What happens when your employer disregards your contractually
negotiated rehire rights? Part-time instructors at Oakland’s
Laney College recently found out. One of them is Cynthia Mahabir,
a sociology instructor and Part-Time Representative on the
executive board of the Peralta Federation of Teachers.
Workers at three Bay Area private schools gain a stronger voice
in the workplace
When math teacher Cheryl LaBrecque joined the staff of the French
American International School in San Francisco in 1999, the
preK-12 school was small and “things worked better.” Staff
members “had a closer relationship with administration,” she
says. Since then, it has become “more corporate, more top-down,
more about money.”
AFT Guild successfully negotiated for
continuing education part-time faculty in the San Diego
community colleges to be on the same salary schedule as
credit-course instructors, and in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca
district for part-timers teaching 50 percent of a full load to
be eligible for fully district-paid healthcare coverage
starting January 2015.
Faculty teaching non-credit courses at both Citrus College and
the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Colleges have chosen AFT as their union.
Non-credit hourly part-time faculty at Citrus and continuing
education part-time faculty at Grossmont-Cuyamaca had been paid
significantly less than their colleagues teaching for-credit
Now the faculty have union representation, are on salary
schedules with opportunities for schedule advancement, and can
accrue sick leave.
The Affordable Care Act has made it possible for some previously
uninsured part-time faculty to get healthcare coverage. For
others, coverage has become more affordable. Available subsidies,
along with customizable combinations of premiums and deductibles,
may make going on the exchange worthwhile.
If you are teaching summer school, you may qualify for
unemployment benefits in the periods before or after summer
session. If you do not have a summer or fall teaching assignment,
or another job, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits.
This results from a 1989 legal challenge brought by the CFT in
the landmark case Cervisi v. California Unemployment Insurance
Parity pay — compensation for part-time faculty commensurate with
that of our full-time colleagues for comparable work — is one of
the defining goals of the movement for part-timer equity.
Progress continues to be made, but in lean budgetary times salary
schedule advancements may be more difficult to negotiate.
Have you ever wondered how your pay rate compares to that of
other part-time faculty throughout the state? Who gets paid for
office hours and how much? Will you earn more if you have a
doctorate? What percentage are you earning of what full-timers
make at your college for their teaching duties?
English instructor and president of the Part-Time Faculty
Association of Allan Hancock College Mark James Miller says that
one of the accomplishments of which he is most proud is “getting
administrators to recognize how important part-time faculty are.
Part-time faculty used to be invisible to them, or seen as just
interchangeable parts. That’s not the case anymore.”
In a show of support for part-time faculty, the CFT committed
this year to completing the first phase of a substantial study of
part-time faculty compensation that may prove invaluable to those
seeking stronger contract language for part-time instructors.
Delegates to the annual CFT Convention passed two
resolutions submitted by the CFT Part-Time Committee calling for
the union to pursue legislation that would help part-time faculty
secure full-time employment.
The Linda Cushing Scholarship program launched by
Part-Time Faculty United at College of the
Canyons recently expanded to award four $500
scholarships per year to qualified students, according to Pete
Virgadamo, history instructor and president of the Santa Clarita
Coalition of Contingent
Academic Labor (COCAL ) An integrated coalition of
activists from faculty organizations and unions representing
contingent, non-tenured faculty members in all segments of higher
education in North-America, with the goals of
coordinating activities to educate the public about the
inequities of contingent faculty, promoting legislation, and
improving bargaining rights, working conditions and education
AFT Local 2121 continues the fight to save City College of San
Francisco after the Accrediting Commission for Community and
Junior Colleges labeled the college with its most severe
accreditation sanction, “show cause.”
Part-time faculty members of CFT attended the 10th conference of
COCAL International, the Coalition of Contingent
Academic Labor, in Mexico City, where California, despite its
problems, was held up as a standard for part-time equity.
