Steve Wilson on California's 60% Law

COCAL VII in Vancouver was a wonderful gathering of contingent faculty and people interested in our cause. I was very happy to see Cary Nelson, national president of AAUP and Greg Allain of CAUT as leading speakers as well as presentations from NEA and AFT and some of their affiliates. Defining the problem is a necessary first step taking action, but you eventually have to get beyond the problem and into the solution if you are going to get anywhere and accomplish anything. I was frankly surprised that there was not more discussion of solutions given that the BC hosts have achieved such impressive results in their efforts to achieve regularization for their contingent faculty. I was really hoping that they could share with people from the California Community Colleges their idea of Right of First Refusal which has spread from British Columbia to places like Winnepeg and the California State University system. 

The CCC faculty are struggling with this 60% law which says that if a faculty person teaches 60% or more, they are full time. No doubt this was a well intentioned move to prevent the exploitation of contingent faculty, but in a classic example of what happens when administrations get a hold of such legislation, it is the nearly universal practice to keep all contingent faculty in the California Community College System below 60%. This has been a major factor in creating the phenomenon of the freeway flyer in California. Understandably, there is a great deal of interest in abolishing the 60% law, but I have been suggesting that a 60% law could come in quite handy in a district where there was a Right of First Refusal which would say that if new or additional work should become available for part timers, incumbents would have the Right of First Refusal before new people could be hired in from the outside WHETHER OR NOT IT WOULD PUT THEM OVER 60%. I was so sad that this exchange of ideas did not happen in Vancouver, that I have taken the presumptive step of sharing it on a couple of list serves.

[This item originally appeared on the Elchorro listserv on August 17, 2006, posted by Steve Wilson (]
Last revised on September 09, 2006 by the Webmaster.