National Conference on Contingent Academic Labor

NOTE: The following message was posted to the CCC-Parttime listserv on 12/22/00 by AAUP National Field Representative Richard Moser.

Contingent Academic Workers Get Organized
National Conference on Contingent Academic Labor, January 12-14

Washington, D.C.-- The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is a sponsor of the fourth national conference on contingent academic labor. The California Part-Time Faculty Association (CPFA), in association with the Coalition of Contingent Labor (COCAL), will host the conference, scheduled for January 12-14, 2001 in San Jose, California. In addition to the AAUP, more than thirty-five organizations are supporting the conference as sponsors. Participants expect it will be the largest and most significant conference of its kind.

Traditionally unorganized, part-time and adjunct faculty are joining together to demand better wages and working conditions. A Government Accounting Office report on contingent labor and related legislation sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has helped to document the extent of the problem. Recent surveys by nine disciplinary organizations in the social sciences and humanities found that permanent full-time faculty members are now a minority in many academic departments. Part-time faculty members are paid less than $3,000 per course on average -- equivalent to what fast-food workers and baggage porters earn. Part-time workers are rarely afforded benefits; for example, only 22.6 percent of history departments offered benefits to their part-time faculty. Arguing that professors' working conditions are the same conditions under which students learn, advocates are raising issues regarding the quality of education that have broad public appeal.

National interest in this issue is further evidenced by the formation of NAFFE, the National Alliance for Fair Employment, and the statewide efforts in California community colleges by Action 2000 (A2K). In the struggle for equity for adjunct faculty, A2K collected 40,000 petition signatures from 86 California community college campuses.

The conference will issue a call for National Equity Week, a week of concerted activities to promote campus organizing. Plans for the conference include showcasing successful organizing game plans used in Boston, Washington, and Chicago, and exploring progress in non-academic areas of contingent labor, both for the lessons to be learned and for the formation of strategic alliances.

Several AAUP officers and staff members are among the conference speakers. AAUP President Jane Buck will present a keynote address, AAUP Second Vice President Cary Nelson, author of Academic Keywords, is a participant in the author's and editor's roundtable, former AAUP President James Richardson is a participant in the contingent labor and the disciplines roundtable discussion, and AAUP organizer Rich Moser will lead a group on campus coalition building.

Linda Collins, President of the State Academic Senate for Community Colleges, will present a keynote address and other prominent participants include Barbara Wolf, producer of "Degrees of Shame," a video documentary about part-time faculty and Sandra M. Gilbert, professor of English at the University of California, Davis and chair of the Modern Language Association's Committee on Professional Employment. The program agenda is posted on the AAUP's Webpage www.aaup.org.

For more information go to www.cpfa.org/cocal or contact Chris Storer, CPFA, 650-949-2287;storer@fhda.edu

The American Association of University Professors is a nonprofit charitable and educational organization that supports and defends the principles of academic freedom and tenure and promotes standards to ensure academic due process. The AAUP has more than 44,000 members at colleges and universities throughout the United States.
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Richard Moser
National Field Representative
American Association of University Professors
1012 14th Street, NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005
202.737.5900
202.737.5526 (fax)

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