Friday, May 19, 2006

class action lawsuit got health insurance for PTers in WA state--did it help equal pay bill?

The judge in the health insurance case slammed the legal fiction that we are "temporary" employees even after working in a district for decades:

law firm of Bendich, Stobaugh and Strong, P.C.

The settlement ends a five-year class action lawsuit filed by Eva Mader of Bellevue and Teresa Knudsen of Spokane. They worked more than half-time for 21 and 10 years, respectively. In June 2003, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of the instructors and reversed decisions by the Health Care Authority, the Superior Court, and the Court of Appeals that denied the part-time instructors health care benefits in the summer, even though full-time instructors, who also do not work in the summer, have benefits all year.

The Health Care Authority had said that Mader, who worked for 21 years, was not eligible because she was a “temporary” quarter-to-quarter employee. The Supreme Court ruled that the Authority “must examine the actual work circumstances of a state employee, rather than the contracts or titles under which he or she is employed, to determine whether an employee is eligible for state-paid health benefits.” The Court said, “Twenty-one years is not a temporary position.”

This is the kind of thing that should put the fear of God in legislators. They need to know that if they don't end this separate and unequal system, we will seek other remedies. Frankly, I don't see much downside to this, in light of the victories WA got on retirement benefits too, and it probably gives their legislature an incentive to treat the pending equal pay bill seriously since they know a judge may correct their morally and constitutionally defective work if they don't.

Retirement lawsuit in WA state:

Campus Equity Week update from WA state:

Politicians seem to respond to only one of three things:

  1. donations

  2. a large number of angry people

  3. court orders

The first two have gotten mixed results at best here in California. Maybe the relevant committees in the legislature need to know we are considering this, so they could pre-empt it with legislation, and look like the good guys.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Angelides letter supports
equal pay for part timers

The key sentence says:

I support salary equity for part time faculty to ensure that the state of California can continue to attract and retain talented and dedicated community college instructors.

Phil Angelides 4/20/06

Click letter to see full-sized.

Board votes against even PRINCIPLE
of equal pay for part timers

The mechanism for achieving parity set up in AB 420 seems to assume that trustees and administrators have the welfare of the faculty at heart, and merely differ with us about how to look after it.

They do not.

Those of us who have worked for districts where they don't even make the pretense of providing part timers with health care know this. They literally do not care if we drop dead.

And now, the board of trustees of one district has voted against even the PRINCIPLE of equal pay for part timers.

This evidence should be presented to legislators to show that if equal pay is not REQUIRED BY LAW, districts will drag their feet, and even when it is achieved in some places, try to roll it back when they get in a budget jam or just want to pad their reserves even further.

A law like this already exists for K-12, and has been proposed in Washington state. We need an equal pay law here too.

These guys don't seem to have a webpage yet, so I'm passing it along for them.

The gist is in the first paragraph.

From Adjunct Faculty United of North Orange:

On Tuesday, May 9, the North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees voted “no” on the principle of parity for part-time faculty. Adjunct Faculty United, the union that represents all part-time faculty in the district, had asked the board to take a public stand in favor of the principle of “equal pay for equal work” for all faculty.

In the North Orange County Community College District, comprised of Fullerton College, Cypress College, and the School of Continuing Education, part-time faculty (who make up two-thirds of all faculty), get about 50% of what full-time faculty make when they teach the same classes. This is different from what part-time teachers make in the K-12 system, where a teacher with the same credentials and same experience is paid at the same rate as an equally qualified full-time teacher.

Four trustees, Leonard Lahtinen, Michael Matsuda, and the two student trustees (whose votes are only advisory), voted Tuesday in favor of pay parity. Five trustees, Donna Miller, Jeff Brown, Molly McClanahan, Manny Ontiveros, and Barbara Dunsheath, voted against the resolution. Four of the five trustees who opposed the equal pay principle are up for re-election later this year.

NOCCCD Chancellor Jerry Hunter encouraged the trustees to vote “no”, saying that a positive vote would set a bad precedent, that the board should put this issue into the hands of the district negotiating team.

