Florida adjunct professors to kick off five-city tour to promote tuition-free college, student-loan forgiveness and the need for a union

Florida Phoenix
Image courtesy SEIU.

Fresh off their efforts to organize as a union call for union certification at two more colleges this month, a group of adjunct professors, students and community members are set to kick off a state-wide tour through five different cities in Florida this week. They will  advocate for tuition-free college, student loan forgiveness, a minimum wage of $15 hour, and a union for all Florida colleges and university employees.

The #FreeCollegeNow tour starts in Orlando, then moves on to Tampa, Gainesville, Jacksonville and concludes next Thursday in Miami.

The Florida adjunct professors will be joined on their tour from adjuncts from Iowa, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, California and other states who were invited by Florida faculty members.

The movement for adjuncts – part-time time teachers – to seek better pay, benefits and job security has been pushed nationally since 2013 by organized labor, with unionization as the goal.

A survey conducted by Pacific Standard magazine  in 2015 found that 62 percent of adjuncts nationwide say they make less than $20,000 a year from teaching, and one-quarter of them are on public assistance according to a 2015 report from the Labor Center at the University of California at Berkeley.

This month adjunct professors at Miami-Dade College and St. Johns River State Colleges submitted formal petitions to the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) requesting a union election be held and that the United Faculty of Florida (UFF) represent them in future negotiations with the Board of
Trustees.

That followed the move by adjuncts at Valencia and Seminole State College in Central Florida, who filed for union elections in May.

The campaign in Florida for adjuncts is being led by the Service Employees International Union Faculty Forward movement.

On average, college students in Florida have a debt of $24,461, according to the Institute for College Access & Success. Though formidable, it’s one of the lowest (45th) debt rates for college students in the nation.

The Florida adjunct professors will be joined on their tour from adjuncts from Iowa, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, California and other states who were invited by Florida faculty members.

Three of the Democrats running for governor – Andrew Gillum, Chris King and Philip Levine – have expressed some support for the concept of debt-free college tuition in Florida.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The headline should be Five Adjunct professors with no understanding of basic economics kick off unsustainable gimme tour.

  2. Andrew Nappi, it’s a good thing you’re a multimillionaire. Otherwise you’d be a dupe of the Koch Brothers. It’s not just about political economy; it’s about sustaining democracy, fairness, and educational quality.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here