Desert Community College District
Board of Trustees Meeting
May 17, 2019
For as long as I have served on the CODAA negotiations team, which has been about six years, the district’s approach has been to compensate adjuncts for the work they do above and beyond the classroom. For example, if an adjunct volunteer to serve on a committee, hold office hours, attend flex, etc., they get paid for those activities. If an adjunct chooses not to participate in shared governance or other activities, they do not get compensated beyond their regular workload. In the past, we were told by all of the district’s negotiators that if we do the work, we should get paid.
And over the years we have made significant progress in this regard. But now, without explanation or justification, the district proposes to discard all that hard work and has instead offered to pay a single flat hourly rate to all adjuncts, irrespective of degrees earned or years of service to the district.
The rate offered is the full-time overload/intersession pay rate. That rate does not reflect any activity performed other than in-class teaching. Linking our pay to that rate freezes our pay until such time as the full-time bargaining unit succeeds in raising it, which happens very infrequently and takes away our ability to negotiate our pay rates.
Also, in other districts that use “adjunct/intercession/overload rates,” all but three use the adjunct schedule to determine overload rates, not the other way around as the district’s team has suggested. Please note that “schedule” does not imply a flat rate. All but two have a definition of parity that uses a percentage of between 68% and 82% of full-time pay computed in Lecture Hours Equivalents. The rate of $72 would place us at about 15th in comparison to all other colleges and still at the bottom of our market basket when you consider those with a rate less than $72 have some district-level participation in paid health benefits, where we have none.
CODAA’s negotiations team surveyed our adjuncts for their reaction to this proposal and the responses were unanimously negative. You can view them on our website: www.codaa.net under the tab “Updates” and “Adjunct Feedback on District’s Pay Proposal.” I encourage all of you to read these comments to see just how upset and frustrated our adjuncts are with the district’s disregard for their contributions. Knowing that if we presented the district’s offer to our members they would reject it, and thus result in an impasse, we countered with a reasonable proposal using the district’s suggested flat rate as a midpoint of a salary schedule recognizing degrees and years of service as we have had in the past, and as the full-time faculty currently have. But our proposal was neither accepted nor rejected, just ignored as the district moved to add new and complicated elements to their proposal.
We also offered significant concessions such as not asking for a retroactive increase to cover the last academic year and lowering the pay rate for attending flex. The inexcusable delays in our negotiations, which I have brought to your attention repeatedly, are the result of:
- the district’s abrupt change in the philosophy of how adjuncts should be paid;
- the lack of a decision-maker being in attendance at meetings;
- the district’s lack of availability to meet; and
- the presence of, but lack of participation by, most of the district’s team members.
I cannot emphasize enough how frustrated and angry we are over the events of this past year. While we are verbally told that adjuncts are appreciated and are an important part of this college’s success, the actions of the district say that we don’t matter.