Capitol Alert

Bill would grant job protections to community college instructors

Cirano Rodriguez talks to students following his Mexican-American history class lecture at Woodland Community College on April 30, 2007.
Cirano Rodriguez talks to students following his Mexican-American history class lecture at Woodland Community College on April 30, 2007. The Sacramento Bee file

Adjunct faculty at California community colleges could get collective bargaining rights under a bill headed to Gov. Jerry Brown that supporters call the first of its kind in the nation.

Assembly Bill 1690, which passed the state Senate 23-14 on Monday and advanced to the governor's desk, would require community college districts to negotiate contracts with representatives for part-time faculty that include seniority rights and other job protections.

Community colleges have long relied on adjuncts, at-will instructors who are generally paid by the course and hired anew at the beginning of each term. But faculty advocates nationwide are increasingly raising concerns about their working conditions, which they say force professors to string together classes at different schools and make it difficult to earn a living.

Proponents, including the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, argue that AB 1690 will provide stability for adjunct faculty.

Under the measure, instructors who have taught for six semesters or nine quarters with satisfactory evaluations would be placed on a priority list for assignments and would be guaranteed to maintain their workload in future terms. The bill would also provide an opportunity for remediation if a subsequent evaluation is unsatisfactory and require that staffing reductions take place according to seniority.

The Community College League of California opposed AB 1690, objecting to its “one-size fits all approach.”

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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