Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hypocrites or Class Warfare: Universities, Adjuncts and the Tenurish Folks

I posted last week about the idea that the IRS is perhaps the best hope of adjuncts.  This week, folks on the right have noticed the same story and suggest that the blue universities are hypocrites:
But beyond alerting us to one of the many problems that implementing Obamacare will cause, this news provides a depressing look at the underbelly of the academy. Universities are citadels of blue model thinking and most faculty members are relentlessly liberal in their politics. But the reality is that these same universities are some of the nastiest and most exploitative employers in America. The exploitation of adjuncts is an ugly feature of contemporary American academic life, and the smug complacency about it among many beneficiaries of the two tier system should remind us all that moral hypocrisy can co-exist with impressive degrees.
  The funny thing is that many (not all, we are not as uniform as the right wing often suggests) university profs have been advocating for health care reform that would not benefit profs.  How so?  Profs have tended to have excellent (compared to other folks) insurance provided by their employers, but many professors understood that the status quo ante sucked for the populace. 

Anyhow, the real oversight here is that tenured folks like myself have long been upset at the increased reliance on adjuncts.  This is not just about job security and job markets for PhDs but that the reliance on adjuncts has been a deliberate cost-cutting measure, that universities do not give adjuncts benefits.  Professors have long recognized that having a bunch of adjuncts work in the place of a tenure-track faculty member due to cost savings is not good for the tenure track folks, is not good for the students, and is pretty lousy for the adjuncts.  This is not really "news."  That universities would act like the businesses for which many profs have contempt as they alter hours to evade Obamacare regs is not that surprising.  Appalling, sure.  Surprising?  No.  And I wonder what the right wing would suggest in lieu of Obamacare for the adjuncts, whose situation sucked before the advent of Obamacare . 

Sure, there are problems with implementing Obamacare, but perhaps if folks were not so dedicated to returning to the past, they might work on improving it so that folks do not have these nasty incentives.  Oh, and for most of these business that are doing this--they are doing it more out of spite than due to the 50 cents they might have to add to their pizzas.  Me? I prefer to have the folks in the service industry get health care--since they touch our food, interact with our kids, and do all kinds of things that would expose us to their health challenges.  Not to mention it is simply the right thing to do.

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