Friday, October 23, 2009

Badger Herald Gives Us a Fair Shake

The Badger Herald ran this article on October 21. P/t Union Vice President Bob Curry was quoted extensively. I especially like this one.
“This isn’t something that can’t be done,” Curry said. “Now we’re just looking for some creative leadership within management. If you’re going to give full-time teachers $800 raise, give us the same, and not just a percentage. Two percent of dirt is dust.”
Good work Bob! Our cause is becoming more obvious to the public every day. Keep up with the comments on all online content so we can keep this story at the top of the heap for as long as possible.

Friday, October 16, 2009

On the Honor and Responsibility of Teaching

In a completely rational society, the best of us would aspire to be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have. - Lee Iacocca

Wage Increase Comparison

Click the page to view larger.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What We Want is Respect

Click either page to view larger.

A MATC Part-time Instructor Tells Her Story

This was submitted as a comment, but works well as a stand-alone post. This is one part-time instructor who intends to be heard.

I am a part time instructor for MATC. I attended the protest. While our turn out was small, the part time instructors are 1,400 strong. Some could not attend because they receive such low pay from MATC that they have to work additional jobs. First of all, Jon Anderson skews the facts. The part time union is mindful of the economy. We are not asking for a raise. In fact, we have requested to freeze wages. We are asking for job security, for the security of the ACE program, for the wage gap between full time and part time instructors to cease, and for respect from administration. I invite Channel 27 News to take a tour of the Part Time Faculty Office room 216 at the Truax campus. Visit the overcrowded closet that is called an office where approximately 1,400 part time faculty are allowed to squat at one of the 13 desks(only 11 of which have working computers). We have to purchase our own software. Not only are we required to have advanced degrees, but we are required to take additional courses from the Wisconsin College Technical College System. It is unpaid training. The President of MATC hasn’t taken all of the required certification classes.

Without the additional training, I spend 25-35 hours a week on a part time job that I love: teaching. If I’m lucky, I’ll receive $10,000 this year. I do not have any health benefits. I just received BadgerCare. I’m poor enough to receive food stamps, but I don’t ask for them. We are as qualified as full time staff. We stand in solidarity with our full time faculty. We pick up classes at the last foreseeable moment with an overflow of students (approximately 14% increase in enrollment this semester). We rearrange other jobs around so we can continue to do what we love: teaching. In our current request, we are asking for consideration in regard to scheduling of classes.MATC loves to put students first. In fact, if it weren’t for part time teachers who pick up at least 35% of the current teaching load, our students wouldn’t’ be able to take the classes they do. If MATC wants to focus on the needs of students, they must take a long, hard look at the way they treat part time instructors. MATC needs to stop being a revolving door for qualified instructors, over 30% of whom leave MATC for other opportunities. If MATC cares so much about the education of its students, it will do what it can to retain the qualified professional educators they employ. It costs thousands of dollars to train part time employees each semester. It costs students even more. Dr. Bettsey Barhorst has called part time instructors “dabblers” and implied that we are, in some unknown manner, baseball players who are not qualified enough to play in the “major leagues.” Put students first. Treat part time instructors with the appropriate respect we deserve. The benefits are immeasurable.

WKOW Covers Protest at West Campus

Madison's has posted a short writeup regarding last nights protest at the West Campus ribbon cutting ceremony.
"We're not asking for any wage increase in this upcoming school year and we're not asking for benefits. What we're really asking for starting in 2011 that the college agree to lock in whatever the gap is right there an not let it get any bigger," says Part-Time Teachers Union Rep Mike Kent.
The MATC Administration gave their side of the story.
MATC's attorney Jon Anderson says they are working on resolving contract disputes.
Anderson says their part-time workers have salaries competitive to other Wisconsin technical colleges.
He says the school has to be sensitive to the condition of the economy and to taxpayers.

Again, we need to drive home that we not asking for a pay increase for next year. We, too, are sensitive to the condition of the economy and taxpayers. Also, we should not be compared to other technical colleges as our point of reference is the steady gap in compensation with full-time faculty at Madison Area Technical College.
Please go to WKOW's site and comment on this issue. We must ensure that the public knows that we are not trying to rip-off taxpayers during a recession and that our issues lie with the steadily growing wage gap.

More Media Attention

This time from the Wisconsin State Journal.

