. The negotiations between CSEA and the district began on May 9, 2019.

“CSEA and the District have met on a total of eight dates in an attempt to negotiate a successor agreement,” according to the KCCD/CSEA updated negotiation form.

CSEA members and supporters held a picketing event on behalf of the District workers on Oct.11 in Ridgecrest.

“What we are trying to accomplish here is just to pick up fair wages similar to what is going on similar to other community colleges,” CSEA Chapter President Mike Barrett said to the Daily Independent Newspaper.

A similar picketing event took place in Bakersfield at the corner of 21st Street and L Street on Oct. 31.

Monetary articles that were being negotiated would have cost CSEA nearly $7.5 million and KCCD nearly $1.6 million if all articles were agreed upon. The costly areas that were being debated on dealt with organizational rights, compensation, fringe benefits, holidays, and vacation.

If negotiations would have gone through, CSEA would have received extra benefits such as five additional vacation days, additional reasonable release time for Chapter President or designee, increase cap above current contract language, and more. The district in return would receive 2.5 percent off of the 2018-2019 schedule, wages not less than minimum wage, increases cap based on current contract language, and two percent on the 2019-2020 schedule according to the KCCD/CSEA updated negotiation form.

“There have been no further negotiations with CSEA since impasse was declared,” Davis said.