Denny Konshak, chief negotiator for the part-time faculty, objects, saying that it is both proper and right for the trustees to take a public stand in favor of the principle of pay parity, and then leave the details to be worked out at the negotiating table. President of Adjunct Faculty United, Sam Russo, agrees: “In the five years we’ve had our union, the district’s negotiators have staunchly refused to subscribe to any reasonable definition of pay parity for its part-time instructors. It’s time these trustees, who are publicly elected and accountable, take a firm stand on this basic principle in the American workplace and send a real message to their employees and their negotiating team.”

Several trustees stated that they were concerned that their “no” vote might send the wrong message to their part-time faculty, but still opposed the motion that would have made equal pay a goal in NOCCCD. At least one trustee seemed surprised that his district paid $30 an hour less than a neighboring community college district. Reasons for opposing the goal of pay parity with full-timers included: we don’t know what “equal” means, and the college district might be sued some time in the future if they don’t live up to this principle.

Founding president of Adjunct Faculty United, Linda Cushing, also spoke at the board meeting in favor of the principle of “equal pay for equal work” She addresses the trustees’ fear that they will be sued if they do not reach that goal. Cushing said, “At the beginning of the board meeting, everybody, including the trustees, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, saying they subscribed to the principle of ‘liberty and justice for all’. Tell me the board is equally worried about a mythical lawsuit by someone charging them with violating liberty and justice.”

A number of other community college districts, such as San Francisco City College, Cabrillo College, and San Jose-Evergreen CCD, have put themselves on record supporting the principle of equal pay for part-time faculty when the funds become available.


For more information, contact:

Sam Russo
Office: 714-526-5759
Home: 714 –961-8058
Cell: 714-290-1685

Denny Konshak
Home: 714-962-4766

My addition:

To share your thoughts with the NOCCCD trustees:

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Both Dems for governor will sign

At a candidates forum in Culver City yesterday, both Phil Angelides and Steve Westley said they would sign a bill for equal pay for part timers in response to my question. When Pacifica posts the audio file, I will post it here.

Westley said he has taught college before and accurately described our life as "freeway flyers." Without hesitation, Angelides said he would support it itoo.

If someone has a chance to see them in other forums and ask the same question, they should, and make it clear it's something we'll hold them to.

Then we should work to put a bill in front of whichever ends up in office.

Friday, April 14, 2006

AFT resolution on equal pay for part timers

Resolution on Part-time Faculty Compensation and Benefits (2000)


RESOLVED, that the AFT mobilize at all levels through organizing, bargaining and public policy advocacy to end the financial and professional exploitation of part-time faculty...

RESOLVED, that the AFT promote the principle of equal pay and benefits for equal work for part-time faculty with equivalent qualifications and experience...


CA Academic Senate on equal pay for part timers

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges did a report, "Part-Time Faculty: A Principled Perspective," that listed several studies and government agencies that said part timers should get equal pay for equal work. The problem was they no one wanted to vote to force districts to do this.

How can so many people say that it is wrong to do something, but essentially do nothing to stop it?

They also seem to ignore the fact that in addition to saving money, underpaying part timers gives districts an edge in collective bargaining--they can make it seem like any part timer gain takes away from full timers, and vice versa, one of the oldest union-busting tricks in the book: divide and conquer. That hardly fits their goals of having one unified faculty.

The only argument in favor of keeping unequal pay for part timers is that it will cost money to fix it. But have you ever noticed how creative districts are about finding money for buildings and executive salaries and perks? That creativity will kick in on equal pay if it becomes the law.

Excerpts on equal pay from "Part-Time Faculty: A Principled Perspective":
The Council of Faculty Organizations (COFO) Faculty Equity Statement.

[adopted by the Academic Senate in 1996]

Part-time faculty should be accorded fair compensation, professional respect and due process. It is the recognized role and responsibility of individual bargaining agents to make the contractual gains that will benefit part-time faculty which in turn will improve the educational quality of the institutions that employ them. However, we, the representatives to COFO, urge support for the following rights for part-time faculty: pro-rata pay, contractual considerations for full-time positions, health benefits, seniority on re-hire rights, paid office hours, legitimate STRS pension opportunities and true professional status relating to teaching and learning issues.

