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Education

CCAC Adjunct Faculty Joins American Federation Of Teachers

Adjunct faculty at the Community College of Allegheny County voted to join their full-time colleagues as members of the American Federation of Teachers on Tuesday.

“Being able to negotiate a living wage for ourselves was obviously the number one issue,” said adjunct art professor Gene Marsh, “and some other issues relating to benefits or access to full-time positions as they open up.”

They teach for love, not money, Marsh said, but professors still need to be compensated fairly. Marsh did not elaborate on adjunct salaries, and the union could not be reached for comment.

“More and more, as colleges move toward the adjunct employment model, it’s become impossible to survive while doing that,” he said.

Full-time instructors at CCAC have been represented by the American Federation of Teachers for more than 40 years, but that doesn't mean adjuncts are late to the table, he said.

“For us, it’s just the right time,” Marsh said. “Numbers wise, for the amount of adjunct faculty employed, it’s the highest it’s ever been.”

CCAC currently has more than 800 adjunct faculty members, representing nearly 75 percent of the total teaching staff, according to Marsh.

Point Park and Robert Morris University adjuncts voted to join unions in the last year.

“The original organizing effort started with some faculty members just working amongst themselves seeing if it was something people wanted,” Marsh said. “After some organizers from AFT had come to campus to sort of gauge that interest for themselves, it worked out.”

CCAC spokesperson Elizabeth Johnston declined to comment pending official notification from adjuncts confirming their decision to join the union.