How can we convince more part-time faculty that union membership
and participation are the single best way to improve working
conditions, pay rate, and job security within California’s
community colleges? One-on-one conversations, say part-time
faculty Natasha Bauman and Sharon Kerr, whose local unions are
both recipients of a new grant from CFT. The Member Organizing
Committee, or MOC, grant helps locals conduct member outreach and
sign up new members.
Instructors, students and others committed to quality public
education in California breathed a sigh of relief with the
passage of Proposition 30, the ballot measure that will bring
increased revenue to public education and other services through
temporary progressive taxation.
In a victory for part-time community college faculty enrolled in
the CalSTRS retirement program, Gov. Brown signed into law
CFT-sponsored SB 114 to correct the misreporting of
retirement service credit.
The governor signed CFT-sponsored SB 114. Authored by Sen. Leland
Yee (D-San Francisco), this bill helps correct misreporting of
part-time faculty work to ensure the right amount of retirement
The recent results of an ambitious survey undertaken in 2010
of contingent academic workers provides a fuller picture of
national trends affecting part-time instructors. The Coalition on the
Academic Workforce designed its study to capture data about
all contingent (non-tenure track) instructors but focused on
part-time faculty working at post-secondary institutions.
Though faculty and students at San Francisco City College
are fighting to keep their college open following a report from
the Accrediting Commission for Community & Junior Colleges, Local
2121 says changes such as reducing health benefits for part-time
faculty are off-limits.
To date, several CFT locals have elected to implement State
Disability Insurance for their members. Part-time faculty in
particular could benefit from participation in this program in
the event of partial or full disability.
Lisa Chaddock, a part-time geography instructor in San Diego,
offered part-timers survival tips in a workshop titled “Finding
Funds to Survive Community College Cutbacks,” at the annual CFT
Convention. The following are some highlights from Chaddock’s
presentation about applying for grants to protect programs and
supplement part-timer income.
As a part-timer, I had become more involved in my local’s actions
and issues because a friend brought me to a union meeting. She is
an old school organized labor wonk, and her invitation, offered
years ago, put me in a strong position to apply to become an
organizer in the CFT program called Political Leaders United to
Create Change, or PLUCC. My local union applied for the shared
grant-funded position and was awarded a grant.
This year, part-timers have been active from the classroom to the
state level in advocating for higher education funding and the
rights of students. Lisa Chaddock, part-time instructor in
geography at San Diego City College and Cuyamaca College,
traveled to Sacramento in March to testify in the Assembly Higher
Education Committee on behalf of
AB 1826, which would limit full-time faculty overload to 50
percent of a full-time load.
When locally bargained contract improvements seem
impossible, statewide legislation becomes an attractive option.
Over the past few years, CFT and other education unions and
associations have sponsored bills to strengthen part-time faculty
job security and improve working conditions. While the ultimate
gains of this strategy could be tremendous, the process of
passing bills can be extremely challenging.
Coast rights injustice for part-timers working in
After years of patience andpersistence, the Coast
Federation of Educators secured compensation for two
part-time non-instructional faculty members who were discovered
to be working more hours than a full-timer — at a fraction of the
When confronted with these violations, according to Local 1911
President Dean Mancina, the district claimed this group of
faculty was exempt from both the California Education Code and
the local’s collective bargaining agreement.
Meet Joe Berry. If you don’t know his work, you should.
Author of the book Reclaiming the Ivory Tower:
Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education, Berry has
worked for decades in multiple states as both a part-time
instructor and an organizer of part-time, contingent academic
instructors. Recently retired from teaching Labor Studies, he
continues to pour his time and energy into the struggle for the
rights of the most vulnerable instructors in higher education.
Part-time academic workers, who experience economic injustice on
a daily basis, figure prominently in the CFT-endorsed Occupy Wall
Street and Refund California movements as they call for better
pay and working conditions, more robust funding for public
services, and an end to the privilege enjoyed by corporations and
Larissa Dorman, part-time political science professor at San
Diego City College, describes her activism as rooted in her
experiences as an advisor to student clubs, an instructor, and a