HB 14-1154 Update and History

HB 14-1154

April 11, 2014

The bill was defeated in the House Appropriations Committee yesterday by a 9-4 vote. Nine of the committee members chose to disregard scores of personal letters describing lives on poverty-level wages, mounting debt, working while ill, etc., that had been sent to them by part-time and full-time professors from across the many colleges within the Colorado Community College System. Instead, the nine members were influenced mightily, they reported, by six full-time, highly paid lobbyists who work at the behest of the administration and/or six-figure-earning college presidents from whom, they reported, they were given the truth about the situation.

Many of the dissenters on the committee, when they weren't cracking jokes to one another or chatting even while Rep. Fischer was trying to explain a fine point another committee member had posed to him, enjoyed nearly an hour of grandstanding about how fervently they supported the exploitation of the professoriate at work in the community colleges. Several pointed out that teaching part-time at the community college was not, after all, a real job and that those who teach as adjunct professors should get out and find real jobs elsewhere. Some said that to pay the faculty majority a living wage would destroy the community college system and that people in their district would therefore be unable to get a college education.

Some of the nine dissenters reported that they once worked as adjuncts, but discovered they needed to pursue, for example, careers in architecture or law, and suggested community college faculty should do the same. Some had attended community colleges in Colorado or had children who had attended them. One pointed out that he taught for a while as an adjunct, found it was too demanding, and so passed the job onto a junior partner in his firm.

Some who supported the measure said for the record as they cast their votes, they would be willing to champion a similar bill in the next legislative session.

Lobbyists gathering in the foyer following the hearing were all smiles, while leadership who had worked so hard on behalf of community college faculty and quality teaching fought back tears.

Listen to the House Appropriations Committee Hearing on HB 14-1154:

House Appropriations Committee Meeting April 10, 2014  

 April 10, 2014

HB 14-1154 will not be moving beyond the Appropriations Committee. In a 9-4 vote this morning, the amendment was defeated and the bill postponed indefinitely, as a formality. Details and analysis will be included on this page tomorrow.

April 5, 2014, 1:46 p.m.

 Rep. Randy Fischer wrote one hour ago:

"Finally! This is the moment we’ve been waiting for! 

"HB-1154 has been scheduled for its House Appropriations hearing on Thursday, April 10, at 7:30 a.m. in hearing room LSB-A. It is a bit unusual for Approps to meet on a Thursday morning, but that’s the date. As I mentioned previously, there will be no public testimony taken during this hearing because Approps is not the committee of reference, although everyone is welcome to attend and watch the proceedings. You may also listen on line via live audio streaming. [See link below for streaming audio from the Colorado State Capitol]

"We are bill No. 3 out of 17. I anticipate that HB-1154 will come up fairly quickly after 7:30 a.m., but the committee does not always adhere to the order that is printed in the calendar so it could be later. LSB-A is the room across the street from the Capitol in which HB-1154 was previously heard in the State Affairs Committee last February. 

"Now is the time when instructors and all our advocates should start contacting the members of the Appropriations Committee. E-mails and phone calls should request the adoption of our amendment L.002 and then a favorable vote to send the bill to the House floor aka the Committee of the Whole. I recommend emphasizing that the bill proponents and I have worked hard to reduce the fiscal note and that we believe the bill can now be funded by reordering CCCS spending priorities to increase the instructional budget and pay the faculty a living salary. We are asking for ZERO general fund dollars.

" I’ve pasted the names of the Appropriations Committee members below with active links to their websites."  

Crisanta Duran, Chair

Jenise May, Vice-Chair

Bob Rankin 

Tim Dore

Bob Gardner

Cheri Gerou

Millie Hamner

Jeanne Labuda

Don Pabon

Jonathan Singer

Jerry Sonnenberg

Max Tyler

Dave Young

Colorado General Assembly live streaming audio

April 1, 2014: 6:48 a.m.

The bill will be heard by Appropriations Friday, April 4. Highlights of the pre-amended bill as it heads to the Appropriations Committee: per-credit hour compensation of $1,015 with 8% increase each of the next five years; current "regular"  faculty wages and positions remain as they are; all faculty teaching 9 credit hours or more will qualify for health care; all current "adjunct" faculty who want to be full-time will be allowed to do so, predicated on teaching seniority in relevant field; all professors are faculty and none are adjunct; non-teaching duties are compensated at the same rate as are teaching duties; zero cost to General Fund in 2014; no campus closures, tuition increases, etc.; funding of measure to come from modest changes across CCCS $576 million budget to pay its faculty equitably and so secure stable, qualified workforce.

March 28, 9:50 a.m.

Rep. Fischer was told yesterday by a staffer that HB 14-1154 will be heard now on April 9 OR April 11. 

March 27, 2014: 3:01 p.m.

The  Appropriations Committee will hear HB14-1154 on Friday April 4th (not the 11th as we posted earlier today).  The Appropriations Committee will not have the appropriations clause until Wednesday the 2nd; the fiscal note will be addressed in their packet of materials.
Rep. Fischer said it would be best to encourage folks to write after tomorrow, not before.

March 27, 2014

            Rep. Randy Fischer reports the bill will likely be heard by the Appropriations Committee on Friday, April 11. That date may change with as little as 24-hours' notice, however, as bills move rapidly through the Committee. No testimony is allowed during the Appropriations Committee hearings, so Rep. Fischer does not recommend supporters visit the Capitol for this particular event. He expects the hearing on HB 14-1154 to take approximately 10 minutes.

