In spite of the pandemic, a number of local unions won big gains
for adjuncts, from parity pay to distance education, to the
preservation of healthcare for adjuncts with reduced loads. These
wins are especially significant at this time in which revenues
are falling and concerns over future budgets made many
administrators skittish to bargain.
One of the more talked about resolutions passed by the biennial
AFT Convention this July was Resolution
15, which calls for AFT to support City University of New
York adjuncts in their quest to achieve through “actions,
demonstrations, and advocacy,” a minimum of $7,000 per
The resolution, which passed with resounding support and no
opposition, also supports this minimum in “all other AFT locals’
campaigns for fair adjunct pay.”
If there were perhaps one way to describe the legislative
campaign waged by CFT this year as it regards both part-timers
and the community college system, one could say it was
“spirited.” Despite the sea changes proposed for the entire
system, the union still won improvements for part-timers.
On a hillside in San Francisco a small public school bears the
name of one of the pioneers in the movement for workplace
equality. Kate Kennedy was born in Ireland, and like so many
others, came to the United States during the Great Potato Famine
of 1845-49. She was the first San Francisco teacher to join a
union. In 1874, she brought a non-discrimination suit that
provided the precedent for “equal pay for equal work.” Ultimately
a federal law passed in 1963 made it illegal to pay men and women
working in the same place different salaries for similar work.
Parity pay — compensation for part-time faculty commensurate with
that of our full-time colleagues for comparable work — is one of
the defining goals of the movement for part-timer equity.
Progress continues to be made, but in lean budgetary times salary
schedule advancements may be more difficult to negotiate.
Have you ever wondered how your pay rate compares to that of
other part-time faculty throughout the state? Who gets paid for
office hours and how much? Will you earn more if you have a
doctorate? What percentage are you earning of what full-timers
make at your college for their teaching duties?
The recent results of an ambitious survey undertaken in 2010
of contingent academic workers provides a fuller picture of
national trends affecting part-time instructors. The Coalition on the
Academic Workforce designed its study to capture data about
all contingent (non-tenure track) instructors but focused on
part-time faculty working at post-secondary institutions.
Could the dream of “equal pay for equal work” become a reality for contingent faculty in California? It could if CFT is successful in promoting the passage of progressive legislation, as part of the national AFT campaign to address the academic staffing crisis in higher education.
One of the principles of the the newly introduced Faculty and College Excellence Act (AB 1343, Mendoza, D-Artesia) is pro rata pay — and benefits equal to that of tenured and tenure-track faculty doing comparable work.