GCC’s reputation for academic excellence can be attributed to its 747 instructors, yet the salaries of entry-level positions are ranked as 12th out of the 13 community college districts of Los Angeles County.
“We [GCC] can attract good teachers with competitive salaries and we need to bring up the entry level steps in order to attract good faculty,” said Steve Marsden, a professor of mathematics at GCC.
Marsden reported on a survey of campus salaries. Compared to neighboring schools, GCC remains below the median in three out of six pay categories, at the median in one category, and above the median in the last two categories. The last two categories are salaries obtained by professors with bachelor’s degrees in addition to 84 units and those with doctorate degrees.
The goal is to increase the salaries of those professors starting at GCC at the entry-level pay scales. This goal is not easy to reach because of the current budgetary crisis facing California. This crisis is felt by many public service providers, community college being no exception.
Faculty members at GCC took a 1 percent pay cut as a result of this budget crisis.
“The faculty [in effect] lent the district 1 percent of our salary to avoid cutting classes last year,” said Lynn McMurrey, a dance professor at GCC who is active in the teachers’ union. “In order to not cut classes, we took a hit in our salaries.”
“We’ve had two bad budget years. . . and a total of .08 percent, less than 1 percent, pay increase for faculty, which is way behind inflation,” Vice President of Instructional Services, Steve White said. He confirmed, “The 1 percent pay cut for faculty and staff helped minimize the reduction of classes and faculty layoffs.”
The reduction in budget has impacted GCC’s overall staff levels, with staffing cuts being felt in all departments and offices on campus. Another example is the shortage of custodial staff, with 8 fewer in maintenance than 3 years ago, according to Executive Vice-President of Administrative Services Larry Serot.
The budget crisis has resulted in a reduction of classes offered, dispite faculty pay cuts, and in increased enrollment fees.
“We made a conscious decision to cut as few classes as possible,” said McMurrey.
Soseh Khodaverdian, 19-year-old business major, feels good knowing that all employees of GCC were not just concerned with their own incomes but also with students’ wellbeing. “They are doing this for the students, for our education,” she said.
“We are perhaps in the bottom third of the pay scale in comparison to other California community colleges,” said White. “We would like to move upward towards our goal and this year the faculty and staff should get a 4 percent raise if our negotiation approved.”
The college’s board of trustees and the teachers’ union have reached a tentative agreement for a scheduled 4 percent pay increase. Glendale Community College’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved this vote on Monday, November 15.
“We have a tentative membership agreement,” said Mike Allen, the president of the American Federation of Teachers that represents GCC faculty. “We [faculty] think it’s a start. We’ve conducted studies that show we fall behind compared to neighboring faculty.” The college would like to be above the median or at the median in salary comparisons to other colleges. “We see this year as the first year to the start of that process,” said Allen.
Many students agree that the professors are worthy of their long-awaited pay raise. “They work hard and they deal with a lot of stress; they deserve it,” said student Tyler Nyczaj.
“GCC faculty has given up a lot so we can continue to serve students and I am very proud of that,” said McMurrey.