Pasadena City College officials violated the law when they canceled winter session for the 2012-2013 academic calendar and must restore a semester calendar and pay employees for lost wages, according to a preliminary ruling from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).

The July 30 ruling comes after claims that the negations for the 2012-2013 academic calendar were not done in good faith or in accordance with collective bargaining rules.

On August 29, 2012 the District adopted a 2012-2013 academic calendar which did not include winter session. The decision was met with protests from students at a Board meeting and complaints from the PCC Faculty Association (PCCFA), which accused the district of unfair labor practices in December 2012. The charges alleged that the district implemented the new terms without consulting or negotiating with the PCCFA.

“A memorandum accompanying the recommendation cited pedagogical reasons for adopting a trimester calendar, but averred that moving to a trimester system would increase District revenue by approximately $600,000,” according to PERB records.

The memorandum also stated that winter session was not “the norm” as it had been initiated in 2004 when the economy was strong and the District had “full funding for enrollment growth”.

However, the PERB’s administrative law judge ruled that the District violated the EERA when it failed to bargain with the PCCFA for changes to the academic calendar.

According to the PERB ruling the District must cease and desist from “unilaterally changing the school calendar from semesters to trimesters without notice and an opportunity to bargain.

The ruling also ordered the District to cease from denying PCCFA the right to represent bargaining unit employees in their relations with the District and from interfering with the rights of bargaining unit employees when represented by their organization.

What does this mean for PCC?

According to PERB records the District must “make affected employees whole for any losses suffered as a result of the change, including interest at a rate of seven (7) percent per annum.”

The college must also restore a semester calendar for the next successive academic year.

It has not been decided when winter session will be reinstated.

Neither Robert Bell, Senior Vice President and Assistant Superintendent of Academic and Student Affairs, nor Belinda Brown, President of the Board of Trustees, were available for comment.

 

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