Colorado AAUP Working for a Bill to Strengthen Colorado’s Community Colleges
The Colorado Conference is working with Colorado State Representative Randy Fischer and State Senator John Kefalas to pass a “Community College Pay and Benefits Equity Act.” Representative Fischer and Senator Kefalas have been dedicated and tireless supporters of faculty rights and pay equity in the state. They were previously involved in co-sponsoring and successfully passing HB12-1144, a bill that authorized enforceable contracts between non-tenure track teaching faculty and Colorado’s institutions of higher education. The Community College Pay and Benefits Equity Act (HB14-1154) will eliminate institutionalized wage and benefit disparities between so-called “regular faculty” and “instructors” in the Colorado Community College System (CCCS).
Representative Fischer notes that:
Passage of the bill will eliminate the perverse incentive that motivates the CCCS to keep many of their instructors on part-time status and poverty wages.
From Colorado Conference Executive Committee member Don Eron:
These are boom times for the CCCS,” he said. “The [Colorado Joint Budget Committee] rated the financial health of the CCCS in first place, occupying its own stratosphere far above all nine of Colorado’s public colleges and universities. Accounting experts will tell you that there is no acceptable rationale for a public enterprise the size and function of CCCS to store $300 million in their reserves. These hundreds of millions of dollars in reserves come at the price of an impoverished, demoralized and deeply resentful workforce.
From John Kefalas:
This bill is about fairness and dignity. It invests our community college teachers with the resources that currently exist for this purpose. It is not right when skilled teaching professionals must visit food banks to make ends meet for their families and children.
And from Ellen Slatkin, executive vice-president of the American Federation of Teachers in Colorado and president of the Metropolitan State Faculty Federation:
If we want to see workforce development and economic growth in Colorado, we need quality education in community colleges, and 75 percent of those classes in Colorado are taught by overworked, underpaid, exploited adjuncts [part-time professors]…Change has to come, and needs to come now.
The full text of the press release about the legislation, distributed yesterday, is below. A video of the press conference can be viewed here.