- The amount of adjuncts is 150-200% that of full time faculty in most community college English departments.
- Pathways proposes a cut in hours, which especially effects adjuncts, who are paid by our classroom hours (as opposed to full time faculty who are paid the same annual salary guaranteed year after year).
- Full time faculty are protected from being fired, while adjuncts are not protected from non-reappointment.
- Pathways will result in a speed-up in English; we will be teaching the same material in less time. Other departments will also experience speed up and be expected to make up for the education in writing lost from Comp 101.
- Adjuncts need to take matters into our own hands. This is an enormous threat that is made possible only because of our already precarious and underpaid working conditions. Pathways is a huge problem, but its only one expression of the increasing exploitation we face every day in oversize classes, no job security, and little to no resources.
- As individuals, we can do next to nothing, but as 70% of the workforce, the university cannot run without our labor.
A more detailed summary follows:
1. Who's teaching at CUNY? According to the English Department faculty who came to the meeting (there were very few adjuncts present), in the community colleges adjuncts make up well over 70% of most departments, and most of the composition classes (those that are being cut, see next item for details) are taught by adjuncts.
The breakdown is as follows:
Laguardia: 63 full time, over 90 adjuncts
Queens: 45 full time, over 100 adjuncts
BMCC: 60 full time, over 100 adjuncts
QCC: 39 Full time, 50-60 adjuncts
BCC: 30 full time, 82 adjuncts
CSI: 38 full time, 109 adjunct
2. What is the Pathways Proposal? As far as anyone can tell, Pathways is an austerity plan (which, to be clear, specifically impacts academic workers—as adjuncts and as future workers in the form of students) put in place by CUNY central administration. Right now it exists as a proposal that presidents and provosts of the colleges can adopt or not. English has been the first test case, it seems, for this plan. In this case, CUNY Central is trying to change 4 credit composition classes to 3 credits. In some cases, this is 3-credits with one weekly office hour, so the rate of pay stays at 4 hours. In other cases, they have cut the credit and the hour. They see the “3+1” plan as a compromise from 3 credits/3 hours that was initially proposed. In the case of 3 credits/4 hours, the 4th hour is understood by management to not be protected in our contract, so basically it is likely they are preparing to get rid of it. As if this wasn't offensive enough, the response from administration for adjuncts losing pay is "well, they are lucky because now they could teach 3 classes and get more hours". This is clearly a poorly executed manipulation, seeing as this will not only add more work in less time, but also that we have to beg for 2 classes. Another contradiction is that faculty are supposed to teach their students in that office hour, but adjuncts and full time faculty alike are overloaded per office, if they even have one.
3. There are three main issues for adjuncts in this plan:
a) The cutting of an hour is a 1/4 diminishing in semester wages because we're paid by classroom hour. That's a lot of money.
b) This creates a total speed up in English, but also in other departments. For English, its a speed up in the sense that they have to teach the same material in a shorter amount of time for less pay to more students. For other departments, one of the admins plans for Pathways is that "other courses can take on the work of composition". So while the humanities and social sciences are already being sped up with more students, we are also responsible for teaching people to write (and most of our students struggle with this anyway).
c) Cutting of courses means cutting of classes, and with adjuncts teaching most of these courses, no one is going to fight to save them but us.