Community College of Philadelphia staff, faculty rally ahead of potential strike

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With a potential strike looming faculty, staff, and supporters of the Community College of Philadelphia sounded off inside Mint Hall Friday.

"Fair contract is a right that is why we have to fight," chanted members of the Union.

The rally, organized by the American Federation of Teachers with members of CCP, was held just outside the Board of Trustees boardroom.

"We'll do whatever we need to do, include shut this place down if we have to," said one employee.

Union faculty again fighting for things like better pay, policy and class loads. An ongoing battle of contracts for the last three years.

"We're speaking here outside the boardroom, speaking truth to power hoping that Dr. Generals hears us, hoping that our Board of Trustees hear us today," said AFT Local 2026 co-president Junior Brainard.

"I'm hopeful and optimistic," said college president, Dr. Donald Generals. Negotiations are ongoing. The two sides expected to meet again this Sunday."

Doctor Generals says the most current offer on the table is nothing to ignore.

"Our faculty and staff will walk away continuing to be among the highest paid and have the best benefit package both in the commonwealth as well as the sector," he said.

The administration has expressed disappointment with the calls of a strike just weeks before the semester's end. Also adding that the Union's current demands would increase the college's current costs by nearly $83 million.

But for some, like Vera Green, who works in housekeeping and in the cafeteria, it boils down to survival.

"I make $13.49 an hour and I've been here a total of 18 years" Green said.

She's says she not looking forward to a strike, but claims it may be the only way to really send a message to the administration after attempts to negotiate have fallen on deaf ears.

"Hopefully, they'll hear us," she said.

Some students at the rally say they want to see their teachers' demands met.

"They are giving us a quality education here, they deserve to be paid, accordingly," said student Steven Graham.
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