July 16, 2014

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Adjuncts Urge Labor Dept. Inquiry Into Working Conditions.

More than 500 adjunct professors and their advocates have signed a petition calling for the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate their working conditions. The petition’s authors, all current or former adjuncts at various colleges and universities, allege that they are being paid for only part of the work they do, and that that amounts to wage theft. The petition is addressed to David Weil, director of the agency’s Wage and Hour Division, and urges him to “open an investigation into the labor practices of our colleges and universities in the employment of contingent faculty, including adjunct instructors and full-time contract faculty outside the tenure track.” The investigation should be conducted at the “sector” level, they say, rather than individually.

The petition says that average yearly income for adjunct professors “hovers in the same range as minimum-wage fast food and retail workers,” since adjuncts typically are paid only for the time they spend teaching — not the time they spend preparing or meeting individually with students.

Note the absence of Adjunct Administrators.