Over the last four decades, the academic labor pool has shifted dramatically: Forty years ago, 70 percent of academic employees were tenured or on the tenure track. Today, that figure has flipped; 75 percent of faculty are not eligible for tenure, and 47 percent hold part-time positions.
The decades-long crisis of contingent workers in our colleges and universities is, in many ways, the original “gig economy,” with all its attendant woes: low wages, few benefits, little job security, and the expenses of work being shifted from the employer to the at-will employee.
The AFT and our affiliates are committed to using political advocacy and collective bargaining to improve the lives of contingent faculty and the communities they serve. One aspect of these efforts is our annual contingent faculty survey. Our survey documents the difficulties contingent faculty face trying to provide their students with a world-class education while struggling to put food on the table and pay their bills.