Picketing COC faculty share their stories

COC full-time faculty members demonstrate outside of the college campus. Contract negotiations with the college are set for today.

For the second consecutive day, the full-time faculty members of College of the Canyons were on campus picketing in an attempt to generate support for a new contract.

Educators stood out in the cold once again Tuesday as they prepare for negotiations with the college on today.

Lead negotiator Garrett Hooper said the group’s passion will not be deterred and that they will show out with a renewed sense of spirit that will only grow unless the college negotiation team opts to give the group what they want — a raise that would total about $500,000 more than what the college is offering the group now.

“We only intend to step it up from here — if we are unable to come to an agreement tomorrow,” Hooper said as he stood alongside his peers.

The group once again had their green signs that demand a “Fair Contract Now” and garner honks from passersby who are on their way to school.

Anne Marenco and Lori Marie Rios are a pair of picketing educators who said they have taught at the college for more than 10 years and can remember faculty receiving raises when they started back in 2007.

However, Marenco said there wasn’t another for seven years.

“I don’t know about Lori Marie, but I have children in college, children in grad school. I’m supporting a family. My husband is semi-retired, and I’m not able to keep up with the cost of living,” said Marenco, adding that she is fortunate to have a very low house payment and fewer bills than the ordinary teacher.

Even so, if Marenco doesn’t opt to teach extra classes in the winter and summer sessions, “then we don’t take vacations,” she said, “and I have to teach overload during the semester just to make our bills.”

They’re not taking extravagant vacations, either — it’s camping in a trailer, Marenco said, as cars continued to honk over the teachers’ cheers.

A statement from the college on Monday said college leaders are confident that the bargaining process will yield a fair and positive outcome for all.

“The college values and recognizes the role that all employees play in the success of our students.”

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