Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Faculty members urge board for health insurance benefits

If AB 190 is adopted by the board and district, part-time faculty members will receive the opportunity to join the California Public Employees’ Retirement System health insurance program at no additional cost.
Emanuel Guadarrama
Jason Hultman, part-time adjunct advocating for the adoption of AB 190, Oct. 18.

During the regular board meeting on Oct. 18, over 10 faculty members including the president of the Cerritos College Faculty Federation, Dr. Lynn Wang came together to urge the board to adopt Assembly Bill 190.

AB 190 is an ongoing budget of $200 million by the state legislature to expand healthcare coverage for part-time faculty of community college districts.

According to the Cerritos College fact sheet from the Office of Public Affairs from July 2023, the college currently has a total of 3,285 employees, out of those employees, 1,224 are faculty members.

Only 254 of those 1,224 faculty members are full-time as the college tends to mostly hire part-time.

Currently, only 20.73% of faculty members receive covered health insurance, meaning that nearly 80% of faculty or 92% of all Cerritos College employees aren’t receiving any health coverage benefits.

Dr. Henrietta Hurtado, EOPS professor of counseling, Chicano studies department chair and CCFF communication chair, was the first part-time faculty member from the audience to comment on the matter.

Dr. Hurtado talked about how she’s been working at Cerritos College for over 22 years and during her first three years as an instructor she had to travel across the border to receive medical, dental and vision health care at an affordable cost.

Only 254 of the faculty staff at Cerritos College can receive medical health coverage (Joel Carpio)

She’s grateful for being able to serve the Hispanic service institutions, students and community but only full-time faculty have had access to health care benefits.

“Health is wealth and you are rich,” Dr. Hurtado said, “I kindly ask that you ground your positionality and the continuum of a constructive holistic faculty body.”

Stephanie Rosenblatt, a full-time faculty member and librarian at the district expressed her gratitude to the board for her fully covered health insurance.

Rosenblatt shared how she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, had to undergo radiation therapy and how she could’ve ended up falling into financial ruin because of it.

“I have no idea how much any of that cost because I never had to worry about it thanks to my fully paid blue shield access plus HMO,” Rosenblatt said.

“I know that you guys aren’t responsible for how healthcare works in the United States but you can do something to make life on our campus more equitable,” said Rosenblatt, “Please make it a priority to take advantage of all of the resources offered by AB 190.”

Bruce Russell, a librarian, instructor and part-time faculty member also advocated for the board to bargain in good faith with the CCFF, to adopt AB 190.

“I’ve often heard that the complexities in rising cost and health insurance are making us sicker, as an adjunct working a 40% load, I would agree with this,” said Russell while advocating for the board to adopt AB 190.

Desiree Montenegro, a part-time faculty senator for CCFF and Faculty governor for the southern region, has been working at Cerritos for over six years and also advocated to the board to adopt AB 190.

“With the passage of AB190, part-time faculty can now join CalPERS program at no additional cost to the district as long as they work 40% load,” said Montenegro.

Jason Hultman, a part-time adjunct, who works for the math department and success center also advocated to the board.

“Life as a part-time faculty member is often precarious, we often work at multiple colleges, cobbling together a schedule to meet our monthly expenses,” said Hultman.

“More often than not health insurance is the expense that we cut because we have come to view it as a luxury of the part-time faculty existence rather than a necessity,” Hultman said.

Four more public comments were made online by faculty which were all advocating for the same thing.

Dennis Falcon, faculty senate president, was moved by the comments made and is confident that the board will listen to the comments made during the board meeting.

Falcon also announced that soon faculty would be able to have sabbatical leave for a year, which is essentially a break so they can either study or refresh themselves to mitigate burnout.

The senate is also working on forming a task force in response to the impact of AB928, which put the UC system and the CSU system in a position to require a single path for students transferring into those institutions from community colleges.

Dr. Wang then brought up AB 190 again and how several districts such as Sandiego, LACCD and Los Rios district were completely reimbursed for providing healthcare to their eligible part-time faculty.

Dr. Wang also mentioned how the college was only reimbursed for 50% of the coverage they gave to a few part-time faculty members for not fully adopting AB 190.

“Fully implementing AB190 is a cost-saving measure for our college… it is time to offer our eligible part-time faculty, high quality, district provided healthcare for free.” Dr. Wang said.

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About the Contributors
Emanuel Guadarrama
Emanuel Guadarrama, Co-News Editor
Emanuel Guadarrama is the returning news editor for Talon Marks, who’ll be covering any and all newsworthy events or stories on campus. When he isn’t working on his news section, he enjoys listening to various genres of music and reading. He also likes going on hikes, walking with his dog and spending time with his friends and family.
Joel Carpio
Joel Carpio, Managing Editor
Joel Carpio is the Managing, Co-Sports, & Co-Social Media Editor for Talon Marks, he enjoys playing sports, listening to music, and is an avid fan of the Dodgers, Lakers, Rams, Kings, and LAFC. He is planning on transferring to San Diego State University and earn his bachelors degree in Journalism. In the future he wants to be a sports broadcaster.
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    JAYANANDA HIRANANDANIOct 27, 2023 at 11:03 am

    More than 30 years ago, the City College of San Francisco had this.