To: Senator Alan Lowenthal
Chair, Senate Education Committee
Room 2083, State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 852 (Fong) — SUPPORT
Dear Honorable Alan Lowenthal,
My name is John Martin and I am the Chair of the California Part-time Faculty Association (CPFA), the only non-union institution in the state representing contingent faculty interests in California’s community college system. CPFA strongly supports Assembly Bill 852 (Fong), which would rectify a disturbing problem affecting over 40,000 part-time faculty and their students.
Rehire rights are essential for part-time faculty who have good evaluations and a history of teaching continuous semesters for a community college district. Opponents argue that rehire rights deprive the districts of “flexibility,” but they do not discuss what advantages job security would provide. Job security would provide stability within departments, and allow students to find a trusted teacher for assistance in future semesters. Job security would allow part-time faculty to speak their minds about essential campus issues without fear of reprisal. Job security would allow part-time faculty to run their classes in a professional manner and grade appropriately without fear of losing classes because some students have complained about receiving low grades.
Opponents of AB 852 argue that it would cost too much money, but this change in the Ed Code simply does not impact a district’s resources or budget. Colleges already keep extensive records on each temporary instructor to track sick leave, CalSTRS, and unemployment contributions. But most importantly, districts obsessively track loads taught per semester to avoid allowing any contingent faculty instructor to exceed 67% and thereby “accidentally” achieve tenure.
The systems to track seniority and implement rehire rights are already in place, and districts currently use them well to abuse a vulnerable workforce. An exception is Butte College, which has offered seniority and rehire rights for years and has suffered no appreciable budget or labor impact.
CPFA asks the Senate Education Committee to approve a no-cost revision which would provide a small degree of job security for long time community college part-time instructors. This security would help stabilize an already oppressed work force which also suffers from low income, lacks health benefits, and enjoys no academic freedom.
But most importantly, student success could only be enhanced when the majority of classes in the CCC system are taught by dedicated instructors possessing some continuity in their departments. A revolving door of temporary faculty with no job stability on any campus does not encourage at-risk students to continue their education. The high lack of completion rates in our state demonstrate that “flexibility” only benefits districts — not the students who should be their primary concern.
Thank you for your support of higher education, our faculty, and our students. Thank you for supporting AB 852.
John Martin, Chair
California Part-time Faculty Association