In a bid to tackle an ongoing budget crisis, City College of San Francisco leadership laid off 67 employees and dismissed two high-ranking administrators in the past week.
“This decision was not easy nor was it made lightly, but I truly believe it was in the best interest of our institution,” Chancellor David Martin wrote in a Jan. 3 letter to the college community.
The notice to issue layoff notices to the employees was filed on Oct. 29, days before Martin’s chancellorship began. Martin, who suddenly replaced Associate Vice Chancellor Dianna Gonzales as negotiator in December, wrote that further negotiations to address the impact of the layoffs is an option.
Service Employees International Union 1021 negotiators urged the administration to use furloughs rather than layoffs to save the 67 jobs.
At a special meeting of the Board of Trustees in late December, classified labor officials said they were close to striking a deal with Gonzales. One added that nearly all of the employees who received pink slips are people of color and female.
“Once again, I have to ask you, trustees, where is there any wisdom for you as a board directing the chancellor to now engage in war with SEIU rather than negotiate in good faith?” SEIU 1021’s Athena Steff said at the Dec. 30 meeting. “Look down at your hands. Is there blood on them?”
Steff also said the college was not forthcoming with needed information required for negotiating in good faith and had been wastefully spending on attorneys to fend off unfair labor practice charges.
Furloughs were not in the best interest of the college’s financial sustainability and long-term viability, according to the chancellor.
“I believe our institution is at a critical juncture on many fronts and the hard decisions may not be fully behind us,” Martin wrote. “I remain committed to finding a sustainable path forward so our students, employees, and communities may continue the mission of the college today and into the future.”
The number of classified staff has been reduced for years.
“During fiscal year 2019-2020, CCSF had 790 paid classified employees, and 671 in fiscal year 2020-2021 as of February 19, 2021. 2. In fiscal year 2019-2020, classified employees’ earnings were $50,831,853; benefits paid by the employer were an additional $22,236,403, or 44%, for a total of $73,068,256,” according to a June 2021 internal audit report.
The chancellor has noted the possibility of issuing layoff notices for instructors with American Federation-Teachers 2121 in March. (Disclosure: This reporter, a graduate of the college, is a member of the union as a temporary part-time instructor in the Journalism Department.)
“Look, this district is going down the wrong path,” AFT 2121 President Malaika Finkelstein said at the Dec. 30 meeting. “They’re pursuing administrative Game of Thrones shenanigans instead of looking at what’s actually good for our students at our college.”
Two administrators were dismissed after the Board of Trustees met in closed session.