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.