With his permission, Adjunct Justice is posting colleague Jack Longmate's advice on California AB 950: a wolf in sheep's clothing!
"Under discussion in California's legislature is AB 950 to limit overtime for full-time faculty in the state's community college system to no more than 150 percent of full-time. The bill is sponsored by the California affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. It's a recycled version of a bill proposed in past years--last year it was numbered AB 1826.
The bill is frequently pitched as benefiting part-time faculty, and some of California's 46,000 part-timers support it: Limiting full-time faculty overtime (overloads) to no more than 150 percent of full-time would seem like a move that would protect the jobs of part-time faculty. Also, since the bill is sponsored by the CFT, some part-timers feel it is a show of good faith to stand in solidarity with their union to support the bill.
But the bill does NOT benefit part-time faculty. Of the roughly 18,000 full-time faculty in the California community college system, only 172 have accepted workloads in excess of 150 percent. What the bill would do, however, would be to write full-time faculty overtime into state law, giving sanction to all 18,000 to teach up to 50 percent more, that is, up to 150 of a full-time load. The bill could result in more full-time faculty overtime and thus undermine part-time faculty jobs.
About the bill's impact on teaching quality, the bill might be defended by those who say that teaching over 150 percent is excessive and undermines teaching quality. But teaching over 100 percent of full-time is, or should be, seen as excessive (or else the current standard for full-time is too low and full-time teaching should be redefined as being 150 percent).
The bill could doom appropriations in future years for faculty pay increases too--if full-time instructors are customarily teaching 125 or 150 percent of full-time, it makes it very difficult for full-time instructors to claim tha they are overworked and deserving of higher pay.
Of course, as limits on full-time faculty overtime are being discussed, California's cap on part-time faculty workload (no more than 67 percent) also surfaces in discussions. A tongue-in-cheek CPFA suggestion is that if 150 percent of full-time is to be enacted, then the 67 percent cap should be allowed to use the revised 150 percent as the baseline for calculation. For purposes of illustration, if a 100 percent full-time load were to mean 10 classes per year, then 150 percent of that load would be 15 classes. But 67 percent of 15 classes would be 10 classes or the original (current) full-time definition, which is one way to bypass the cap.
But the real danger is that if AB 950 passes and a higher percentage of the 18,000 full-time faculty members feel empowered to teach course overloads, there's likely to result in far fewer classes left for part-timers to teach. In this way, AB 950, presented as a means to limit full-time faculty who abuse their ability to teach course overloads, could actually end up taking away part-time faculty jobs and thus could be seen as a wolf hiding in a sheep's clothing.
For more information about AB 950, view the press release by the California Part-time Faculty Association at http://www.cpfa.org/press/index.html
. One is to AB 950's sponsor, Assembly Member Ed Chau, and another is to state Senator Carol Liu who chairs the Senate Higher Ed committee. Also, contact John Martin, president of the California Part-time Faculty Association.
Olympic College, Bremerton, WA