College will restore staff pay cut in 2012-13

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College board members attempted to heal a lingering wound in January by fully restoring five percent pay reductions endured by employees during a financial downturn in 2012-13.

Board President Norma Hernandez announced the trustees’ decision at a special meeting on January 14.

“Due to the district’s severe budget crisis, SWC was looking for options to balance the budget,” she said of the original agreement to cut employee pay.

All employee groups agreed to the reductions. Hernandez said new sources of income allowed the college to repay the employees.

Satellite campuses in National City and San Ysidro qualified as California educational centers, giving the college a $2 million boost. Proposition 30 also provided additional funding and enabled the board to restore 1.5 percent of the total five percent that was taken from employees. Faculty union president Frank Post made a presentation to the board last fall and argued that the district was now in a position to refund the wage cuts.

“I made a presentation along with a written document and politely asked for our money back, gave them proof and walked them step by step and showed the district that our money was still available,” said Post.

CSEA unit members received a 3.5 percent salary restoration from the board in November. Two percent was restored in December. CSEA President Andre Harris said the pay cut impacted him substantially.

“It took about $164 off my monthly check,” Harris said. “It impacted me because I have a family. I was very, very happy (about the pay restoration). It showed that all groups were (treated) equal across the board.”

Hernandez said the college appreciated the staff’s sacrifice.

“The board is grateful of the commitment of our employees,” she said. “Everyone was behind it and we are extremely thankful.”

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