The union has been wrangling for higher wages with the MATC District Board, citing the widening pay gap between full- and part-time faculty.

To further call attention to the cause, the union also hopes to purchase air time, produce print ads, and buy billboard space, according to an article in The Cap Times. There's even an MATC part-time faculty blog dedicated to the issue.

Make sure to visit the site and leave comments. More comments = more exposure.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On the Value of Education

Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive - easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.
- Henry Peter Brougham

Thursday, October 8, 2009

And Now with Video

The Part-time Teachers' Union now has a youtube channel where we will be getting feedback on our negotiations from students, faculty, and the public at large.
We hope to update often. If you have any ideas for video content or an existing video you would like to upload, leave a comment with contact information.
Thanks for your support!

Words of Wisdom and Gratitude

We appreciate your support. We think the more people know about the situation the better the chances that we'll be able to change the attitudes of the current leadership. We have the advantage of having the truth on our side. The more we can spread the word, the better. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

-Part-time Teachers' Union President Mike Kent

For Anyone Interested in Yard Signs

We have hundreds available. Union members and the general public can get signs by visiting the p/t union office @ Truax Room 215E or by writing our Sign Czar Jill List at Jill has been doing a great job of arranging sign distribution. Thanks, Jill!

Also, letters to the MATC Board of Trustees can be sent to:
MATC District Board
c/o Ellen Hustad
3550 Anderson St.
Madison, WI 53704
If you choose to send an email to the board, please cc the p/t union as well at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Local Blogs Get the Word Out

Forward Our Motto has linked to our blog here and has some nice things to say.
It's good stuff. Too often, I feel that labor unions don't put contract negotiation in a wider-societal context. While I could go on and on about solidarity, and mutual aid in detail, I'd rather simply say: I want to live in a world where part-time teachers at the MATC are treated fairly and receive reasonable pay. That would be a nice world, yes?
Fair is fair. Thanks for your support!

Support from One of Our Own

One member of the MATC Part-time Teachers' Union has his own blog and a few things to say regarding our contract negotiations.
Overall, the effort seems positive and well-supported, but it seems the (well-paid) MATC administration really wants to maintain the status quo. This situation is not limited to MATC by any means, which I must stress; this is a national situation, affecting all higher learning institutions. Mostly, this is facilitated by the degree-farm mentality that allows universities to accept more grad students and grant more degrees than there could possibly be jobs: all to keep balanced budgets by using grad students as cheap labour.
Well said, Carl! This is something else to keep in mind: we are not just fighting for us. We are fighting to set a precedent that may affect p/t teachers down the road both at MATC and other institutions. The future of our colleagues is ours to shape.

In solidarity!

[again with the] Love from the Local Blogosphere

Blogging Blue gave us a hat tip in this post.
By my estimation, part-time teachers do the same work as full-time teachers, just on a smaller scale, so why shouldn’t they be paid at a level commensurate with what full-time teachers are making? It’s good to see the part time teaching staff at MATC standing up for themselves, and I hope they’re able to get some resolution to their situation.
Again, this outpouring of support is outstanding. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Samuel Clemens Speaks

In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made school boards. - Mark Twain, Following the Equator

Bad Press

Looks like one of the commenters from the Capital Times article has his own blog and is making some nasty accusations in this post. Let's make sure we set buckleywheatstone straight before he does any more damage to our cause.
Remember - we fully support the current and future compensation levels of Full-time Faculty. We simply want our own wages to keep pace.

Badger Herald Article

This article appeared today in the Badger Herald.

After discovering a growing gap between the pay of part-time and full-time instructors at Madison Area Technical College, the college’s Part-time Teachers’ Union began bargaining to address the salary discrepancy.

“We looked at the trends for the part-timers at MATC and the trends for the full-timers at MATC, and what we found is that over at least the past 10 years, the gap in compensation is getting wider and wider on a per-course basis,” said Mike Kent, president of the MATC Part-time Teachers’ Union.

This wave of good press is exactly what we need. Bob Curry displayed the heart of the issue with this zinger:
“You go to school, earn your degrees, bring valuable real-world experience into the classroom, keep up with your certification and you can make more money as a fry cook,” Curry said in an e-mail to The Badger Herald.
Take Bob's line as an example. We need to continually comment and email ALL print and online media sources. The more noise we make and feathers we ruffle the more press we get.

