Modesto Junior, Columbia Colleges Brace for Potential Faculty Strike

MODESTO -- The threat of a potential strike may soon wipe some smiles away at Modesto Junior and Columbia colleges.

Instructors and professors do not want to strike but they say they will if the school district does not negotiate in good faith.

Students worry about how a walkout may impact their grades.

“I’ve heard it from so many teachers: 'We know this is going to affect you badly,'" student Chad Orndoff said.

Staff members are fighting for what they believe is fair.

“We absolutely do not want to strike," Jim Sahlman, president of the Yosemite Faculty Association, told FOX40 over the phone.

Sahlman says teachers have been without a contract for more than two years and their instructors are paid 22 percent less than the median income for teachers.

"We’ve asked the district, 'What do you think is a good timeline to get us there?' And they don’t want to do it, they don’t want to create a plan," Sahlman said.

According to a letter published on the Yosemite Community College District’s website, the district presented a 6 percent faculty salary increase.

Sahlman said staff is also upset with a potential change in class sizes.

"The district wants to unilaterally impose class size increases on faculty with no faculty input," Sahlman said. "That’s frankly just absurd. That’s fantasy. We have over 2,100 sections of face-to-face classes."

The school district says they will be prepared if teachers walk out.

The union says they will make a decision after the negotiation process is complete.