Part-time faculty at Columbia College press for better contract
(POSTED: 4/4/11) Part-time instructors at Columbia College Chicago are calling for a fair contract and better job security as negotiations carry on seven months after their agreement expired.
Members of the Part-time Faculty Association of Columbia took their complaints to the streets Friday during an informational picket (pictured above) outside one of the college’s downtown buildings, at Harrison Street and Michigan Avenue.
One of their top concerns is the threat of losing classes, according to Nancy Traver, the union’s spokeswoman.
“A lot of senior adjuncts are losing their hours to less experienced adjuncts,” Traver said. “To suddenly get two thirds or one half of your income taken away and it’s given to a lesser experienced teacher, that is devastating.”
One longtime instructor, Prexy Nesbitt, said he found out that one of his classes had been dropped through an email from a student. Only a couple weeks before school started, he had already done the preparation work and ordered the books.
“It’s a total lack of respect for us, that’s the bottom line, and for what we bring to the education process,” Nesbitt said.
Teachers are currently employed semester to semester, but the union is asking for one-year deals to provide the instructors with more job security.
“We don’t know if it’s goodbye forever or goodbye for a semester,” said Basil Clunie, another part-time instructor. “We’d like to know that if we are making the commitment to teach at Columbia that we could teach for a year.”
According to a statement from Columbia that was emailed to ChicagoUnionNews.com, the administration “remains committed to a cooperative and collegial bargaining process.”
The statement also said that Columbia, a private arts and media school, has offered a proposal that includes wage increases. Furthermore, it noted that Columbia’s part-time faculty members are the highest paid among all schools with Illinois Education Association contracts.
According to the union, the teachers make anywhere from $2,000 to $4,700 per semester for a three-hour course.
By Katie Drews, for ChicagoUnionNews.com