February 26, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—Throughout the country on Wednesday adjunct professors staged a walkout at numerous colleges and universities to protest low pay and tenuous working conditions. Adjuncts at The New School couldn’t walk out because they’re obliged by a contract, but they joined graduate students in a show of solidarity.
In the accompanying video, we interviewed Emily Barnett, an adjunct professor and a member of the United Automobile Workers Local 7902, the union that represents 4,000 part-time and adjunct teachers at New York University and The New School.
Barnett held a handful of peanuts during the interview to highlight what she says represents the trifling compensation The New School offers.
“I’m holding a bunch of peanuts as a visual aide so that people can understand that adjuncts around the country are bringing attention to the fact that they are underpaid, they often lack health benefits and are often in precarious job security situations,” said Barnett.
According to Barnett, The New School administration's new contract offer isn’t a step forward, but backwards.
“They’re offering us zero wage increases for the first two years, they’re trying to pull back health benefits and they’re really trying to undermine significant job security achievements that we really struggled for in the contract. The faculty here is upset and frustrated; we want to be treated with respect,” Barnett said.
Although she and her colleagues couldn’t walk out on National Adjunct Walkout Day, they’re planning a big rally for March 16 to keep the pressure up on the administration.
“The objective is to show the huge support that we have for getting a really strong contract and to show them that we’re not going to accept the very little the university has been offering thus far. We have a 97 percent strike authorization vote and this is making it visible to the university.”