For years, employees of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) have believed the district has overlooked their needs to help ensure the execution of student goals.
This neglect was expressed by representatives of the Classified Management Association (CMA) at the latest Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, May 3.
CMA continues to fight to receive equity, with LA Southwest College CalWorks Director and CMA President Blanca Barajas taking the lead.
“I am here to ask that the board and the district administration approve our petition, filed with the Public Employee Relations Board on March 17, 2023, to be recognized with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, Ashby union,” Barajas said.
Ashby union is sought after by the CMA for its democratic perspective and range when dealing with the oversight and representation needed by classified employees.
One specific struggle shared within the district is that work should be paid and recognized in accordance to what is being done, rather than overlooked and causing the workload to double on others.
President for AFT 1521A Hazel Alonso highlighted how the improper treatment of staff has led to a repetitive cycle and insufficient workspace, beseeching the board to address the “mighty elephant in the room,” the lack of staffing.
“I am bombarded with employee complaints about the lack of classified hiring, there are more departments being manned by one or two classified staff with no supervisors or back support,” Alonso said. “Empty desks continue to remain unmanned, work continues to bottle neck, existing staff are overworked, overstressed and develop health issues. It is a cycle of self destruction and this administration seems so reluctant to fix it.”
CMA showed their disappointment as their pleas to be heard have been received and weren’t met with action. Members of the board were unwilling to show their support for the workers. With no classified school employee league resolution, classified staff continue to feel overlooked.
“We are more than animated machines,” Alonso said. “There is a prevalent atmosphere in LACCD, that we are continuously thanked, recognized and praised as an afterthought, only gaining a semblance of traction when the administration is admonished for the oversight.”
Alonso also discussed taking further measures with fellow group leaders in support of a lobby day at the capitol, hoping that joint collaboration within the unions could inspire collaboration through unity to meet goals as opposed to infighting.
Another topic that was discussed at the Board of Trustees meeting was the impact of legislation on academic programs, such as AB- 928, AB-1111 and AB 1705. These guidelines were created to help streamline the transfer process of community colleges to four-year institutions.
However, attendees such as Angela Echeverri shared concerns that this attempt to simplify the systems will inevitably leave students ill-prepared and decrease the already struggling enrollment rate across the LACCD.
“I want to reiterate that we are very concerned about some of the unintended consequences of this legislation,” said Echeverri. “As you know our system has been shrinking from about 2.1 million students to roughly 1.6 million or so, we have lost about a quarter of our students statewide. We are just concerned that this legislation is tying our hands and preventing us from serving our students adequately.”
The next public LACCD Board of Trustees meeting will take place on June 7. The meeting will be streamed via Zoom and live on YouTube.