by Keith Hoeller, » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
...With the recent clamor for higher wages for unskilled labor, should our nation’s highly skilled “contingent” professors also receive the minimum wage for each and every hour they work, and time and a half for overtime?
In Clawson v. Grays Harbor Community College District (2003), the Washington state supreme court ruled unanimously that they should not...Because the colleges had argued they were “professionals” who had control of their hours and working conditions, and were therefore exempt from Washington’s Minimum Wage Act. The colleges may call them “professionals,” but do not in fact treat them as such.
Could unions help? Actually, these terrible conditions exist even in unionized colleges where the teachers unions (NEA, AFT, and AAUP) routinely negotiate inequitable contracts that force these insecure part-time workers into the same unions with the tenured faculty, who often serve as their supervisors, interviewing them, hiring them, assigning them classes, and firing them.
How can college professors teach equality and a respect for diversity when they refuse to practice it in their own ranks? The two-track system is not a merit system; it is a caste system. Should the U.S. spend billions each year on a higher education system dedicated to offering better opportunities, jobs, and salaries for all of our citizens—except those who teach in the colleges and universities that make such opportunities possible?