After greeting attendees at the local presidents’ collaboration on Friday afternoon at the 2023 Council of Classified Employees, the CCE President Carl Williams told them they would hear about a report on classified finances, the first one of its kind which would make what was happening with salaries more transparent. 

A report hasn’t existed before because, unlike data for other school employees, which is fairly similar, that’s not true with classified jobs, making it more difficult to compare peer institutions.

The report focuses exclusively on classified employment, and spending by the district on classified salaries and per student. It covers both community college and K-12 and includes district reserves as well. The hope is that with this information, members can compare district priorities in what they spend money on and use the information in negotiation.

For Anel Gonzalez, president of the Palomar College Council of Classified Employees, the information in the report has been helpful. It makes their salary analysis clearer to their members and means they can make decisions based on data.

They presented the district with numbers that contradicted things they’d been told Gonzalez said, and that made a real difference. “They’re trying to take our COLA [cost-of-living adjustment], but then all of a sudden, after we met with them, and showed them this information, literally two weeks later, they called the Budget Committee back in and they presented revisions,” Gonzalez said. “It really helped us talk to the President and, and show her the facts, and just be like, ‘Why are you guys trying to lowball us? Why are you trying to take the COLA?.’”

CFT’s political team also spoke to the presidents. The presentation centered on the fact that the most important thing locals can do is have a Committee on Political Education, or COPE account, where members can give a certain amount of money a month to be spent on politics, such as school board races.

CFT started a program to support local unions in their elections, with benefits like a design firm CFT uses creating a template with local logos and any talking points the local has about the candidate, and CFT will pay for it to be mailed out.  In addition, there is an online voter guide where candidates can be added.

CFT President Jeff Freitas also addressed the locals’ presidents, welcoming them and telling them CFT leadership, meaning him, Secretary Treasurer Lacey Barnes and Executive Vice President Juan Ramirez, could come talk to members. “We like to come out and help where we can, at executive board meetings or membership meetings,” Freitas said. “We were at a rally last night at 2121, San Francisco City College, and we spoke at their board around their issues. So, use us!”