Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Colorado HB14-1124: #EqualPay4EqualWork

…Today TuesJan 21, Don Eron wrote #adjuncts on the adj-l list. Links, docs, etc referenced below will also be aggregated on a separate page along with other items relevant to this important campaign. 

Dear Colleagues,

For those of you who are interested in following the progress of the "Community College Pay and Benefits Equity Act of 2014," the Colorado House hearing will be on February 3 at 1:30 pm.

Documents will be posted on BOTH the "Equal Pay Bill 2014" page of, the Front Range Community College's AAUP web site, and on the  Colorado Conference of the AAUP web page.  [Ed note: the plucky Colorado Adjuncts are also on Facebook if you'd like to leave them a congrats message]

Clarice Lawless, Front Range CC, at the mic
The press release about our press conference on the steps of the State Capitol last Friday on the Front Range page includes a video of the press conference, embedded player and link. There were nine speakers -- five adjuncts, the house sponsor, the senate sponsor, an AAUP speaker (me), and an AFT speaker.

[Ed note: the video plays in the page but is not sharing well or opening well on YouTube, so watch it on the page. When everything is working again, we'll embed it here -- and elsewhere.]

HB14-1124, as the bill has been renumbered, calls for all community college faculty to receive pay and benefits according to one salary schedule. All faculty will serve a percentage of a full-time load
(stipulated as 30 credit hours per year or the equivalent in non-teaching duties). A faculty member's teaching and non-teaching responsibilities will be paid out at the same rate.

The concept (with some significant differences) is similar to that of the Program for Change and the  Vancouver Model. Regular readers of the adj-l list will recognize a debt to Jack Longmate and Frank Cosco, as well as Keith Hoeller. We think of this legislation as an example of what the AAUP can help to accomplish for contingent faculty if contingent faculty are willing to summon the ideas and do the work. But the AAUP does not stand alone in this campaign. The initiative has also been endorsed by AFT Colorado, SEIU Colorado, the New Faculty Majority, and other organizations. We are grateful for their help.

One reason that HB14-1124 has a chance to pass is that the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) has an extraordinarily strong financial profile, although the system pays at the national market rate for community college part-time faculty. For example, the CCCS has $300 million in their reserve fund. Over the last three years, while numerous CCCS faculty are on food stamps, qualify for indigent care help, or work two or three other jobs in order to afford to teach three or four community college classes, the CCCS has placed well over $100 million into their reserves.

What we have at work here is a kind of double burden for the state. The state gives money to the CCCS, for which the CCCS has total spending discretion. In exercising their total discretion, the CCCS chooses to create conditions of hardship for their teachers. As a result of this act of discretion, the state picks up the additional tab of public assistance for these community college teachers —through subsidized housing, food stamps, indigent care help, and the like.

The community college system in Colorado, as is the case elsewhere, is broken. It works wonderfully well for one stakeholder--the upper level administrators--but offers too many incentives for these
administrators to create hardships for their faculty and poor learning conditions for their students. We believe that HB14-1124 is a good solution.

All of us involved in this initiative appreciate your support and interest.

Best, Don

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