Union Democrat staff

The Yosemite Community College District released a statement late Wednesday afternoon flatly rejecting the teachers union demands, which it called so exorbitant it would leave the district financially unstable.

The Yosemite Faculty Association has called a strike for Nov. 27-28 to protest what they consider unfair labor practices by the district, which includes Columbia College and Modesto Junior College., 2018, by some members of the Yosemite Faculty Association:

The union’s demand also would be unfair to to non-YFA employees who settled for lower amounts, the district statement said.

“We have given our best effort to avoid a strike, including making a new offer on Nov. 21, 2018. In September, we participated in state mediation to examine the facts and help the parties reach a settlement. The mediator’s fact-finding report is expected by Dec. 6.”

The district statement called its offer of 6 percent increase — 2 percent in 2017-18 and 4 percent in 2018-19 — final.

Union President Jim Sahlman has said the offer is worse than previous offers and was evidence of an administration that was not bargaining in good faith.

He could not be reached immediately for comment Wednesday night.

The union has proposed being paid at the median level of the districts of similar size and has not released an exact percentage increase, but the district statement said that would amount to a 22 percent increase.

Union members also wanted smaller class sizes. The district statement said this issue has been referred to the faculty and administration class committee for review.

The district said YFA members work eight and a half month and receive medical benefits for the whole year and the district pays 18% of their salary paid into retirement accounts.

“In the event of a strike, our campuses will remain open,” the district statement said.

They referred students to their college website for updated information.

“We remain hopeful that the YFA will reconsider its decision to strike and that through our mutual efforts we can keep this labor dispute from negatively impacting our students, faculty, staff and the educational mission of Modesto Junior College and Columbia College,” the statement said.

Next week’s strike is in addition to a strike the union may hold next semester if the two parties cannot agree on a contract.

Teachers have been working without a contract since June 30, 2016.