California bill proposes expanded rights for adjuncts
- California Assembly Bill 1690 seeks to classify adjunct faculty members with at least six semesters of satisfactory performance reviews as having seniority, guaranteeing at least the same workload they held in their sixth semester. Seniority will also hold weight in new class assignments and whether to pass over instructors on faculty.
- The current legislation, which will cost California taxpayers at least $2 million to maintain the seniority lists, only applies to adjuncts at community colleges, but it is projected to spark similar bills for adjunct professors throughout the country.
- Likely to pass a largely Democratic state legislature, Assembly Bill 1690 moves as adjunct faculty nationwide search for additional benefits and salary increases.
This could be landmark legislation for college systems throughout the country, especially in regional areas like Oregon, which has already demonstrated hope in increasing higher education spending. But for other systems throughout the country, the case may be harder to make as pensions and healthcare costs continue to rise and to cut into available appropriations for higher education.
College leaders who may not have this kind of legislative backing should look to create private funding options, or to reallocate budgets for a singular payout or bonus to adjunct faculty, in order to help attract and retain new members of the largest teaching groups on most college campuses.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education California bill would give community-college adjuncts new workplace rights