Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Through generous donations, we still have some gift cards left and food assistance. We will continue to provide assistance to those p/t faculty who need it most--particularly, single parents with young children, and those with medical needs or with unexpected expenses--as you play catch-up into February.  Just let us know at office@kvccft.org

Thursday, January 24, 2013

AAUP Provides Support for KVCCFT P/T Faculty

Union members reaching out to members of different unions--we express our deepest gratitude to the MI-AAUP for its generosity and empathy. Read this letter, and if you are a recipient of a gift card, please address your thank-yous to:

Michigan Conference AAUP
American Association of University Professors
33 B E. Cross St.
Ypsilanti MI 48198

The Michigan Conference American Association of University Professors represents 4000 members of the AAUP here in Michigan. The Conference finds the actions of the KVCC administration inconsistent and uncaring in the treatment of their hard working part-time faculty.

The Conference is well aware of the challenges that part-time faculty endure as they serve in insecure, unsupported positions with little job security and few protections of academic freedom. Adding to those challenges with having to make decisions regarding food or medical expenses is intolerable.

The Conference would like to assist your members as they bridge the gap to their next paycheck. Enclosed you will find 10 Meijer's gift cards in the amount of $25.00 each. Please distribute to those whom you feel are most in need.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
In solidarity,
Michael Bailey
Executive Director

Friday, January 18, 2013

Inside Higher Education

Working Without Pay
January 18, 2013 - 3:00am
College food drives are usually organized by student groups aiming to serve needy off-campus populations. The one this week at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan is different. It’s benefiting part-time faculty members who can’t make ends meet until their late paychecks arrive at the beginning of next month.
“This really came as surprise to a lot of people,” and the recent holidays and current tax season haven’t left many part-time faculty with a financial cushion, said Kelly O’Leary, part-time French and English instructor and co-president of the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Federation of Teachers, the part-time faculty union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers in Michigan. About 300 part-time instructors, many of whom were expecting to be paid on Tuesday as usual, won’t be paid until Feb. 1 due to administrative issues.
“We have a number of single moms trying to support kids,” O’Leary said. “I don’t think people understand that they’re below poverty wages.”
To help bridge the gap, the union launched the food drive on Jan. 11. Since then, it has been flooded with food donations and gift cards to Meijer supermarket, where faculty can buy more food, gas and prescriptions. “We’ve had part-time faculty coming out of the woodwork saying, ‘I’m a diabetic and I need to buy insulin,’ ” said the union's co-president, Catherine Barnard, a part-time psychology instructor. “At first, we didn’t even think about medication, but many of these people don’t have benefits.”
Because some part-time faculty have expressed shame at publicly accepting help, Barnard said she’s arranged via e-mail to meet part-time faculty in the parking lot or elsewhere on campus with donations. Most of the help has come from full-time faculty and part-time faculty with heavier course loads, and the drive is being promoted on the union's Facebook page, where O'Leary has posted a virtual "I am working without pay" button.
Kalamazoo Valley pays part-time faculty about $2,400 per course on a term-to-term basis, compared to about $10,000 per course for some full-time, permanent professors paid an annual salary (not taking into account other full-time faculty duties), Barnard said. (By way of comparison, a 2010 survey of non-tenure-track faculty members by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce showed the median compensation rate for adjuncts to be $2,700 per three-credit course.) Barnard estimated that most part-time faculty teach two or three courses on campus each semester, which, without picking up additional courses at other area institutions, would amount to an annual income of less than $15,000.
A union member notified leaders of the payday delay on Jan. 7, at the start of the semester. O’Leary said she attempted to meet with the administration to change the payday, to no avail (the union co-president said administrators blamed part-time faculty who were slow to turn in their semester paperwork and low staffing during the holiday period for the delay).
College officials reject the idea that the pay schedule should have taken part-time faculty by surprise. Michael Collins, vice president for student and college relations, said in an e-mail that the pay calendar was first posted on the college intranet in August 2012, and that full-time and part-time pay faculty pay schedules have differed from each other going as far back as 30 years (Kalamazoo Valley’s 129 full-time faculty were paid on Tuesday).
O’Leary disagreed with that statement, saying the part-time faculty pay date was included in the faculty calendar in an obscure place that did not show up on most people’s computer screens, and went missing from the calendar for prolonged periods during the fall semester. Additionally, she said, most faculty who expect their pay at a certain time each month don’t check the calendar to verify that it will be arriving. (In her nearly two decades of working at the college, she said pay had only been delayed once before, at the start of the fall 2011 semester. The union was formed shortly after.) She also pointed to state wage and earnings laws that guard against late payments after a routine pay schedule has been established by an employer, although such laws pertain to a biweekly or weekly pay schedule; the college typically pays faculty on the 1st and 15th of each month.
Although it’s not a permanent fix for part-time faculty, Nancy Beers, a part-time history instructor, said the drive has been welcome news to families such as hers, with Michigan’s tough job market (her husband was laid off last year and she’s picked up fewer courses this semester – four, compared to eight at three different campuses in the fall – than she would have liked).
“The only way we’ve made it [this month] is that we saved everything we could from last semester,” she said.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/01/18/between-paychecks-kalamazoo-community-college-part-timers-union-starts-food-drive#ixzz2IL56ikym
Inside Higher Ed 

