The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 9th, 2015
Academe’s part-time instructors have
long complained about low pay and poor working conditions, and now their
protests are finally being heard.
By joining together in labor unions,
part-time instructors at several colleges have managed in recent years
to win major improvements in their pay, benefits, job security, and
overall working conditions. And even where they could not unionize, such
instructors have used greater activism to send the message that there
are limits to their exploitation by college administrations seeking to
stretch instructional budgets.
"Five years ago, we were still trying to get people to understand
there is a problem," says Maria Maisto, president of the New Faculty
Majority, an advocacy group for contingent academic workers formed in
2009. Now, Ms. Maisto says, a growing consensus around the difficulties
faced by adjuncts means college administrators can no longer "pretend
that the conditions of adjunct faculty don’t need to be addressed."