[even more] Love from the Blogosphere

The Sconz has added a post regarding our contract negotiations.

The outpouring of support from the online community has been great! To all union members out there - support your local bloggers.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Little [more] Love from the Blogosphere

Jim @ Pretty Important Politics has added us to his blogroll and written a nice post regarding the contract negotiations.
Making less money for doing the same job as someone else sucks, I’ve been there, which is why I am happy to publicize the part-time faculty’s cause. The image in this post conveys the essence of the problem.
We couldn't agree more, Jim. Thank you for your support!

A Little Love from the Blogosphere

Caffeinated Politics posted this a few weeks ago.
Recently, though, President Barhorst has decided to take the already unfair situation and make it demeaning and condescending as well. She informed the Union that “… if part-time faculty were serious about a career in teaching, that they should apply for a full-time position, here or someplace else.” She suggested also “…for part-time faculty, teaching was just some extra thing they do in their lives.” Hobby Teaching Professionals!? Do you suppose that these people went to obtain an extra six to ten years of expensive university training beyond high school for a HOBBY? Wouldn’t stamp collecting have been cheaper and with fewer headaches! And, can anyone imagine that these people, many of whom have PhDs in their field, aren’t already applying for the scant number of full-time tenured positions offered across the country?
Well said, indeed!

Yard Signs

You should be seeing these go up around Madison in the coming weeks.

MATC Clarion Ad

Ad comparing compensation of p/t and f/t instructors. Can you tell the difference?

(.pdf version available here)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

1998 Interview with Bettsey Barhost

This interview shed a little light on what our current president has said in the past regarding Technical College Teachers.
Information received from four-year colleges and universities tell us our transferring students do better than students who entered those institutions as freshman. ICC students have the advantage of faculty with master’s and doctorate degrees, rather than having teaching assistants teach classes. Our small size allows faculty to know students as individuals, not as Social Security numbers.
Seems as though 11 years has changed our president's feelings toward community and technical college teachers. Wait, do part-time faculty have the same qualifications as full-time faculty? Of course. Well, then something must have changed in the general perception of how advantageous it is to have master's and doctoral level faculty teaching students...
The third obvious difference is that in the majority of cultures other than our own, there is very high respect for faculty and education in general. Teachers have high pay and high status.
So, high pay and status set us apart from our European counterparts. How then, is it proper to pay part-time faculty significantly less than full time? We share the same qualifications and upkeep requirements.

Perhaps it is Bettsey's perspective that has changed. MATC is a fine institution with VERY well qualified full- and part-time faculty. As she has said in the past, it is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. Let's keep it that way.

Fair pay for all faculty. This is the only way to ensure equality.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Compensation Visualization

Above is a visualization of the total compensation per course at 500 contact hours per year (i.e. 5 three-credit courses per semester). As can clearly be seen, the wage gap has been steadily increasing for over a decade and shows no sign of stopping.

The Part-time Teachers' Union is only asking that this gap remain the same. In other words, we would like the same dollar amount increase as the full-time faculty, not a percentage. To this end, we have even offered to suspend any wage increases until 2011 due to the current economic climate. Has the administration budged? What do you think?

Part-time Teachers' Union Website

The main page can be found here.

The 2009 Bargaining Information page can be found here.

Making Our Case

We have our first proper media coverage in this Capital Times Article:
According to the union's figures, the average part-time teacher at MATC, who receives no benefits, will earn about $2,600 per three-credit course during the 2009-10 school year. A full-time faculty member, meanwhile, gets an average of nearly $13,400 in total compensation (pay plus benefits).
This level of disparity will only increase as raises continue to be given on a percentage basis.

MATC generally employs about 450 full-time faculty and some 1,200 part-timers in a given year, with more than a third of all classes being taught by part-time teachers.

"Part-time and full-time teachers need the same education requirements, the same certification requirements, the same in-the-field requirements to be able to teach," says Kent, who has taught everything from employment and business law to labor relations, ethics and college success. "So everything is the same between the groups -- except the pay."

It is obvious from the above statement that the MATC administration is balancing its budget through the part-time faculty.

*if you comment on the cap. times website, we can keep this story at the top of their news feed, so get on it*