Comparable Pay for Comparable Work

Responding to early concerns about the System's overuse and abuse of temporary assignments, the Board of Governors adopted a policy of "equal pay for equal work" in 1977.

Board of Governor's Policy on Pro Rata Pay, Adopted March, 1977

The Board of Governors finds no basis for differing pay schedules for full-time and part-time Community College faculty members where in class and out of class responsibilities are the same. Therefore, in such instances the Board of Governors supports equal pay for equal work (pro rata pay). In instances where part-time faculty have less than the same responsibilities for out of class activities the Board of Governors favors pro rata pay for them equal to that which would be paid to full-time instructors for similar classroom activities.

Assembly Bill 420 (Wildman)

AB 420, in its initial form, would have required that "each person employed by a community college district as a temporary academic employee shall be compensated at a salary or hourly rate that is directly proportional to the salary of a full-time regular employee with comparable training and experience." It would also have established in law a minimum of part-time faculty benefits pro-rated with regard to full-time faculty benefits as well as a seniority-based system of preference for reappointment of part-time faculty continuously employed for three academic years.

Though the bill rapidly passed through Assembly committees and on to the Senate Education Committee, concerns were raised by the Chancellor's Office and local college and district administrators regarding the seniority-based rehire provisions. [final form was largely gutted with only token nods toward equal pay]

The California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) Report

  • The Commission recommends that local community college districts be encouraged to develop salary schedules for part-time faculty members which have structures more comparable to that of full-time faculty.

  • The Commission recommends local community college districts examine the current distribution of compensation resources among part-time and full-time faculty within their district, particularly in those districts where the difference between full-time and part-time faculty salaries is greatest.

Using this classification of what constitutes teaching activities, CPEC calculated that, on average 81% of a full-time faculty member's activities were teaching-related (19% were the sum of advising, administrative, and other activities). Recognizing that the distinction between "advising" and "office hours" is based largely on contractual language rather than the teaching-related nature of the work, and that elements of the "administrative" and "other" classifications would more appropriately be classified as teaching-related, we can see the CPEC study as a confirmation of the State Auditor's determination that part-time faculty are currently expected to fulfill 88% of the duties of a full-time faculty member. Further, since CPEC, like the State Auditor's assumptions, ignored the fact that faculty report working significantly more than the standard 40-hour week, the CPEC analysis supports the view that the current teaching activities of full-time faculty are about 90-91% of their total professional activities.

Recommendations to Local Academic Senates

1. The Academic Senate recommends that local senates work with their local collective bargaining agent, administration and board of trustees to establish principled definitions and policies regarding part-time faculty pay equity, "comparable pay for comparable work" and what should be the professional expectations of all faculty.


CA State Auditor's report on part time pay

When the California State Auditor investigated part time compensation in 2000, they found that if a part timer worked the same hours as a full timer, they would still make 31% less.

The auditor also point out the hypocrisy at all levels on this--while legislators, the state chancellor, and even some administrators (that last one is unlikely) support the concept of equal pay for equal work, it is not given the force of law so that districts have "flexibility" at the bargaining table. In essence, the auditor acknowledges that school districts are cutting ethical corners to balance their budgets.

California State Auditor/Bureau of State Audits
Summary of Report 2000-107 - June 2000

California Community Colleges:
Part-Time Faculty Are Compensated Less Than Full-Time Faculty for Teaching Activities


...For the fall 1999 semester, the districts reported to the Chancellor's Office a total population of 41,754 teaching faculty, of which 28,180 (67 percent) were classified as part-time and 13,574 (33 percent) as full-time...

Overall, part-time faculty earn lower wages and receive fewer benefits for teaching activities than full-time faculty with similar education and experience. Specifically, at the eight districts we reviewed, if part-time faculty were to teach a full course load at their current pay, they would receive an average of $13,042 (or 31 percent) less in annual wages than full-time faculty for teaching activities. In addition, none of the eight districts enhance the pay rate of part-time faculty who have more education and experience as attractively as they do for their full-time instructors. Also, by working in more than one district, some part-time faculty teach as many classes as full-time faculty but receive less for their efforts. Furthermore, the eight districts either do not provide medical benefits to part-time faculty or provide such benefits with restrictions that are not imposed on full-time faculty. Finally, it is more difficult for part-time faculty to obtain the retirement benefits provided to full-time faculty.

