Adjuncts nationwide to push for change by walking out
- College and university adjuncts around the U.S. are expected to protest pay and working conditions by taking part in "National Adjunct Walkout Day" Wednesday.
- Yeshiva University history professor Ellen Schrecker, who has focused on the labor movement in academia and beyond, told the Chronicle of Higher Education that the move is "brilliant" as a means to raise awareness with students and the general public, who are largely unaware of the situation adjuncts face.
- She adds, however, that it will take years of organizing and educating the public for conditions to improve, and that a lack of public support for unions further complicates matters.
According to Schrecker, up until recently, many full-time tenured faculty members were even unaware of the situation many adjuncts face, which she says even includes some of them needing food stamps to get by. While there have been efforts by the likes of Service Employees International Union to organize adjuncts, and a number of institutions now allowing those employees to do so, these efforts have yet to fully penetrate academia. And, of course, the aforementioned current lack of public support for unions further complicates matters.
On the other hand, SEIU is now pushing for adjuncts to receive a base pay of $15,000 per course. While that may be a bit steep and unlikely in most cases, it could ultimately result in some sort of pay increase, as Schrecker points out that reaching for more "pie in the sky" results in "more pie on the earth."
The real question, though, may be whether or not students would be likely to empathize with the plight of adjuncts if the bill for pay increases is then passed on to them through tuition hikes or other means.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education Today Is ‘National Adjunct Walkout Day.’ Will It Make a Difference?
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