Part-time faculty teaching classes at State Center Community College District’s four colleges and centers could soon get a big pay boost as a result of a newly negotiated labor contract that union official Keith Ford tells GV Wire is “a really good first step, but just the first step.”
The longtime low pay for part-timers has forced many to take on multiple jobs while struggling to pay for basics, and some have even qualified for the state’s food benefits for low-income households. Part-time instructors, who teach more than half of State Center classes, are only paid for actual instruction time in the classroom and not for time needed for course preparation, grading, and office hours.
That’s about to change: In the proposed contract that State Center trustees will consider at Tuesday’s board meeting, part-time faculty will get a pay bump of 7% on top of the cost-of-living adjustment for the current year and 5% pay bumps on top of the cost-of-living increases in the two following years.
“What we’re looking at there is a 13.56% (increase) for this year and then 5% on top of COLA the next two, so potentially 13.13% and 8.54%,” said Ford, president of the State Center Federation of Teachers Local 1533. “That is excellent. … When you compound it out, that equates to about a 39% raise over the next three years, which is just unheard of.”
The district says the total cost of the part-time bargaining unit contract will be approximately $4.6 million this year.
Allies on the Trustee Board
Ford said that although the negotiations, which started in January 2022, were sometimes contentious, the union was hopeful that the district would agree to start closing the pay gap between the full-time and part-time faculty.
“There’s a number of different factors that led to this,” he said. “We’ve been pushing this, as you know, for a long time. We’ve had fundraisers during the pandemic for displaced part timers. We’ve done a lot of board actions. But we also went out looking for trustee candidates, board of trustee candidates who we felt would be champions of our cause. And in the past couple of elections, we have succeeded in winning a lot of those seats. And so we’ve got allies, which is good. And you can kind of see, the proof is in the pudding.”
Noninstructional part-timers, including counselors and librarians, will receive a 3% bump on top of the COLA this year and 2% increases plus the COLA in the next two years. The future cost-of-living raises are estimates and are contingent on state budget approval.
The contract proposal also includes up to $500,000 annually for office hours, which also is good news for the part-time instructors, Ford said.
New Contract for Full-Time Faculty Also on Agenda
The trustees also will consider at Tuesday’s meeting a proposed three-year contract for full-time faculty that includes a 1% bonus for the 2021-22 year, another 1% bonus this year on top of the cost-of-living increase and a 0.5% pay increase, and cost-of-living increases in the next two years.
The current contract was due to expire last year but was extended one year because the district and faculty were grappling with the impacts of the COVID pandemic and “we didn’t have the bandwidth to negotiate,” Ford said.
The district estimates the first-year cost of the full-time faculty contract as approximately $8.5 million.
If the contracts are approved by the board, the full-time faculty will see their retroactive pay in their June 1 paycheck, while part-timers will see the retroactive pay in their June 15 paychecks, Ford said.