"State Budgets and Laws Foretell Our Future"
by Phyllis Eckler
Guild 2nd Vice President
Adjunct faculty are feeling very uneasy about employment prospects for Spring 2013. The state budget for community colleges for this academic year was formulated to include a 7.5% “workload reduction,” which means cuts in courses for students in the event that Proposition 30, the Governor’s Tax Initiative, does not pass in November. We all know that the confusing term “workload reduction” in the state budget really means the loss of jobs for part-timers. At Glendale College, that would result in the elimination of 250 sections for the year.
College budgets would not only be helped this year by the passage of Proposition 30, but for the 7 years to come when community colleges would see even an even larger influx of state funding from this proposed tax increase. Our union negotiating team is working hard to mitigate the cuts in pay and benefits that the district is requesting, to get through this year. Adjunct faculty are being asked to take the same percentage cuts in salary as full-time faculty, classified staff, and management, but we are fighting against other reductions to our parity money and/or our office hours as well. When one comes right down to it, those items are pay cuts as well. The passage of Proposition 30 will make all these decisions much less onerous, so our union is asking one and all to vote “Yes on 30.”
Meanwhile, part-timers need to keep up the fight at the state legislative level to see that reasonable rehire rights and a reasonable limit on full-time faculty overload become law. CFT has backed these two legislative goals for the past two years. However, our parent union organization only has the money to fight for adjunct faculty rights at the legislative level because they use a small portion of our dues to pay for a lobbyist and to elect legislators who are union friendly.
These legislative goals and others will fall by the wayside if Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act, passes. So our union is proposing a “No on 32” position, and I concur.
Finally, there have been recent changes in the area of CalSTRS retirement rules. Most of the changes in the Public Employee Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA 2013) will affect new employees hired after January 1, 2013 who have never before been members of CalSTRS. However, there is one new piece of this legislation which will affect all those presently enrolled in a CalSTRS plan. All faculty who retire under CalSTRS may continue to teach and earn up to $41,000 per year from CalSTRS covered work. However, beginning January 1, 2013, they will be required to “sit out” and not work for 180 days immediately post-retirement. Once a retiree has fulfilled this 180 day moratorium, he/she will be able to continue working while simultaneously receiving a pension as long as the employment earnings do not exceed the statutory limit of around $40,000 per year. Collecting unemployment benefits while receiving a CalSTRS pension will also be allowed under the new provisions.
(For any comments or questions, Phyllis Eckler can be reached at email@example.com or at extension 1122.)
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