Instructors, librarians and counselors at City College of San Francisco participated in a one-day strike on Wednesday, the first in the union's history, in response to what the faculty says are unfair labor practices by the school's administration, according to a union representing the school's faculty.
Although no classes will be held at all nine of the school's campuses, about 1,500 faculty members planned to attend the campuses to walk the picket lines, the American Federation of Teachers Local 2121 said.
Last week, the union's delegate assembly voted unanimously in support of the one-day unfair labor practices strike.
"Administration has left us with no choice but to take action, or risk losing the vital college that we love," political science instructor and president of the faculty union Tim Killikelly said.
The move by the union follows the declaration of an impasse in contract negotiations and a strike authorization vote by union members in March. The union has been in talks with the college for more than a year and working without a contract for 10 months.
The union and the school's administrators remain at odds over faculty pay, with union officials saying current levels remain 3 percent below those seen in 2007.
The school announced earlier this month that it was increasing its offer to faculty to a 7.19 percent raise for all faculty over the next two years, with additional one-time payments totaling 5.36 percent over the same two years.
In a statement, school officials said they would like to give faculty the 18.19 percent raises the union is asking for, but are unable due to a sharp decline in enrollment and the loss of funding expected to result from it.
Union officials said the offer would barely move the base faculty salary above 2007 levels by the time the contract ended in 2018, and that the bonus payments were a ploy to avoid permanently raising base salaries.
"The claim of an unfair practice strike is simply an effort to provide cover for an unlawful strike that will disrupt fall registration and distract us from focusing on reaching an agreement," City College's Chancellor Susan Lamb said today in a statement. "I deeply regret that the union has chosen to strike and hope that this one-day action passes quickly so we can return our focus to our students and their education."
Wednesday is the first day of registration for the 2016 fall semester and a priority enrollment opportunity for veterans, disabled students, foster youth and Extended Opportunity Programs and Services students, according to the school.
In addition, the union says another source of contention stems from a plan by the college's administration to cut college programs by around 26 percent over the next six years.
Enrollment dropped at City College after the Novato-based Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced in 2013 that it was revoking City College's accreditation because of issues with financial accountability and institutional governance.
The decision led to the appointment of a special trustee to oversee the college and a heated political and legal battle. The school is currently in restoration status, meaning it is working to correct the deficiencies.