University of Arizona adjunct professors to protest pay

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- A group of University of Arizona professors plan to walk out on their classes later this month as part of an effort to get higher wages.

Several adjunct professors who are not on track for tenure will stage a lunchtime protest Feb. 25. The demonstration will culminate with a letter listing their concerns being delivered to UA President Ann Weaver Hart. The protest is being timed with a national effort organized by the Service Employees International Union, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

About 30 employees in the university's English Department are leading the protest. John Washington, a department lecturer and an organizer, said 40 percent of UA faculty members who fall in the adjunct group "work for significantly less pay with minimal resources and job security." According to Washington, English adjunct professors work full-time for $33,000 a year. The salary has not changed in a decade, he said.

Organizers said they do not want a union but a change in salary. Their request comes at a time when the school is poised for a $22 million loss in state funding in the next academic year. Officials have also seen $180 million in previous state budget cuts since 2008.

Joel Smith, another organizer who works in the English department, said the administration manages to find funding for causes it supports in tough economic times.

"We're not trying to be adversarial, but at the same time we have waited 10 years while the administrative salaries have increased disproportionately compared to faculty salaries," Smith said.

UA Provost Andrew Comrie said non-tenure-track faculty members are paid at different levels. It depends on where they work. Several professors and lecturers are freelancers who teach one or two courses a year, Comrie said. They earn between $4,000 and $5,000 per course.

---

Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.tucson.com

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.