After six mediation sessions, the CCSNH adjunct professors continue to wait. Of course, those mediation sessions are just the tip of the iceberg when you consider it’s been more than two years since adjunct professors in the state community college system first organized under the SEA.
With the bargaining process slowly moving on to the fact-finding phase, two adjuncts, Heather Strine and Rep. Rick Watrous, took their case to the airwaves this week, appearing on State House Watch on radio station WNHN 94.7.
(You can listen to the program here. The segment starts at the 43-minute mark.)
“It’s long past time that the adjunct professors are treated fairly,” said Watrous, who teaches English and is serving his second term in the House of Representatives. “We formed a union over two years ago, now.”
The CCSNH administration’s continual stalling has come despite the good-faith efforts of the adjuncts’ negotiating team. Recently, the CCSNH administration’s negotiating team reported that “they had nothing more to offer which will move the parties ahead” in mediation sessions. That stance by the administration has halted the process. The next step is called “fact-finding.”
Fact-finding is similar to arbitration in that each side presents evidence to support its respective positions to a neutral fact-finder who reviews the information and makes a written recommendation. Each side reviews and votes upon the written recommendation. If both sides vote to approve the recommendation, that recommendation becomes the basis of the new contract/CBA. If either side rejects the recommendation, the negotiation process starts over. A fact finder has not been agreed upon at this time.
Strine said, though, that facts don’t seem to be a top priority for CCSNH Chancellor Ross Gittell.
“He seems to have a lot of excuses without a lot of facts to back them up, and he says our facts are inaccurate,” Strine said. “One fact that is accurate is that the chancellor makes more than our vice president, Joe Biden.”
If that fact seems striking, it should be even more so when you consider that the more than 1,000 adjuncts at CCSNH earn approximately $2000 to teach one class per semester. You can see just how high wages have climbed for upper-level staff at CCSNH by clicking here.
The poor treatment of adjuncts seems even more unfair when one considers the workload that they carry. Watrous pointed out the bulk of the course hours are handled by adjuncts.
“People don’t realize we teach three-fourths of the classes in the community college system,” he said.
Strine and Watrous said you can show support for the adjunct faculty at CCSNH by calling Chancellor Gittell at 230-3501 and leaving a message calling on the administration to reach an agreement with adjuncts.