AB 375 Vetoed! By Linda Chan
Governor Newsom had until October 10, 2021, to sign or veto bills. In a last-minute decision, he vetoed AB 375 by Assembly member Jose Medina (a former part-time instructor from Riverside). “This bill increases the maximum amount of instructional hours that a part-time community college faculty member may teach at any one community college district” from the current 67% of a full-time load to 85%. He stated that “this bill would create significant ongoing cost pressures on the state and community college districts, potentially in the hundreds of millions of dollars” based on the assessment made by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In the analysis made by the Senate Appropriations Committee several statements were made that were not true.
Statement #1: “The Chancellor’s Office estimates that this bill could result in up to $440 million in ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund costs each year for community college districts to offer health insurance benefits to part-time faculty.”
This statement assumed that all 40,000+ part-time faculty would be teaching the full 85%. This is not true. There are many part-time faculty who choose to teach 20%, 40% or even the 67% due to other commitments and choose not to teach more. Also, there are several districts who continue to offer their part-time faculty no more than a 40% load. This 85% is a maximum and not a requirement to elevate all part-timers to 85% of a full-time load.
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Statement #2: “This estimate assumes that the bill would trigger Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements due to the additional unit load and potential increase in office hours and other workload requirements.”
The reality is that the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide health insurance to full-time employees, which is defined as “an employee who is employed on average, per month, at least 30 hours of service per week, or at least 130 hours of service in a calendar month.” A full-time faculty assignment is typically 15 hours per week. This bill would allow adjunct faculty to work 85% of a full-time assignment consistently, or 12.75 hours per week. According to Federal regulations, districts are allowed to use an adjustment factor of 2.25 for these types of academic assignments to compensate part-time faculty for other, such as preparation and grading, bringing the number of hours to approximately 28.7 hours which is below the required 30 hours. However, there is a fear that if the districts require office hours, then the 28.7 hours would go over the 30 hours that would trigger the ACA requirements.
Statement #3: “This estimate also assumes an annual employer contribution of $11,000 for approximately 40,000 part-time faculty employed by community college districts throughout the state.”
This estimate is too high. Part-time faculty may be receiving lower cost health benefits or may be receiving benefits due to another source such as a spouse or other employment.
Statement #4: “This bill could also result in one-time Proposition 98 General Fund costs of between $360,000 and $720,000 for community college districts to update or create collective bargaining agreements with part-time faculty. This estimate assumes a cost of about $5,000 to $10,000 for each of the state’s seventy-two (72) districts.”
So, the districts can collect more money for bargaining? The districts are required to bargain a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) at least once every three years or when there is a “demand to bargain” request made. Many districts already have CBAs with part-time faculty so where is the extra cost incurred?
The fact is the Governor vetoed a bill based on partial information. He stated in his veto message that he would address these issues through the budget process in January. The lobbyists from all the unions have been working hard to correct these statements. This fight is not over, and the unions will continue to fight to improve part-time faculty working conditions.
The bill analysis and the Governor’s veto message can be found by clicking on the buttons below.
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