After last year’s heavily pandemic-impacted legislative session reduced the number of bills signed to its lowest number since 1967, the CFT is again taking up the adjunct cause on bills directed towards raising the part-time percentage cap on teaching in a single district, and in developing a path towards part-time/full-time pay parity.

The first of these two bills, AB 375 (Medina, D-Riverside), asks for a change to state Education Code raising the load an adjunct can teach in one district from 67% to 85% of a full-time load. The bill in part would amend part-time rehiring preference language put into the Education Code by the CFT-sponsored SB 1379 in 2016.

More specifically, AB 375 makes a community college districts’ receipt of Student Equity and Achievement Program funding contingent upon the district’s negotiation of rehiring preference language that shall not restrict an adjunct from receiving between an 80 to 85% equivalent of a full-time teaching load. At the same time, should an adjunct with rehiring preference choose to teach less than 80 to 85%, they would still have that option.

Though the increase in the teaching cap is only between 17 to 22% of existing law, in many cases this would amount to an additional class in one district for an adjunct, thus reducing the number of districts or locations an adjunct would need to drive to get the work they need to support themselves and their families. Many adjuncts driving to three or four locations could simply drive to two or three, or for those adjuncts not interested in teaching a full load, but still needing to teach at two locations, it will now allow them to work at only one.

If the bill passes, it would mean less time for travel, and more time for campus involvement in committee work, shared governance, or simply more personal and family time. Further, in many cases where salary advancement is based on the number of courses taught, these same faculty can move up the salary schedule more quickly.

Seeking statewide pay parity

 AB 375 is a small solution to the problem of freeway flying, made necessary not only because of teaching cap restrictions, but also the lack of equal pay between full-time, and adjunct faculty, who often make less than half of what their full-time colleagues earn. A union bill designed to tackle this longstanding inequity is being jointly sponsored by CFT and the California Teachers Association.

AB 1269 (Garcia, D-Bell Gardens) would require the Chancellor’s Office to conduct a comprehensive study of part-time faculty and identify specific policy and fiscal recommendations that would enable the community colleges to achieve a compensation schedule that achieves pay equity for part-time faculty by January 1, 2027.

AB 1269 draws on the legacy of AB 420, signed into law in 1999 by calling for the Chancellor’s Office, “to collect and report part-time faculty parity data.” The bill calls for a “quantitative analysis examining duties and tasks of part-time faculty as compared to full-time faculty,” involving “…classroom teaching, preparation, office hours, record keeping, student evaluations, recommendations, and other professional practices.” The analysis is to be completed by July 1, 2023.

Following the completion of such a study, the Chancellor’s Office would then be required to convene a working group, including representatives of the community college faculty unions, and consult various representatives of the education community for the purpose of identifying a statewide definition of part-time faculty parity that could be applied locally.

“Pay parity for adjuncts would mean future adjuncts not having to walk in my shoes,” said CFT Vice President Linda Chan, president of Citrus College Adjunct Faculty Federation and co-chair of the CFT Part-Time Faculty Committee, who recently testified in support of the bill before the Assembly Higher Education Committee. “As an example, despite working as an adjunct, I had to give birth to my daughter without insurance coverage because I could not afford it” Chan told legislators.

Both AB 375 and AB 1269 have passed out of the Higher Education Committee, and have moved on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee where they are currently in suspense, or on hold, due to financial concerns. CFT is confident that AB 375 can be moved out of Appropriations to the Assembly floor for a vote. The picture for AB1269 is less clear, with the possibility that it may become a two-year bill, or be amended to a reporting bill.

— By Geoff Johnson, assigning editor of Part-Timer newsletter, member of the CFT Part-Time Faculty Committee and the AFT Guild, San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community Colleges