Revising Contract Article 16:
After several years of hard work, AFA and the District have revised Article 16: Hourly Assignments. For many years, Article 16 has been considered the state's gold standard for reemployment rights for adjunct faculty. It has served us well for more than twenty years. But Article 16 has also been amended many times during those twenty years, and each round of edits taxed the overall coherence of the document, creating inconsistencies, confusion, and contradictions. Those inconsistencies and contradictions made the article difficult to follow. Also, our like-load protections, which are the envy of adjunct faculty across the state, required the District to closely track the increases and decreases in load, semester by semester, for more than one thousand faculty members. Complex provisions pertaining to load-tracking led to unintentional errors, which harmed faculty members and made the District vulnerable to grievances. A third key area of concern was the current article's inability to protect like load in the event of another state budget crisis.
AFA and the District shared two common interests. First, Article 16 should be a document that provides clear, fair protections for faculty teaching on an hourly basis. Second, this article should provide chairs, coordinators, and supervising administrators with language that clearly describes how to implement those protections. We've added language that articulates key values of the article—fairness, lack of bias, transparency, and providing a measure of job security to those who teach on an hourly basis—and specific provisions that reflect those values.
The new Article 16 builds on the protections provided in the existing article. It also builds on the structure and basic provisions of the existing article, so you'll see familiar features, some of which have been renamed—for example, "like load" is now "established load," and "assignment priority" is now called "offer rights."
One of the strongest achievements of this revision is that occasional reductions in the load one performs will not cause a reduction in the established load. The current provisions of Article 16 specify that if one's load goes down—due to fewer available classes, declining an offer, etc.—one's like load goes down. In other words, as like load is tracked from one like semester to the next, a faculty member could teach 40 percent one fall, and, due to illness or fewer available classes, teach 20 percent the next fall, and as a consequence see his or her like load for all future fall semesters go down to 20 percent.
Under the new provisions, once a faculty member has an established load, the established load can't go down as long as the faculty member maintains his or her position on the length-of-service (LOS) list. In the scenario above, that means that our faculty member who taught 40 percent one fall but only 20 percent the next would still be entitled to an offer of 40 percent for subsequent fall semesters if the department has 40 percent to offer, based on the person's position on the LOS list. This increased protection covers a host of situations. Over the years, we've heard from faculty members whose loads have gone down due to the shrinking class schedule; the need to decline an offer due to illness, scheduling conflicts, or the need to take care of elderly parents; and declining assignments for oneself to make them available to others during budget cuts. In the past, all of these situations would have resulted in loss of like load for future terms. In the future, none of these situations would result in loss of established load.
A few final points. Based on feedback in response to AFA's Article 16 presentations on April 6, 7, and 9, the final draft of the article differs in three key ways. First, AFA and the District responded to concerns expressed by adjunct and contract faculty pertaining to the process of creating and amending departmental procedures. Both adjunct and contract faculty members expressed a need for balancing the voices of the two groups, and that section of the article now responds to this expressed need. Second, faculty suggested that departmental procedures be discipline-specific where needed, especially regarding special expertise, load values for initial allocation, and required offers for faculty with offer rights but no established load. This, too, is reflected in the revised article. And third, the teams decided against the original plan to move rules pertaining to cancellation of hourly assignments to another section of the Contract. This section has been restored to the revised article.
If approved by the membership, Article 16 will become effective in Fall 2015. Its first implementation will be in fall, when departments are creating the Spring 2015 schedule. As we anticipate that departments will need support in this process, AFA will offer a training session in early fall, and, as always, our office is available to answer questions.
Finally, a word of thanks to the faculty members whose efforts contributed to this final draft: