Thursday, February 4, 2021

Washington State, SB 5194's Shameful Dismissal of Thousands of Part-Time Faculty, Dr. Hoeller, Feb. 4, 2021


RE:  SB 5194's Shameful Dismissal of Thousands of Part-Time Faculty
Like last year's similar bill (SB 6405), which did not pass, SB 5194 has a fiscal note of roughly $200 million. There are no revisions or even a substitute bill that would be acceptable to us. 
The two major  purposes of SB 5194 are detrimental to the 8,000 part-timers who teach in our community and technical colleges at poverty-level pay and without any job security:  (1) to increase the number of full-time faculty by taking jobs from current part-timers, and (2) to ensure that part-time faculty pay is tied only to instruction and therefore remains substantially below full-time pay.
SB 5194 Means Thousands of Part-Time Faculty Will Lose Their Jobs.
The bill seeks to convert part-time positions to full-time positions by taking courses away from part-timers. From one-to three part-timers will lose their jobs for every full-time position created. In seeking to create 1,500 full-time positions, at least 3,000 current part-time faculty will lose their jobs. Since union contracts allow full-timers to teach overtime, even more part-timers will lose their jobs.
SB 5194 is NOT an Equal Pay Bill for Part-Time Faculty.
SB 5194 seeks to pay part-timers only for the work they do solely tied to instruction, as though they "only teach," thereby keeping part-time pay well below 100%. This formula ignores three facts.
First, in “Part-Time Faculty Pay is a Form of Wage Theft,” I argued that part-timers do work outside of class, but they are simply not paid for it. They are also able and willing to engage in non-teaching work such as committees, if they were properly compensated. They should be involved in the life of the college and paid for it. 
Second, full-timers are paid on annual contracts, with compensation for non-teaching periods such as summers and term breaks, professional development funds, and sabbaticals. Part-timers are not paid for these non-work periods; they are unemployed and have trouble collecting unemployment.  SB 5194 does not address this lack of part-time compensation at all.
Third, the union contracts cap part-time work well below full-time, so many part-timers will continue to earn far less than full-timers do.
Part-Time Faculty Do Not Have Their Own Unions.
Washington state has forced the part-time faculty into the same unions with the full-time faculty who a) are protected by tenure, and b) often serve as their immediate supervisors. This is illegal in the private sector and violates the Washington Administrative Code barring supervisors being placed in the same unions with the employees they supervise. "Adjunct Professors Need Their Own Union" documents this unfairness.
The unions (AFT and WEA) support for this bill underscores their favoritism for the full-timers. Since the Supreme Court's Janus decision abolished "agency fees" in 2018, unions have been losing members and income. SB 5194 will give the unions 1,500 more full-time members, since the full-timers tend to join the unions and pay more in dues since they have higher salaries. 
The Washington Part-Time Faculty Association urges you to VOTE NO on SB 5194 and any substitute or revised bill.
Keith Hoeller, Ph.D.
Co-founder, Washington Part-Time Faculty Association
Editor, "Equality for Contingent Faculty: Overcoming the Two-Tier System"
     (Vanderbilt University Press, 2014)
Seattle, WA

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