Broward College Adjunct Professors Make Maximum $16,000 a Year; They Are Now Unionizing, May Strike
The details of this process are a longer history than I have time for here, but suffice it to say that it dovetails with the political program carried out by both Republicans and Democrats over the past 40 years that has focused on ensuring a constant upward redistribution of wealth in both the private and public sector and uses state power to facilitate the process.
But you cannot win the Super Bowl until you can win games, and you cannot win games until you learn how to make plays and put points on the board. Faculty members cannot redress these extreme inequities unless they can begin the process of restoring faculty dominance over administration.
To that end, the adjunct faculty is beginning to unionize.
The Broward College Adjunct Faculty Union is in the formation process and is meeting to plan possible ways to redesign what was (in what now seems like ancient times) an old form of labor justice called "the strike." The strikes of the 1930s cannot be resurrected any more than the economy of the 1930s can. They must be redesigned, from scratch. Every generation faces its own battle against injustices imposed by unjust authority and the people who carry out those injustices.
I am fully aware that the "adjunct crisis," as some are calling it, is a national problem in higher education, not simply a "Broward College" labor crisis. The standard propaganda line from higher education administration is that faculty costs are what is driving up tuition costs (as opposed to unlimited student loan access, for-profit scam schools, and administration costs), but as this data shows it is college administration costs that are much of the problem, and this isn't even delving into a what-is-the-purpose-of-higher-education? discussion that we need to have.
The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2010-11, nonprofit colleges and universities spent $449 billion. Less than 29 percent of that -- $129 billion -- went for instruction, and part of that amount went for expenses other than professors' salaries. Yes, the $449 billion includes money spent on auxiliary enterprises (food and housing operations, for example), hospitals, and "independent operations" (whatever they are). Suppose we subtract the $85 billion that pays for all of that from the total. That leaves $364 billion. The $129 billion for instruction of students is still only 35 percent of that.
As of now, the BCAFU is in formation with a steering committee and is forming two tactical formations: One force is the strike force, which will be tasked with carrying out labor actions. The other, the support force, is doing media outreach and will be in charge of negotiations, recruitment, etc.
I will close with these basic opening demands: (1) a doubling of the adjunct rate, to a total of $16,000 per semester (from $8,000), which would put us at $32,000 per year (right about at the median income for Broward County, hardly that aggressive of an opening demand); (2) a seniority system for adjuncts in order to create greater predictability of job continuation and scheduling from term to term, to avoid the chronic uncertainty of how we will survive. I should note that these demands may increase or expand with time and as the conflict develops.
For adjuncts or strike team volunteers interested in joining the BCAFU, visit https://www.facebook.com/BCAFU .