PSUFA rallied in the park blocks to kick-off contract negotiations with PSU administration. A number of allies gave solidarity speeches in support of adjunct faculty and researchers.
Wearing a hardhat with and “A is for adjuncts” decal, Co-chair of bargaining Ariana Jacob spoke about what we’re bargaining for:
"Adjuncts are essential to how this school functions and yet we are paid as if we don’t really matter. The university depends on us to deliver 1/3 of its courses and yet we cannot make anywhere near a living wage working here.
When we surveyed our adjunct members, about one quarter of the people who responded live in households that make $25,000 or less a year. And we all know it is impossible to survive in Portland on $25,000 a year.
Adjunct faculty currently get paid significantly less per credit to teach the same classes as full time faculty. In fact, By our calculations with wages and benefits, adjuncts are paid less than a quarter of what full timers make to teach the same classes. There is really no logic to justify this, only a history of underpayment. We recognize that tenured faculty have significant workloads beyond of their courses, however Non tenure track full-time faculty often only teach classes and still get paid more per credit for the same work as adjuncts do, plus they get benefits and are able to get many more courses a year than adjuncts. When we teach the same courses we should at least be paid the same amount as non-tenure track full time instructors.
Pay parity is only fair - the same work should be compensated with same amount of pay to adjuncts and full time faculty.
We are here today to say Let’s make sure that PSU pays all its workers fairly. We are asking PSU to level up. Pay us equitably, pay us fairly for what we give to this institution.”
PSUFA had scheduled a meeting with President Shoureshi at 2:00pm. We arrived a little early to the meeting. While waiting for the President to arrive we talked with students about how they can support our efforts for pay parity with Non-tenure track faculty.
The office of the President was a little taken aback and we had to be vetted by security before the President would meet with us.
Upon receiving the gift President Shoureshi said:
“I know how important you are in terms of the education that you provide. Interesting enough, we had a budget meeting this morning with one of the deans and we were talking about the role that you play and the quality of education that PSU provides because of you. I appreciate your contributions and we understand that and we are cognizant of some of the messages and all I can tell you is thank you for what you guys do. You are an important part of PSU. I want you to know for sure that you are important and we want to make sure that you are comfortable and happy because if you’re happy you will make our students happy. And if the students are happy that makes me happy. We are all here because of the students and that’s important. Thank you again.”
President Shoureshi gladly accepted the Spirit level and is now keeping it in his office as a reminder of our ask for pay parity.
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