Adjunct instructors at California’s community colleges have won significant new workplace rights — though not as many as they seemed poised to gain initially — under legislation signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown of California.
The first of two bills signed by Governor Brown, Assembly Bill 1690, had been so sweeping in its list of new adjunct rights at the colleges that it prompted worries that it might infringe on local governance of such institutions. The second measure the governor signed, Senate Bill 1379, nullified some of the more ambitious elements of the Assembly’s bill to overcome the governor’s objections to it.
Taken together, the two measures require all of California’s community-college districts to negotiate with their part-time faculty members collective-bargaining agreements guaranteeing seniority rights and regular evaluations. Those community colleges that fail to comply can be denied state funds from a program designed to promote their students’ success.
Adjunct instructors won’t, however, gain some of the job protections that the Assembly’s bill sought to assure them. Those included a right to getting a semester to make improvements in response to unsatisfactory evaluations, a right to have seniority be a factor in determining how many classes they can teach, and rehire rights kicking in automatically after six semesters of satisfactory evaluations.