Each of our weekly messages include a quick survey on your thoughts about the current District and AFT proposals on an issue by issue basis (see Negotiation FAQs).

After reading this Action Update, let us know your thoughts regarding the District’s stance on Lab Rates and any feedback you have on our union’s proposal.

FACT: SMCCD offers laboratory courses taught by faculty across math, science, technology, kinesiology, athletics, dance, music, art, auto tech, cosmetology, and allied health fields.

FACT: Currently, these faculty receive between 70 and 80% of the credit per lab hour that faculty receive to teach sections designated as lecture.

FAIRNESS: At least 19 California community college districts give faculty in some disciplines 100% equal credit for teaching lab as teaching lecture.

Los Angeles CCD, Napa CCD, and San Diego CCD are among the districts that give faculty across all lab-based disciplines the same credit for teaching an hour of lab as an hour of lecture.

Lab rates are a work in progress for our union. We’re aware that raising lab FLCs could put some part-timers over the 67% cap with their current teaching loads. Our union has been actively working with our statewide union, CFT, to raise the cap on part-time load to 85%. Our negotiating team has also proposed paying part-timers by load so they can benefit from increased lab FLCs—unfortunately, the District continues to refuse. If you are a part-timer or full-timer concerned about the impact increased lab FLCs could have on part-timers in your discipline, please complete the linked survey so we can contact you to work together on the issue.

EQUITY: If the District truly cares about equity, it must compensate faculty fairly for the time and effort they put into labs to improve student learning outcomes.

Members like you have shared their thoughts on the lag in lab pay at SMCCCD:

“Labs are the heart of the scientific process, and to teach them well requires adaptive and creative curriculum design, active engagement with students during the lab, and personalized feedback on long-form student assignments such as lab reports and notebooks. 

Compensating faculty for only 80% of lab time reflects an outdated ‘cookie-cutter’ expectation for how labs are run.”

—Alex Wong, FT Physics Faculty, CSM

“Lab time is challenging…it involves lecturing, checking notebooks, experimenting, [and responding to] possible disasters—even if they are as simple as a beaker breaking.

At [other colleges I teach, like] De Anza, the lab pay is equal to lecture pay. Equality in lab and lecture pay makes me feel valued and inspires me to use the lab time for more than just the experiment of the day.”

—PT Chemistry Faculty, Cañada College

“Students in Astronomy lab classes participate in hands-on experiments using telescopes, spectrometers, and other equipment, and gain critical thinking and collaborative skills.

Lab classes involve setting up and taking down equipment, and much more interaction and grading than lectures, and they should be paid at least the same as lectures.

The District has a history of supporting equity in other aspects of academia and should do the honorable thing by establishing equitable pay for lab and lecture classes.

Elisha Polomski, FT Astronomy Faculty,   CSM

Each of our weekly messages includes a quick survey asking your perspective on proposals made by both AFT negotiators and the District. Please click the “Take Survey” button at right to share your thoughts. Every bit of feedback helps us act strategically to win a fair contract!