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As Part-Time Faculty Wait for Payday, Peers Help Out With a Food Drive

Keith Kroll
“People let us know they were in dire trouble,” said Kelly O’Leary, a part-time instructor and co-president of a union that represents part-time workers. Colleagues are helping out by donating food, gift cards, and cash.
Enlarge Image
Faculty members at Kalamazoo Valley Community College are gathering nonperishable food items, gift cards, and cash donations in one of the lounges on the campus. But the collection isn't for a local charity; it's for their colleagues.
The college's part-time employees will not receive their first checks of the year until February 1, and many are struggling to make ends meet until then. Classes for the spring term began on January 7, and full-time faculty members were paid on January 15.
Kelly O'Leary, a part-time instructor and co-president of the college's Federation of Teachers, a union that represents part-time workers, helped organize the drive for her struggling co-workers.
"People let us know they were in dire trouble," she said.
When the drive began last week, they first distributed aid to employees who had the greatest needs. "There was someone who has diabetes and won't get through the month without insulin," she said. "She got a gift card."
Linda Depta, director of college relations, said the payment schedule was posted on the college's Intranet before the start of the academic year, in August. She said the college had not deviated from the usual schedule.
"All college employees can access the information—full and part time," Ms. Depta said. "Why would that be a surprise if the dates are posted?"
Ms. O'Leary acknowledged that the schedule had been posted, but said it was difficult to find. And many part-time employees, she added, probably did not realize it was there. Part-time employees usually consult their faculty handbook for payment questions, as suggested by the college's human-resources department. The handbook says part-time faculty members get paid on the first and 15th of every month, she said.

A Rough Month

After part-time faculty members noticed the payment date was February 1, Ms. O'Leary said, the union polled its members to find out how they were going to be affected.
"We started getting comments from people saying they were going to have a hard time feeding their families, paying their bills," she said. January, she added, is a particularly rough month because it comes after the Christmas holiday and around the time property taxes are due. "Within 48 hours, we received about 65 responses."
There are more than 300 part-time faculty members, she said. Part-timers earn about $2,400 per three-credit-hour, 15-week course, she said, noting they are limited to teaching 11 credit hours per semester.
A number of those part-time instructors work multiple other jobs to help them pay their bills, she said. The gap in paychecks from the college amplifies that hardship.
"I have no discretionary money to put aside for this," said one part-time Kalamazoo Valley instructor, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job. She said she lives from paycheck to paycheck, trying to pay her student-loan debt and her monthly bills. "They don't realize there's a huge number of us who depend on this as their sole income."
Ms. O'Leary said full-time faculty members and some part-time instructors who were able to contribute had so far donated enough food to fill two tabletops and about $500 in gift cards and cash.
The anonymous instructor said she had received two gift cards and a small check, plus two cans of food—one of apricots and one of corn.
"The full-time teachers have stepped up for us," she said. "I am not out of the woods yet, but I probably won't go hungry."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 16, 2013

Later than usual payday prompts KVCC faculty to launch food drive to
help part-time colleagues
By Yvonne Zipp

KALAMAZOO, MI – Food drives have become increasingly common in the
aftermath of the Great Recession.

But the drive launched at Kalamazoo Valley Community College Jan. 11 is
a little different: People are bringing in food and gift cards, not to
help out strangers in need, but their coworkers.

"The full-time faculty have been wonderful. They were the first ones to
arrive with bags of food," said Kelly O'Leary, co-president of the new
Kalamazoo Valley Community College Federation of Teachers and part-time
instructor of English and French.

