The CFT campaign to secure healthcare for part-time faculty in the community colleges is up and running, and it’s clear that member action has already led to early success in Sacramento.
During the holiday break, 1,400 people sent letters to Governor Newsom and key legislators demanding funding for part-time faculty healthcare. As a result of these efforts, the governor allocated $200 million in his January 10 state budget proposal to fund healthcare for part-time faculty on an ongoing basis. This increase represents more than 400 times the level of funding in the existing state program.
“Governor Newsom understands that the best way to ensure a quality education for our nearly 2 million community college students is to invest in the health of part-time faculty.” — Jeff Freitas, CFT President
The program reimburses community college districts for expenses related to healthcare for part-time faculty, but in recent years the state has allotted only $490,000 annually. The $200 million proposed by Governor Newsom is a remarkable 40,816 percent increase (!!!) in funding.
CFT President Jeff Freitas lauded the governor’s proposal. “Governor Newsom understands that the best way to ensure a quality education for our nearly 2 million community college students is to invest in the health of part-time faculty,” he said. “We look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature to ensure all part-time faculty have access to quality, affordable healthcare coverage.
After a moment of celebration, we must recognize this as just the beginning. CFT members and allies will have to keep the heat on over the coming months, and all the way through June 30 when the state budget is finalized and signed. We must ensure this funding remains in the state budget and advocate for a system that actually gets the health coverage benefit to the part-time faculty who need it.
The CFT set its sights on this goal and launched a statewide campaign last fall during Campus Equity Week. Earlier in the year, delegates to CFT Virtual Convention passed a resolution in support of aggressively seeking healthcare for part-time faculty, now a primary goal of the campaign.
During the coming weeks the CFT will ramp up a robust and dynamic network of activists. There will be many opportunities for members to engage on this important issue. One is a Part-Time Faculty Conference now scheduled for May 1-2 (rescheduled from late February). Faculty will have the opportunity to join together in strategy and discussion and — due to the later date and Sacramento venue — lobby legislators in the State Capitol to support the governor’s $200 million proposal to fund healthcare for part-time faculty.
All educational employees — all workers — deserve the basic right of healthcare, and we are poised to get there for part-time faculty. Our time is now — let’s keep the momentum going to transform healthcare coverage for part-time faculty and continue advancing equity in higher education in California.
— By Chase Golding, CFT Part-Time Faculty Campaign Coordinator