So it begins: cutting course loads
…to keep #adjuncts below eligibility level for Affordable Health Care Act coverage. Not just faculty either: all part time employee groups are affected. Higher ed joins the Papa John / Applebee's club.
- ...breaking the story locally, The Post Gazette
- In what we hope will be just the first in a series of adjuncts speaking in their own voices and not as media sound bites, Robin J. Sowards, Pittsburgh adjunct organizer comments:
...it's important to bust the myth that adjuncts only work when they are in class, especially since that's often the adminisphere's justification for institutional segregation between adjuncts and tenure-stream faculty ("adjuncts don't have research or service responsibilities" blah blah blah). Unfortunately, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act places us in a real dilemma.
If we prove to the adminisphere that we teach more than 30 hours, then we've handed them an excuse to reduce our maximum course load, thus reducing our pay (and they can do so without any fear of an unfair labor practice charge where that might otherwise have been a concern). But if we try to protect our maximum course load by insisting that we work fewer than 30 hours, we misrepresent the reality of our labor (which is that every "part-time" faculty member I know actually works "full-time" hours or more, even at a single school).
In my view, this is all the more reason why adjuncts should organize and push for normalization (e.g., along the lines proposed by Jack Longmate and Frank Cosco in their "Program for Change") rather than simply pushing for an increase in per-course pay or benefits at the cost of retaining "part-time" status. When I say "organize," I do not mean only organizing a formal labor union through the NLRB process; those legal mechanisms can have tactical utility, but they are a means, not an end. The PPACA is, I think, an excellent example of how reformist tactics often make things worse. Such are my tuppence, anyway. In solidarity, .R.
- …and a few words from the "consultants" advising businesses on how to duck
- Back story...blog post June 2012 about potential positive implications of ACA for adjuncts…obviously, not these. Plus comments
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