by Isabelle Saber, Guild President
As we impatiently awaited October 1, the promise of a paycheck after a lean summer was shadowed by looming cuts to the base pay of full-time faculty, and our immediate future held hostage to projected tax revenues of the state. Built into these projections are contingencies for shortfalls, categorized into Tiers 0, 1, and 2. Our stance at the negotiations table is thus far based on Tier 0, or the hope of no shortfalls in the state’s anticipated revenues.
Although salary give backs are, even with a Tier 0 outcome, almost a certainty for our full-timers, the fear, shared by many colleagues, of a permanent reduction to base pay is unfounded. Any reduction applied to Schedule A (the full-time salary schedule) and various stipends is negotiated with a sunset date. In other words, on July 1, 2012, all affected salary and stipend schedules will automatically revert to 2010-11 levels; if, in future years, additional salary give backs prove to be necessary to balance the college’s budget, the District will have to negotiate them on an annual basis with the Guild. It is inconceivable that the Guild, under its current or future leadership, would ever agree to a permanent reduction in pay for any of its members.
Last year, the Guild made a commitment to shield adjunct faculty from the upcoming round of pay cuts. This decision was justifiable based on two important facts: first, the downscaling of the college’s course offerings has occurred almost entirely at the expense of our part-timers, some of whom have lost 50 percent or more of their income through shrinking teaching or counseling assignments. Second, two years ago, this group of faculty suffered a permanent pay cut of nearly 4 percent as a result of diminishing parity funds disbursed by the state. The combined effect of these two unfortunate events has been quite severe, and it would be highly unjust to subject part-timers to yet another round of painful cuts.
So far, the District has refused to acknowledge the plight of the largest and most vulnerable group of employees on campus. Although the profit generated by adjunct faculty has always been enjoyed by all groups on campus, protecting them from further devastation is now considered a Guild liability.
Thankfully, the generosity of spirit displayed by the majority of full-timers has afforded us the possibility of shouldering this moral imperative. You should all be proud to belong to such a progressive and fair-minded group; I know I am.
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