November 2020 Advocate: Why our part-time faculty need equity now!

Why our part-time faculty need equity now!

For far too long SMCCD has not paid part-time faculty equitably compared to full-time faculty in our district, and, in fact, they have paid part-time faculty significantly less than other local districts do.

The vast majority of California community college districts pay part-time faculty a salary based on a percentage of full-time faculty salaries (referred to as the “part-time parity” rate and adjusted for the number of units taught.)  SMCCD has not been willing to do this. Our district continues to pay part-time faculty at an hourly rate, based on a simple salary schedule: 11 steps (years of experience), but no columns to account for educational levels, while the full-time faculty schedule has 25 steps and 5 columns.

In most other districts, the part-time faculty salary schedules directly mirror the full-time salary schedules so that the FT and PT schedules have the same number of steps and columns. The only difference is that the part-time schedules reflect the percentage of the full-time schedule that has been negotiated by the union and district at the part-time parity rate. This provides part-time faculty with a much more reasonable and rational method of pay and more equitable salaries.

While SMCCD is one of the wealthiest districts in the state and SMCCD administrators’ salaries are ranked the highest of all California community college districts, our district’s part-time faculty salaries rank in the lower half of Bay Area districts and significantly below neighboring districts, as shown in the comparison below.

Comparison of Part-Time Faculty Pay:
SMCCCD, College of Marin, CCSF, Foothill/De Anza & West Valley/Mission
Per semester for teaching one 3-unit class

SMCCCD Marin CCSF Foothill West Valley
(% of FT)
District has not
agreed to a %




Step 1
(63.84% of FT)
6441.00 5667.40 5321.30 5766.40
Step 5
(64.79% of FT)
7270.92 6815.50 6402.77 6865.40
Step 10
(66.58% of FT)
8709.79 8193.22 7484.23 8459.40
Highest Step
(54.87% of FT)
12,967.40 10,030.18 8024.97 10,632.40


As contract negotiations between the union and District turn to address compensation issues, SMCCD must do the right thing and accept AFT’s proposal to set part-time pay rates at 85% of full-time salaries. As can be seen in the table on page 1, some of our neighboring districts have set and achieved even higher parity goals. As The Advocate goes to press, the Peralta Federation of Teachers (Oakland/Berkeley) announced a tentative contract agreement that provides 100% pay parity to part-time faculty at the lower end of the scale while adjunct faculty at the top of the scale will make roughly 90% pay parity. Setting parity goal percentages was originally mandated by our state in 2001, but our district is one of the only California community college districts that has refused to define pay parity for part-timers and move their faculty compensation to a parity-based system.

SMCCD faculty speak out

Last Spring, in less than two weeks 640 faculty members and supporters signed AFT’s petition for part-time pay parity. Part-time faculty also spoke publicly for equity at recent Board of Trustees meetings. And AFT’s September 10th Teach-In: Social Justice Unionism in Practice, from Part-Time Parity to Anti-oppression Organizing, brought out more than 170 faculty, students and community members to hear and express their ideas on these unfair working conditions.

It’s reprehensible that we continue fighting for part-time equity in a district that espouses equity as a primary objective. Fair and comparable pay for SMCCD part-time faculty is long overdue! By continuing to demand equal pay for equal work, we can effect change for our part-time faculty community.