Full-time teachers at Corning Community College are already in the midst of negotiating a new contract with the school but some teachers say there’s not much negotiating going on at all.
“Unfortunately right after the last meeting we had to file a declaration of impasse. Which is our way of seeking help from the state to help get negotiations going again so we’re hoping that they will appoint a mediator and there will be a fact-finding process and so that’s where were at right now,” says Ryan Hersha, President of the Professional Educators of Corning Community College (PECCC).
Though the mediator has no power to make any final decisions, Hersha says he hopes it will help change the conversation.
“When we came to the negotiation table all we heard was zero. Instead of looking to correct the problem that the college faces. Our negotiators were met time and time again with nothing but zero, zero, zero so that’s unfortunately why we went to impasse,” Hersha says.
Hersha is one of many faculty members at CCC who say they’re concerned that the school isn’t investing enough in their full-time faculty.
In fact, he says that over the last 8 years, full-time positions have dropped nearly 20%. College President Dr. Kate Douglas says there’s a reason for that.
“The overall full-time employee base at Corning community college has decreased that includes all employees full-time faculty as well and the reason we have to decreased is because we are smaller college we are 25% smaller in terms of student enrollment than we were in 2011,” Dr. Douglas says.
“So with a smaller student base we have a smaller employee base,” she says.
And though the administration and faculty may disagree on where spending should be focused in the future, Dr. Douglas says Corning Community College spends more of their budget on instruction than many other SUNY schools.
“We invest a higher percentage of our overall operating budget in instruction then the average. So I’m confident that we are investing in the right thing which is our faculty and our students,” Dr. Douglas says.
Despite the frustration with negotiations, Hersha says the teachers at CCC are proud to be there and want to make sure student success continues well into the future
“I think at the end of the day our priority needs to be focusing on where we going to invest our money, where we going to put our energy forward as a college. And we really feel that now is the time to reverse this past of disinvestment in teaching and learning at the college,” he says.