Those Part-Time, Pigs at Pace University

I just read a piece titled: “Adjunct union negotiations continue with tension.” If only the negotiations, which have dragged on four years, could be more fun. In the article, Pace’s interim VP of Human Resources, Dr. William J. McGrath, is quoted as saying, that the university offered to pay $750 per credit hour ($2250 per course, up from $2000 per course) and a 2 percent raise. McGrath is also quoted as saying, “The Union proposed minimum credit-hour rates retroactive to 2004 which for some adjuncts would result in increases of up to 100 percent. The Union also proposed a salary adjustment of 20 percent retroactive to 2006-2007, an academic year in which all other University employees received a 2.5 percent increase.”

So, obviously the reason negotiations have dragged on for four years is that the part-timers are being total pigs. Being so close to Wall Street, interim HR Boyo Billy McGrath knows the old saying that a financial market can bear bears and bulls, but not pigs.

According to this audited 2007 budget from the Pace University Department of Finance, the school took in $262 million dollars in 2007, and spent $115 million on instruction, $2 million dollars less than officials spent on instruction in 2006.

As always, for those of you not teaching fractions and percents in Developmental Math this term, to increase the pay of the Pace university’s 1000 part-timers 100 percent would cost around $11 million dollars, or 4.25 percent of the school’s total 2007 budget. To give the greedy, part-time, S.O.B.s the 100 percent raise plus the 20 percent retroactive raise would cost Pace $11.1 million dollars. Jaysus H., as me old Mam used to say when confronted by soup that was no longer $.5 a can! What’s the world coming to?

Dr. William McGrath suggests by his response to the union’s request that jacking up the costs of student instruction by 10 bloody, sodding, effing percent, Pace University’s whole $267 million dollar budget will implode (or do bloated budgets just ooze, somewhat disgustingly?). And for good measure he wants everyone to know that in 2006 a 2.5 percent raise was good enough for him, by Goddess. Well, our resident part-time faculty math whizzes will tell us that 2.5 percent of the $150K McGrath earns is $3,750 dollars, and 2.5 percent of the $2,000 per course part-timers currently earn is $50 a year. Call me a greedy pig, but I’d want more than $50 bucks, too.

To increase part-time pay by 100 percent Pace officials will have to either reallocate 4.5 percent of the institution’s total revenue, take money from its cash on hand, tap its endowment, or raise revenue by increasing tuition. In 2007, the university spent $17 million more than it earned, and it will be easy for officials to claim poverty in the face of union demands for more money. However, the bulk of the overrun was a result of an increase not in the cost of instruction, academic support or student services, but rather in institutional support.

You’re furrowing your brows, yes? You wonder what, in the name of Tina Turner, institutional support is exactly? Check out this definition from the Finance Department at the University of Wisconsin. It will give you an idea of what Pace officials over-spent on.

There are no part-time faculty pigs at Pace, contrary to what William McGrath would like people to believe. There’s no pot o’ gold, either. Finding the money in that budget to raise pay 100 percent for part-timers ain’t gonna be easy for Pace University part-time faculty union president John Pawlowski, and chances are the union may have to settle for less than 100 percent pay raise the first time around. However, if university officials can blow the budget to the tune of $9 million dollars in overhead overruns, officials can work together with union leaders and can sharpen their pencils in 2009 to find a larger increase than $250 per course, plus $40 per adjunct.

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