Tokar: Part-time faculty at UVM seeking justice
Recent weeks have seen an unusual level of coverage in the national press about the plight of part-time workers in today’s economy. All across the country, people are working shorter, less-predictable hours and are lacking the basic benefits and job security that are the anchors of a modern economy. Retail and food processing workers, two significant job categories in Vermont, are among those who are most affected.
One of the last places many people would expect to find such levels of work insecurity is at our state university. University professors are often seen as holding some of the most prestigious and secure job appointments. But like most large universities across the country, UVM relies heavily on part-time, so-called “adjunct” faculty to teach courses that our students rely on, and that are essential to the university’s offerings in many key areas of study. As recently reported in the Burlington Free Press, UVM’s part-time faculty have reached the point of impasse in our negotiations for another three-year union contract, meaning that the next round of talks in late November will rely upon the assistance of a federal mediator...read more