john_m2By John Martin, CPFA Chair

In last fall’s CPFA’s CCC Journal edition, I wrote about AB 1807 and its demise. This time, I’m heartened that another attempt will be made. Assemblymember Paul Fong (D – Mountain View) will again sponsor rehire rights legislation (Assembly Bill 852) to aid the job security of part-time faculty throughout the California’s community college system.

But before giving more details, it’s important to acknowledge that CCA developed the language and laid the foundation for this new bill and strategy: Ron Reel, CCA President; Lynette Nyaggah, CCA Vice-President and Chair of the CCA Legislative Committee; and Alan Frey, CTA advisor to governance (who developed this concept); built the legislative framework for the CPFA and the other organizations to support.

With this renewed venture, there will be an even more concerted and organized effort by all stakeholders: CCA, CFT, FACCC, CWA, and CCCI to support this bill — and be assured that CPFA will be closely involved with this endeavor.

This second attempt to secure rights for California’s contingent academic laborers represents a new approach. Instead of mandating that administrators and local bargaining units negotiate rehire rights for many of us (both sides have been blamed for the lack of progress), this bill will change the Ed Code. While this takes the issue out of the hands of the districts, once the revision is in place, local negotiations can still take place to improve on it.

Due Process
The new Ed Code change calls for “due process” for those who have taught more than “4 years within a district,” and would give some added job security. If someone who has been teaching for fours years or more (and is in good standing), then that individual deserves some minimal job security. Due process is also part of this formula and is already in place and enjoyed by our fellow tenured colleagues. So, this is another attempt to bring equality to our contingent faculty ranks.

If passed during this current legislative session, this will help to infuse some sanity to the existing system, which has proved itself callous and demonstrated a total disregard for the tens of thousands of contingent academic laborers who have been dismissed from teaching without any stated cause or reasons, or who are without any reasonable assurance of being offered any classes to teach from one semester to the next.
There is anecdotal evidence that this goes on every semester. I should know, as I was a casualty of this practice. For more evidence, see Tim Raposa’s article in this issue.

There’s more unique legislation being considered at the Capitol. CFT/CCC has moved forward in bringing language to attempt to cap overloads used by full-time faculty (see their resolution on page 5). This particular principle would prevent full-timers from teaching more than 40% overload at any one semester or 80% for an academic year.

According to the CFT Resolution which passed last November, this would “…prohibit full-time community college faculty members from being assigned to teach more than two three-unit classes per semester or quarter beyond a normal full-time workload of 15 semester or quarter units.”

Such language is an attempt to follow the universal understanding on what constitutes a “normal workload.” The rationale behind this proposal is soundly argued by Phylis Eckler of Los Angeles City College (and recipient of the Margaret Quan Part-Time Advocate of the Year Award 2009-10) who states “excessive overload for full-time faculty takes away from the academic quality of an institution.

“Professional duties can be neglected, programs suffer, shared governance falters, and students are denied the full attention of the faculty member. A reasonable amount of overload teaching (such as 40% in one semester) can help the institution fulfill the need for sudden surges in growth and the need for certain expertise, but more than that is harmful to the college and its students.”

If the intent of the CFT resolution becomes reality, part-time faculty would have more opportunities to teach. There’s nothing here that will harm our fellow union members: in fact, it will help them to become more in tune with their campus community. Both of these efforts have something in common: respect and equality for all faculty, and a formula for ensuring success for our students. As educators, isn’t that what we’re all about?