Survey of California community college part-time faculty shows dire need to reform healthcare system
Part-time faculty in Sacramento today to urge Legislature to support Governor Newsom’s proposed $200 million to transform system
Sacramento, CA — A new survey of part-time California community college faculty shows the stark need to reform healthcare in California community colleges. Published today by CFT and reported by CalMatters, the survey report shows that despite making up nearly 70% of faculty ranks in the community college system, only a fraction of part-time faculty receive health insurance benefits and the consequences are profound for these critical educators and their families. The report adds momentum to Governor Newsom’s inclusion of $200 million in his initial state budget proposal to transform healthcare for part-time community college faculty.
The report shows that only 33% of part-time faculty who responded to the survey receive healthcare from their community college employer, adding another layer of precarity to the already insecure, though essential, jobs that part-time faculty perform. While many faculty are able to patch together healthcare from other sources, it is often inadequate and unreliable.
This lack of reliable, affordable health care has led many part-time faculty to ration the healthcare services they seek due to lack of or insufficient coverage. In the last three years, 63% of survey respondents put off or postponed getting dental care, 43% did not go see a doctor, 30% did not get a test or treatment recommended by a doctor, and 11% cut pills or skipped doses of medicine.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that our hard-working, dedicated part-time faculty are being forced to delay or miss entirely critical healthcare services, putting their health, the health of their families, and the health of our students at risk” says CFT president Jeff Freitas. “It’s time we stop placing the financial burden of our community colleges on the backs of contingent faculty. We urge the California Legislature to stand with part-time faculty and pass a budget that includes Governor Newsom’s proposal for $200 million in annual funding to right this wrong.”
Bernadette Moordigian, a part-time psychology instructor at Fresno City College, who has faced devastating consequences because of inadequate access to healthcare, says that this is about more than just the health of part-time faculty.
“We do this work because we love teaching and helping our students,” says Bernadette. “The students deserve to have all of their professors to be treated equally, so in turn, they will receive the best education.”
Armed with the survey results, over 100 part-time faculty are in Sacramento today, to press their case for the Governor’s proposed $200 million funding with the members of the California Legislature, and to advocate for better pay and job security for part-time or adjunct faculty. The activism is part of a larger movement by part-time faculty across the state and the nation to organize to fight back against exploitation in higher education.
CFT — A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT, AFL-CIO.