Dear LCC Faculty Colleagues,
This week faculty and students across the country are marking Campus Equity Week, a national week of action and education dedicated to promoting economic equality in higher education. The issues in focus include significantly lower rates of pay and benefits for “part-time” and adjunct (a.k.a. contingent) faculty, rising student debt, and corporate-led educational “reform” that shortchanges low-income students.
The participation in this year’s event is particularly impressive, with more than a 100 colleges and universities in 25 states planning a wide variety of events. This level of activism shows the growing realization that the current situation, where more than 50% of higher education faculty work as underpaid adjuncts, has become untenable.
Here at Lane Community College over 60% of our faculty are “part-time” instructors, working on term-to-term contracts. Part-time instructors are paid about 30% less than contracted faculty for teaching the same courses, and receive fewer benefits. And a majority of part-time faculty are only part-time involuntarily: colleges across our state and country are simply balancing their books by exploiting faculty members, keeping them in lower paid jobs, often with few if any benefits (and many part-time faculty actually aren’t part-time faculty; refusals to appoint them to full-time positions require many to work at more than one college, and still not qualify for most benefits or “full-time rates” of pay).
Although together we have been able to secure relatively good conditions for part-time faculty at Lane compared with other community colleges, many part-timers still have poor job security and inadequate pay, cannot afford to provide healthcare for their families, and are excluded from full participation in the life of our departments and our college. These instructors have dedicated many years of their lives to Lane’s students and deserve to be treated as equals and full members of our community.
Your Bargaining Team has presented proposals that will improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for part-time faculty, bringing us a step closer to equity. These include:
- Greater employer support for part-time faculty members needing health insurance for their family members
- Raising the salary schedule by half a step (in addition to the proposed 1.59% COLA)
- Inclusion in governance activities and pay for participation
- Earlier pay dates in fall term
- More timely notifications of course assignments
So far the administration has rejected all of our proposals. We need you to help change their response.
During Campus Equity Week, we ask you to help promote equality on campus by raising awareness of part-time faculty compensation and working conditions and by supporting your Bargaining Team. You will find a CEW LCCEA Poster attached that you can print and post on your office door and public boards. Please take some time to learn about part-time equity issues and your Bargaining Team’s proposals and to discuss them with others. As always, you are also encouraged to attend this week’s bargaining session on Thursday (Oct. 31) 12 noon – 2 p.m., CEN 407, and to support our efforts to challenge the “Walmartization” of higher education and Lane Community College.
We are all proud to teach at an institution that combines access with a high quality education. Since part-time faculty teach more than half of Lane’s courses, their/our working conditions are truly our students’ learning conditions. Let’s support quality education by helping create an equitable and stable workplace for all faculty.
Jim Salt, LCCEA President
Polina Kroik, LCCEA Vice President for Part-time Faculty