One year out from the historic passage of AB 190 (the state budget bill for that year), many CFT locals have been successful in securing full-time equivalent medical coverage for their part-time members, while others remain engaged in awakening the moral consciences of their admin and local boards of trustees to do the right thing.
Because of CFT’s successful campaign, California law now provides college districts that provide part-time faculty some form of health insurance with reimbursement for 50% of the district’s costs. Full reimbursement is available when the insurance is offered to all multi-district part-time faculty and the employee’s assignment is equal to, or greater than 40% of a full-time assignment.
In other words, a district can choose to pay for 50% of its part-time medical insurance costs by offering lesser quality coverage, or have their part-time medical costs fully covered by the state by offering part-time faculty the equivalent medical coverage they provide their full-time faculty.
To date, twelve CFT locals representing approximately 10,650 part-time faculty have potential access to AB 190 Option 1 (100% state reimbursed) healthcare. For other CFT locals representing part-time faculty, the fight goes on.
After a hard-fought contract campaign which saw the local go to impasse with the district, the El Camino Federation of Teachers secured an MOU which requires the district to reimburse its part-time faculty working at 40% or above of full-time equivalent load up to $3,300 per semester for a Covered California healthcare plan. This is a significant bump from the mere $75 semester that part-timer faculty received previously.
Still, with Covered California individual plans running more than $500 a month and plans providing dependent coverage costing even more, the sum provided part-time faculty falls well short of actual need. Further, the $3,300 per semester cap is only funded to $300,000 , which means only 90 of El Camino’s 500+ part-time faculty could take advantage of the plan.
“If the district wants to refer to faculty as family, then it needs to fund family wellness, and put people first,” said El Camino part-time faculty member Laila Dellapasqua. The district has that chance: El Camino’s MOU does allow for the healthcare deal to be reopened next year.
El Camino’s MOU is similar to the one secured by the Cerritos Faculty Federation in 2022. The results at Cerritos were also mixed, for while it tripled the part-time reimbursement to $3,300 per semester, the increase in part-timers seeking coverage depleted the fund, leaving 23 qualifying part-time faculty without coverage. Now the local is back trying to get the district to agree to a full AB 190 Option One plan, which would save the district money.
Both locals had highly energized organizing pushes—beginning with informational sessions and members speaking to their board of trustees, then a series of campus rallies and informational picketing. This led to scores of part-time faculty and their advocates attending and speaking out at board of trustee meetings, including CFT President Jeff Freitas, who spoke on behalf of El Camino faculty.
For Cerritos Faculty Federation President Lynn Wang, the next step is giving a full AB 190 Option 1 presentation, in which she hopes to clear up misconceptions. “It’s really about educating the board that the money is there, the district will get reimbursed, and that the money in the fund is enough,” said Wang.
For CFT President Jeff Freitas, this district’s reluctance in the name of fiscal responsibility is more a moral shortcoming: “The state has provided money for districts to be potentially reimbursed 100% to cover their part-time faculty . . . It is unconscionable that districts can refuse to offer their part-time faculty the healthcare they need when the state is providing $200 million a year to cover healthcare, and yet little more than $20 million has been paid out. These districts are caught up in thinking about “what if,” yet not considering the “what is” of part-time faculty who need healthcare now.”
While the San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers had greater success in moving their district campaign they also found themselves having to settle just short of a full AB 190 Option 1 plan. Like the previous two locals, their actions have been a combination of informational sessions, rallies, and coordinated speeches to the local board of trustees.
The big hang up, according to SMCCFT President Moncia Malamud, was the district’s presumption that it could not provide full-time equivalent coverage for part-time faculty working under 50% of a full-time load due to regulations covering their provider, CalPERS.
This led to an MOU with the district increasing the part-time reimbursement for faculty working 40% or greater of a full-time load within the district from $3,305 per to $5,482 semester in Fall 2023, and $6,128 in the Spring 2024. Further, it increased the frequency of reimbursements from two to four times a year and developed a multi-district reimbursement plan for part-time faculty with 40% load among two or more districts, in line with AB190.
While short of the AB190 Option 1 plan they were seeking, San Mateo members are encouraged by the recent CaloPERS changes as a result of SB142, which eliminating the language suggesting it couldn’t cover part-time faculty working below 50% of a full-time load.
“It wasn’t quite what we were hoping for, but given the circumstances, it was a significant improvement over what we had, and we are hopeful that with the changes to CalPERS, we can secure the healthcare deal we’re looking for,” said Sue Broxholm, a Part-time Math Instructor at Skyline College, and member of SMCCFT’s Executive Committee.
At press time the San Jose Evergreen Federation of Teachers have made strides in pushing their district to reach a settlement on healthcare as well. After being rebuffed for months, the San Jose Evergreen Federation organized a board action on October 10th , followed by a rally on October 13th, attended by faculty from other districts and CFT Officers. A highlight reel of the event can be watched here and an additional article can be found here.
The board action, which involved some 65 members speaking passionately for part-time healthcare, did not go unnoticed. “We are being heard,” said Carol Abohatab, an associate faculty representative at San Jose City College. Abohatab explained that the local is making progress with their current interim vice chancellor, “who is sympathetic and understands.”
Whether the end result is the AB190 Option1 plan that the local is ultimately hoping for, there is the belief that it will lead to a significant improvement over what has been offered in the past. And for her part, Abohatab is still engaged.
“If I could do anything to change our board of trustees’ minds to get them to give us healthcare we deserve, I would. I’m completely committed.”
Written by: Geoff Johnshon