A Response to Piper

After posting a reblog concerning unemployment benefits for part-timers, we received the following entry from a “Piper”:

Oh, give me a break. Seasonal workers should NOT get unemployment insurance off-season. UI is for full-time workers who get laid off, not for seasonal/contingent/temp workers whose contracts expire in due course! Any contract adjunct who claims UI between terms is a fraudster.

I realize adjuncts don’t wish to give up their insane fantasies of tenured full-time academic employment, but it is time for each adjunct to get real, kiss off the college whose administration treats him/her so vilely, and GO GET A REAL JOB!

When I first saw this, I didn’t have time to reply.  I since have in the comments section, but I thought that some of you who don’t read the comments might appreciate it:

Piper:

Adjuncts are not considered contracted, but at will labor. In fact, the very reason that this is the case is that the the California Supreme Court has declared our (adjuncts) status as such. If you happen to be an adjunct that does well and is liked by the department head and/or your immediate administrator (usually the Dean), you are given a “tentative assignment offer” and tentative is the word. The paper is merely an offer and has “not an official contract” more or less stamped on it. They are subject to change and often get changed, either due to lack of enrollment (extremely rare), because a full-timer wants the class (more often), or because the state has done a budgetary revision and now the school doesn’t have the money to offer the class (often if not usual). I had one TAO change on me three times, and have, on occasion, lost classes at the last minute, but then again, they were never guaranteed mine to begin with.

By the way, I usually teach in Summer but didn’t for the last two years because guess what? My college had no money but to offer a few Summer classes that went to full-timers. I also used to teach intersession (one-month classes in January). Those went bye-bye too.

By the way, if you actually knew anything about college teaching, which I kinda doubt, you’d know that while adjuncts only get paid for the hours we teach, we not only work far more hours outside of the classroom, but after and during school breaks as well. Ever wonder how it is that adjuncts mange to stay up-to-date or expand their knowledge? Do you think we sit around drinking Malt Liquor and watching Jerry Springer? We prep, and will spend sometimes 100′s of outside and unpaid hours doing it. You’re welcome! We also have to grade large stacks of final essays and tests which may take up to 60+ hours of additional work after classes end.

You also fallaciously assume this is just whining about wanting a tenured position. Well, a tenured position might be nice, but the fact is that even if many full-time positions appeared, many people would still be adjuncts. If adjuncts were actually given yearly contracts that could be renewable, as is done for some full-time non-tenure faculty, then their ability to get unemployment would end? Do you want to know why this doesn’t happen? Because such contracts would more or less obligate the colleges and universities to give adjuncts serious health benefits that cost serious money that they don’t want to spend, or rather, would prefer to spend on administration, consultants, junkets with construction executives seeking contracts for campus buildings, etc.

Get a real job? I got one buddy, and I’m no fraudster. Perhaps you should get a real clue.

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