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Clark College Strike Ends

hundreds of people on the sidewalk with protest signs
(Matthew Fields/The Indy)

The faculty strike at Clark College ended after three days. Instructors and students will be back to school as of Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, union members voted in favor of accepting the most recent salary offer.

Suzanne Southerland union president said the union members are really pleased.

 “I know that it was the power of our union and solidarity in our numbers that got us the contract that we deserve and the competitive salaries that will allow us to attract the teachers that our students deserve,” she said.

The new contract not only gives instructors raises, but also changes the way part time instructors, otherwise known as adjuncts, are paid. Here are some of the details.

Under the new contract, all employees will receive a retroactive 1 percent increase for last year. In addition to that, full-time instructors will get a 9% increase.

Also, the starting pay for full-time will change from $53,416 to $62,049. The top pay will change from $76,339 to $87,403. 

Adjunct employees will now be paid a percentage of the starting pay for full-time instructors for a comparable workload. To start with they will make 65% and that will increase over the next four years. By 2022, adjuncts will be paid 72% of a full-time instructors wage. 

This contract did not come easy. On Jan. 13, instructors went on strike and spent two days picketing outside in rain and light snow after months of negotiations failed to result in an acceptable offer. On Jan. 14, The Teachers’ Union and administration came to a tentative agreement. On Jan. 15, union members met to review the contract before taking a ratification vote. The tally was 257 to nine for the contract.

Kelly Love, spokesperson at the college, said this quarter will not have to be extended because the strike lasted only three days. Instructors will work with their department leaders to decide how to make up for lost class time. 

In an email to the college community, Interim President Sandra Fowler-Hill acknowledged the difficult week. Overall, her message was about moving forward.

“I think of the word resiliency when I think of Clark College,” she wrote.

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