By Bridgid Skiba
Dozen of educators seeking a long overdue labor contract for City College faculty were arrested on Mar. 11 following a sit-in at the downtown office of Jeff Sloan, the college’s lead negotiator.
Among the arrestees were American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 2121 President Timothy Killikelly, union Vice President Alan D’Souza, and former union president and current English department faculty member Alisa Messer.
A downtown march and rally by some 100 protesters preceded the sit-in. The protesters included representatives from the American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, the California Federation of Teachers, labor allies, community supporters, and students.
Protesters sang songs and chanted in the rain. “We Say Fight Back!” and “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Where Did All the Money Go?” They could be heard for blocks as police Made way for protesters by stopping traffic.
A union official said that before the march and rally, AFT 2121 members were attending the California Federation of Teachers convention; an annual gathering of 600 union leaders and members.
On Mar. 10, AFT 2121 announced 92 percent of its members voted to support a strike if current collective bargaining failed. The union asserts that City College faculty have been without a contract for more than a year and have not seen an increase in wages since 2007.
“Lawyers have been stalling and refusing to bargain a fair contract,” AFT 2121 Executive Director Chris Hanzo said, “Teachers continue to work without a fair wage and classes are cut that impacts students in a negative way.”
In a statement to Bay City News, Killikelly said educators would prefer not to go on strike: “We would much rather be in the classroom. … (But we were) willing to risk arrest today in order to defend the college that San Francisco deserves and we hope that drawing attention to our struggle with help–our elected Board of Trustees come to their senses.”
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Send an email to: Bridgid Skiba