The state senate voted in favor of the Assembly Concurrent Resolution 138 by a 23 to 11 margin on Monday August 23rd. This bill calls for community colleges to staff at least 75% of their student credit hours by full-time tenure and tenure-track faculty. Moreover, the bill affirms the principle of non-tenured part-time faculty receiving equal pay for equal work. However, all of these requirements are based on available funding and collective bargaining agreements.
It is important to stress that in the California community college system, one cannot be full-time and not be on the tenure track. Unlike the UC and CSU system, there are no full-time, non-tenure-track positions, and community college faculty who are not eligible for tenure can only work up to a 67% appointment.
The current legislation is part of the AFT FACE campaign that tries to do two seemingly opposing things: increase the number of tenure-track positions and provide equity and job security for non-tenured faculty. While UC-AFT supports this effort for community colleges, we argue that this type of policy does not work for research universities since faculty members in these institutions have distinct job descriptions.
In the context of research universities, it is hard to determine what equal pay for equal work would mean because faculty are doing very different jobs. For example, the University of California contends that the reason it pays tenured professors so much more than non-tenured lecturers is that professors are required to do research, teaching, and service, but most lecturers only teach. While it is untrue to say that lecturers do not do service and research, we do recognize that lecturers are defined by their teaching responsibilities, and this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Since lecturers have teaching as their primary mission, they become central to the undergraduate mission of the university; and yet, a major problem exists because these teachers in charge of instruction are not members of their academic senates. In fact, lecturers are often referred to as “non-senate faculty” in order to stress their exclusion from shared governance. One of the results of this denial of democratic participation is that faculty senates often make curricular decisions without consulting the people who are actually doing the teaching. To correct this problem, UC-AFT hopes that in the future, lecturers will be granted full rights to participate in their faculty senates.
As lecturers have been denied their role in university shared governance, UC-AFT has concentrated on negotiating and enforcing collective bargaining agreements that improve the job security and equity of non-tenured faculty in the UC system. We have also shown how the working conditions of lecturers directly determines the learning conditions of undergraduate and graduate students, and while we have not pushed for pay parity with senate faculty, we have gained parity in benefits and academic freedom rights. Furthermore, unlike the AFT FACE campaign, UC-AFT has not sought to push for more tenure-track lines or total pay equity for part-time faculty. Instead, we have tried to make non-tenure-track positions as secure and equitable as possible.
Last year, more than a hundred lecturers with continuing appointment were given one-year layoff notices and hundreds of other lecturers in their first six years of service faced job losses. We are happy to report that almost all of the continuing appointment lecturers have had their layoff notices rescinded, and many of the other lecturers have been rehired. To get these jobs back, we had to expend a lot of time and resources on grievances, protests, and media campaigns, and it looks like we will have to continue this defense of our jobs and undergraduate education in the coming years. While we do not think we can legislate the UC into supporting non-tenured track faculty, we do intend to continue our efforts for promote equity and job security for all faculty members.