Over 100 faculty from Port Angeles to Spokane attended the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges meeting in October to deliver a petition signed by over 900 part- and full-time faculty. AFT WA partnered with WEA to gather signatures, and each of the 34 Community and Technical Colleges were represented. We had a lively presentation featuring rank-and-file contingent faculty who shared their personal experiences of job insecurity exacerbated by COVID-19 and ctcLink; they highlighted their experiences of stress, overwork without additional pay, and financial disruption. The event marked a major step in our statewide Contingent Faculty Issues Committee’s Adjunct Equity Campaign.
Our remarks also gave an overview of the history of adjunct job precarity and pay inequity, and how AFT WA and WEA affiliates have spearheaded efforts at the local and legislative levels, winning incremental progress. Working conditions for adjuncts in Washington are indeed slightly better than the national average, especially in terms of healthcare and the ratio of part-time to full-time faculty. But our message to SBCTC was clear: We are done with incremental progress. Now is the time for system-wide changes to these systemic problems, especially in the wake of the financial devastation of COVID and ctcLink.
How can this be accomplished? Our petition to SBCTC named three primary ways: Establishing a ratio of 75% FT/TT faculty as a goal for all colleges, as well as 85% pay parity per credit hour for adjuncts, and improving job security (and by extension health care access). It also implores SBCTC to advocate for funding for these issues at the state level. All these things are within SBCTC’s power to recommend to colleges, if not mandate.
What are the next steps? We need SBCTC to continue hearing our voices at their December 1 meeting during public comment at 4:30 PM. We encourage contingent faculty to come prepared with two-minute remarks that answer the question, “How are you personally impacted by job insecurity and lack of pay equity in your workplace?” Please touch on the idea that now is the time for system-wide equity, not incrementalism. We especially seek comments that show how COVID and ctcLink have exacerbated longstanding issues. To take part, email email@example.com.