Part-time college instructors to walk out Feb. 25

Gavilan College Computer Graphics and Design (CGD) instructor Colette Marie McLaughlin.

An advocacy organization that represents 40,000 part-time college instructors across California is asking part-timers to symbolically walk out of the classrooms to draw attention to what they call a significant pay disparity. The move comes in the wake of a proposal the CPFA sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, asking for legislative reform to establish a living wage for part-timers, among other requests.
Most college courses are taught by part-time instructors, and at schools like Gavilan College, part-timers comprised 77 percent of the instructional staff in 2013, state figures show. But part-time teachers are only paid when they’re teaching, unlike their full-time counterparts, who accounted for 23 percent of all teachers at Gavilan.
“Fortunately for students, most part-time instructors voluntarily prepare for classes, grade papers, attend meetings, stay abreast of trends in their fields and communicate with students,” said Colette Marie McLaughlin, a Gavilan College instructor and spokesperson for the CPFA. “Rarely are part-time faculty given office space or other perks full-time college employees are provided, like paid vacations, sick leave, health insurance, retirement benefits, etc.”
Whether or not a part-timer is employed is on a semester-by-semester basis, and if enough students don’t enroll, the class is cut.
“Part-time instructors bear the economic burden when classes are cut—often without notice—so their efforts preparing for class is uncompensated labor,” McLaughlin said.
The symbolic walkout, which is scheduled for Feb. 25, is an attempt to draw attention to the reliance many schools have on part-time faculty—who the CPFA argues are not granted the same protections as full-timers.
“The CPFA recognizes that as precarious workers, part-time faculty may not be able to literally walkout, and we support not only those who do, but also those who show their dislike for things as they are via a symbolic walkout,” said Marnie Weigle, CPFA director of social media.
Last month, the CPFA asked Brown to allocate $200 million towards addressing their concerns, including $40 million to support up to three paid office hours a week, $60 million that would raise part-timers’ base salary and $98 million to narrow the salary gap between full-time and part-time faculty.

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