When Baristas Earn More Than College Faculty
Saying that their lowest-paid members make less than they would at area community colleges, about 30 Western Michigan University part-time instructors and their supporters rallied Thursday at Sprau Tower before marching around campus.
“A barista at Starbucks has a better compensation package than a part-time professor with a master’s degree or a PhD,” said Thomas Kostrzewa, president of the Professional Instructors Organization (PIO), the part-time faculty union at WMU.
WMU’s 675 part-time faculty members taught 1,742 courses in 2012, but their pay lags behind many other Michigan colleges and universities, the PIO said.
Kostrzewa said the PIO decided to hold the rally after receiving what he characterized as a “flatline offer” from the university.
WMU has been in negotiations with the union for more than a month, confirmed Cheryl Roland, executive director of university relations, characterizing the proceedings so far as “cordial and productive.”
Calling part-time faculty in the U.S. “the most exploited part of the university teaching corps,” Kostrzewa emphasized that the issue of part-time pay is by
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