Depending on one's policy perspective, the unequal compensation of part-time faculty either creates problems that should be addressed or reflects an appropriate balance of market conditions at the local level that should not be tampered with. In particular, all of the eight districts we reviewed indicated that the existing pay disparity between part-time and full-time faculty creates a financial incentive to use part-time faculty over full-time faculty his incentive is not in keeping with current Chancellor's Office standards, which stress the importance of maintaining a balance between part-time and full-time faculty to ensure the quality of a CCC education. Furthermore, legislative intent, Chancellor's Office policy, and some district administrators' views support equal pay for equal work for part-time faculty. The general argument is that since the colleges hold part-time faculty to the same standards as full-time faculty, they should offer them the same pay. On the other hand, the former governor, the Chancellor's Office, and certain district administrators oppose mandating equal pay for equal work because it would interfere with the collective bargaining process and limit local flexibility....



K-12 equal pay for part timers CA law

California Education Code:

45025. Any person employed by a district in a position requiring certification qualifications who serves less than the minimum schoolday as defined in Sections 46112 to 46116, inclusive, or 46141 may specifically contract to serve as a part-time employee. In fixing the compensation of part-time employees, governing boards shall provide an amount which bears the same ratio to the amount provided full-time employees as the time actually served by such part-time employees bears to the time actually served by full-time employees of the same grade or assignment. This section shall not apply to any person classified as a temporary employee under Sections 44919 and 44888, or any person employed as a part-time employee above and beyond his employment as a full-time employee in the same school district.

The loophole in this law is the same one used on part timers at the community college--the legal fiction that we are temporary employees.

If we work at the same school continuously for five, ten, or twenty years, we are hardly temporary.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ask governor primary candidates for equal pay law

The California primary is June 6, and the two candidates are neck and neck in the polls. Tell them to pledge to sign an equal pay for equal work bill once in office, so part timers have a reason to vote in the primary instead of waiting for the general election.

Letter to Phil Angelides:

(click to see full sized)

Letter to Steve Westley:

(click to see full sized)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

EQUAL PAY for Part Timers Bill in WA state

Washington state has a bill in both houses that demands part time faculty get pro rata pay, one pay scale for part timers and full timers.

As long as we treat this as an issue for district by district negotiation, administrators can use the part time/ full time issue to divide us over an issue that should be a basic civil right.

The text of the house version is below.

Link to track House version:

Link to track Senate version:

(click to see full sized)

Monday, April 10, 2006


April 2, 2006

Sen. Sheila Kuehl
State Capitol, Room 5108
Sacramento CA 95814

Sen. Kuehl,

I have a profound respect for your work on SB 840, and need your help on another issue of basic decency and social justice: equal pay for equal work for part time faculty at community colleges.

We are required to have the same qualifications as our full time colleagues and teach the same classes, but are paid as little as a third as much per class, and at most schools aren’t even offered health insurance. As a result, most of us patch together jobs in two or more districts since we can only work 60% of full time in any one place. Ironically, we end up teaching more hours than our full time co-workers just to survive.

It is difficult to explain the value of a higher education to our students when our jobs that require masters degrees don’t pay enough to make our student loan payments, to go to the doctor, or sometimes even to make rent.

Section 45025 of the California Education Code already requires K-12 schools to give pro rata pay to part time instructors, and the state of Washington has bills in both their house and senate requiring schools to give equal pay to part timers.

Past legislative remedies have been so tepid and full of loopholes that the money set aside to equalize part timers pay largely ended up in the pockets of administrators.

California should not have to wait for other states to set the example in ending this abuse of college instructors, particularly since the Assembly and Senate have democratic majorities who depend on teachers to vote to keep them in office.

If you sponsored a bill, mandating equal pay for equal work for part time community college faculty, it would go a long way toward correcting this problem. If you cannot do so, please let me know who would be the best legislator to address about this.

Michael Dixon


(click to see full-sized)