The Yosemite Community College District (YCCD) and its faculty union are disputing whether a new contract agreement ratified earlier this year amounts to an 8 percent or 10 percent raise for certificated employees.

Erik Andal, vice president and negotiator for the Yosemite Faculty Association (YFA), said Wednesday the district had a “blatant misinterpretation” of the contract agreement ratified by the district on Jan. 24 following months of contentious negotiations and a two-day unfair labor practices strike in November 2018.

The “smoking gun” in the disagreement referred to whether the compression of the salary schedule from 32 to 25 steps in July 2018 amounted to an independent 2 percent raise separate from the other agreed increases, Andal said.

“I’m trying to keep a hopeful outlook on this that we can sit down and get this resolved without a continued adverse problem-solving relationship,” Andal said.

Coni Chavez, spokesperson for the YCCD, said district and YFA representatives were reviewing the implementation of the salary increases during a closed session meeting of the Board of Trustees on Wednesday.

“The Chancellor looks forward to continuing to work with the YFA to find an amenable resolution,” she said.

Yosemite Community College District includes 299 full-time and 426 part-time instructors at Modesto Junior College and Columbia College.

There are approximately 25,000 students enrolled at the colleges.

Much of the compensation increases in the agreement focused on retroactive salary increases for previous school years where the YFA and YCCD did not have an agreed upon contract.

According to the agreement, faculty would receive a 2 percent retroactive salary increase from July 1, 2017, through July 1, 2018, on the former salary schedule which had 32 steps and two frozen first steps.

A 4 percent salary increase will be applied to the new salary schedule on July 1, 2018, and a 2 percent salary increase will be applied from Jan. 1. All the increases will be on-schedule, or ongoing, salary increases.

Andal said the YFA believed the 2 percent increase in the compression of the salary schedule was separate from the 4 percent increase in July 2018, while the district has argued that it was included.

“When it came out that the district said there was no increase in salary due to the conversion of the salary schedule, the YFA strongly objected,” he said.

Chavez said she could not reach the Chancellor to provide additional comment on the specifics of the compensation dispute.

The cost of the total compensation increases were estimated about $3.4 million.

The salary schedule which took effect on Jan. 1, 2019, has 25 steps, a base salary of $59,926 and a maximum salary of $114,767, according to YCCD documents.

The groups are also disputing the payout of a one-time off-schedule salary increase of 1 percent which was paid to the faculty on Feb. 28, Andal said.

The district cited a government administrative code as the reason to pay employees based on the 2016-17 salary schedule, Andal said.

As a result, faculty were not paid as much as expected, and some faculty who didn’t have a contract in 2016-17 were not paid at all.

Andal said the position of the YFA was that faculty be paid the 1 percent increase under the new compressed salary schedule.

Faculty were paid under the new salary schedule on Feb. 28, Andal said. The other retroactive payments are scheduled to be paid through May of this year.

Chavez said the next regular meeting of the board will be held Wednesday, March 13, at Columbia College.

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.

22687957