While the first payday of the year came Jan. 15 for full-time faculty
and staff, part-time faculty won't get their first paycheck until Feb.
1, explained O'Leary.

"Only the part-time people have not been paid today. Everyone else will
have been paid except for us," said O'Leary in an interview Tuesday.

An executive at KVCC said, however, that the current year's pay schedule
was posted four months prior to the new year and should not have come as
a surprise.

"As has been the multi-year history, the full- and part-time faculty pay
calendars were posted for all to access and review in August 2012 on the
college intranet," said Linda Depta, director of college relations for
KVCC. "The calendar clearly reflected the part-time pay schedule. So
there was no change from the posted schedule."

Still, the change from 2012's schedule caught a number of part-time
faculty by surprise, said O'Leary, who created "I Am Working Without
Pay" buttons on the union's Facebook Page.

There will still be eight pay periods and everyone will get all of their
pay by mid-May, but the Feb. 1 checks will cover just two weeks of
January and the gap between the end of fall semester and Feb. 1 has been
difficult for some instructors, O'Leary said.

O'Leary, who took a hardship poll, said she has two pages of stories of
people unable to pay their heating bills and property taxes. So far,
donations have come in the form of food, cash, and gift cards, she said.
Those last have been most helpful for people with medical needs, she said.

When asked why faculty couldn't have saved to cover the time frame
between paychecks, O'Leary said that some members of the staff are
working as many as five jobs to make ends meet.

Part-time faculty at KVCC make between $2,100 and $2,400 for a 15-week,
three-credit course, she said.

The national average for a three-credit course is $2,987, according to
The Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2012, Kalamazoo's cost of living
was 13 percent less than the national average, according to Kiplinger.

In the meantime, part-time faculty are counting down the days till they
get paid.

"I have $1.60 left until the 23rd," said one of the instructors, who
asked that her name not be used for fear of retaliation. "I'm hanging on
by a thread."

She works another part-time job, in addition to teaching at KVCC, but
said she still lives paycheck to paycheck.

"There's nothing you can do. The rent for January is paid, thank
goodness, but I'm going to be scrambling for Feb. 1," she said.

Faculty food drive organizers gave her a Meijer gift card, which she
said she used to buy gas to get to work, and she's used the food pantry
to obtain groceries for herself and her child.

"It bothers me to have to get food out of there," she said. "You teach
at a college, you shouldn't have to hit a food bank to get food."

Monday, January 14, 2013


Tomorrow would have been pay day. What can you do to let the College know how your budget has been disrupted this month? A phone call or two? A "name tag" proclaiming, "I'm working without pay?" How about a can of soup at HR's door?--No, we need it too much. Hmmm. Be thinking about one small action you can take to make your point. STRONGEST TOGETHER.

IRS: Adjunct Faculty Hours Must Be Calculated With 'Reasonable' Method

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted:   |  Updated: 01/08/2013 2:05 pm EST
The Internal Revenue Service put colleges and universities on warning with new proposed rules issued this month, warning them not to skimp when counting the hours adjunct faculty work. The guidelines from the IRS could be critical to ensuring whether part-time college instructors receive health care benefits as new Affordable Care Act laws take effect.
The IRS noted in the Federal Register that "educational organizations generally do not track the full hours of service of adjunct faculty, but instead compensate adjunct faculty on the basis of credit hours taught." In short, most colleges are only paying part-time instructors for time spent in a classroom, and nothing for time spent grading or preparing.
The Treasury Department and the IRS are considering and "invite further comment on how best to determine the full-time status of employees" like educators, who may work many hours after students leave the classroom.
Starting in January 2014, any employee working 30 hours or more per week will be considered a full-time faculty member andwill be entitled to health insurance through an employer under new federal rules, with an exception for certain small businesses. So far, several schools have cut adjuncts' hours to avoid the requirement and save cash. Matt Williams, vice president of New Faculty Majority, a group that advocates for collective bargaining rights of adjunct instructors and professors, told The Huffington Post in November he expects this type of action to happen more often.
Colleges say they need further guidance from the federal government, and without adequate state appropriations, they can't afford to provide insurance.
According to an analysis by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the average pay "reported by adjuncts is $2,987 per three-credit course. Adjuncts at 16 colleges reported earning less than $1,000. The highest pay reported is $12,575, recorded in the anthropology department at Harvard University." For an adjunct instructor teaching two three-credit classes each year, that translates to an average annual income of $11,948.