MPC teachers want state negotiator to bring up low salary

MONTEREY, Calif. - Frustrated educators from a college in Monterey are taking their complains about low salaries to the state.

The teachers association at Monterey Penninsula College wants a mediator to handle what it says has been a "fruitless" negotiation with the school.

"We are 59 out of 65 colleges. We are in the bottom 10 percent of the state," said Alan Haffa, vice president of the teachers association.

Haffa has been teaching at the college for 14 years and has gone through several rounds of contract negotiations. 

"In the last 10 years, the only two raises faculties have got -- which was a 1 percent raise and a 3 percent raise, so 4 percent total over the last 10 years -- both of those raises occurred after state mediation," Haffa said.

Haffa said that's why the teachers association wants to get the state involved again.

"In the midst of the recession, our faculty voluntarily took a 2 percent pay cut to help out. We also did that in 2012. But after 10 years of really watching our salaries decline and fall to the very bottom, it's reached a point where we can no longer sustain the college and our faculty," Haffa said.

MPC President Walt Tribley said the college has a tight budget and the low pay has to do with miscalculations, that have resulted in a large number of classes not having enough students.

In a statement to KION, Tribley wrote, "Since 2011, the college has used its reserve funding to balance the budget. Using reserve funding to pay for ongoing costs is not acceptable."

On Wednesday, Tribley said the college offered a 1 percent raise to instructors beginning in 2018. That's on top of the 2 percent they already got in July, but it's clear the union wants more money.

If the state approves MPC's request, a negotiator could begin working in November.

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