SB 5905 http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5905&year=2013 would eliminate part-timers from the current statewide health insurance plans. Here is the text of the letter from Dr. Keith Hoeller of the Washington Part-Time Faculty Association. Please contact state legislators to share your opinion.
Here are the two sponsors:
Senator Andy Hill(R) 45th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT
303 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40445
Olympia, WA 98504-0445
Senator James Hargrove(D) 24th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT
"While the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus has proposed raising higher education spending by $300 million, none of this money would go to raise the poverty level incomes of the 8,000 part-time (or adjunct) faculty in the two-year colleges. From 1995-2007, the legislature appropriated $60 million to increase our salaries, but stopped in 2007 with the recession.
Adjunct faculty who teach a full-time load are paid only 60% of what full-time faculty earn for teaching the same number of courses. But since each union contract prevents adjuncts from teaching full-time, and allows full-timers to teach overtime, the average adjunct, teaching 50%, is earning only about 30% of a full-time teaching load, or about $18,000 a year. These professors have graduate degrees, families, and student loans to pay off.
In 1998, I initiated a class action lawsuit over the denial of state-paid health care insurance to thousands of part-time faculty who teach half-time or more. (The case was settled out of court for $12 million in 2004. I initiated another lawsuit, settled for $12.5 million in 2002, to extend state-paid retirement benefits to part-time faculty.)
SB 5905 would eliminate part-timers from the current statewide health insurance plans and force them into exchanges whose cost is unknown, but certain to be higher, and to include much lower coverage.
The provision to pay some part-timers $2 more per hour will not help part-time faculty, who are paid by the class contact hour, and not for all of the hours they work outside of class. An adjunct teaching two five-credit classes (that is 66% of full-time) is paid for only 110 hours of class time (55 x 2). So in a three month quarter, an adjunct would receive only $240 to compensate for buying new coverage that would cost hundreds of dollars more a month.
The adjuncts are exploited and mistreated by both the colleges and their own unions. State law currently forced adjuncts, who have no job security, into the same unions with full-time faculty who have tenure and serve as their supervisors. We dropped a bill earlier this session to give us independent unions, but it did not get a hearing due to our late start.
Since virtually no state agencies will protect us from harassment and retaliation from union bullies, we just filed a 75 page complaint with the regional accreditor asking for an investigation of the entire community college system. Potentially, the accreditors could withhold accreditation primarily because of the mistreatment of the adjunct faculty.
You cannot claim to be for higher education, and yet make matters worse for the adjunct faculty.
I urge you to abandon this contentious bill immediately. I would like to meet with you ASAP to discuss this issue. I can meet before 8:30 a.m. on weekdays, and after 3:30 p.m. as well. I am available anytime tomorrow (Friday).
Please let me hear from you.