March 18,  2014

Next week, Rep. Fischer will assign a bill-drafting attorney to take our collected changes to the measure. She will prepare for Rep. Fischer the revised version the Appropriations Committee will hear in the coming weeks. Lawmakers are awaiting the March revenue forecast on Tuesday, March 18. Rep. Fischer reminds us that the forecast sets the stage for final preparation of the Long (budget) Bill that the House will take up on March 25. Following that, House bills that went to Appropriations will start to move. Bills will move extremely fast after adoption of the Long Bill.

  There will be no opportunity for public comment at the Appropriations committee hearing because it is not the committee of reference for our bill. This is why is imperative that we write to members of the Appropriations Committee asap. In those letters, be authentic and tell your side of the story. These appeals to pathos are much appreciated by decision-makers at the Capitol.

 March 14, 2014

Suzanne Hudson, Don Eron and Caprice Lawless from the AAUP Colo. Conf. meet with AFT Colorado President Ellen Slatkin at AFT Headquarters near the state Capitol. Slatkin's input has been invaluable, given her experience with faculty rights at Metropolitan State University and elsewhere throughout Colorado. Many on her staff, especially Sol Malick, are lobbying hard on our behalf each week as part of their ongoing legislative endeavors at the Capitol.

Following the meeting, further refinements are made to the bill predicated on the suggestions of many with whom we had previously met.

 March 14, 2014

Many AAUP members from across the state gather at Colorado State University for an AAUP meeting focused on Faculty Rights and Organizing for Change. AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum and Northwest Coordinator Scott Clifthorne both discussed the national attention on HB14-1154. Numerous representatives from CSU-Ft. Collins, CSU-Pueblo, the University of Colorado, Metropolitan State University, Aims Community College and Front Range Community College attended.

  March 8, 2014

The Ft. Collins Coloradoan publishes an editorial by AAUP Colo. Conf. Co-President Stephen Mumme in support of the bill. 

March 7, 2014

The Boulder Daily Camera publishes an editorial by AAUP Colo. Conf. Exec. Cmte. Member Don Eron in support of the bill. 

 March 4, 2014

                Members of Rep. Fischer’s team meet with Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino. Speaker Ferrandino makes numerous suggestions to improve the bill.

 Feb. 28, 2014

Members of the FRCC AAUP Chapter, Suzanne Hudson and Don Eron meet with Senate Majority Leader Rollie Heath. Senator Heath’s liaison has to find a larger room in the Capitol building when he sees the size of our group.

 Feb. 25, 2014

                Rep. Fischer, AAUP Colo. Conf. Co-President Stephen Mumme, AAUP Colo. Conf. Exec. Cmte. Members Don Eron and Suzanne Hudson, FRCC AAUP Chapter President Caprice Lawless, AFT Colorado President Ellen Slatkin, AFT Colorado Lobbyist Sol Malick, CCCS Lobbyist Moira Cullen (Capstone Group), CCCS Lobbyist Mary Alice Mandarich, CCCS VP Finance and Administration Mark Superka and CCCS Assoc. VP for Human Resources Cynthia Hier meet at the Capitol to discuss the measure. The meeting, scheduled for 30 minutes, extends to two hours. Mandarich opens the meeting by announcing there are only crumbs and there just aren’t enough crumbs to go around. Cullen does not want to discuss policy, only the fiscal note. Superka dismisses the AAUP analysis (and, by extension, the Joint Budget Committee’s, as well) stating the system is already run as efficiently as possible and there are no further efficiencies to be found. Mandarich explains that student services and financial aid offices are far more important to fund than are contingent wages.

 Feb. 2014

                A flurry of letters are published in the Ft. Collins Coloradoan and The Denver Post in support of the bill. KGNU radio interviews Rep. Fischer and AAUP Colo. Conf. Exec. Cmte. Member Don Eron about the bill. 

 Feb. 21, 2014

                The Denver Post editorial board runs an  editorial denouncing the bill and the need for it at all.

 Feb. 4, 2014

                The Chronicle of Higher Education runs a long story on the bill. Rep. Tim Dore, (R-64), who voted against the measure, is quoted as saying  about CCCS contingent faculty: "They know what they are getting into," and, "No one, at the end of the day, puts a gun to their head and says take the job."

 Feb. 3, 2014

                Hearing for the bill before the State Affairs Committee, expected to take 1.5 hours, extends to four hours of testimony from dozens of supporters, faculty, former faculty and students, Colorado 9 to 5 and the American Association of University Women. A handful of CCCS administrators and one SBCCOE board member speak against the bill. AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum testifies testifies in favor of the bill, presenting the committee with an eight-page report describing how modest changes in the rates of growth in various departments could provide adequate funding for the bill without dipping into the CCCS reserves, raising tuition or closing any programs.

 Feb. 2014

                FRESC, a prominent group promoting living wages for all workers, joins the HB 14-1154 coalition.

Jan. 17, 2014

                Rep. Randy Fischer holds a press conference on the steps of the State Capitol to announce introduction of HB 14-1154: The Community College Pay and Benefits Equity Act. Colorado Public Radio interviews many following the press conference, and a short story about the bill airs during the evening broadcast on local KCFR.

 January, 2014

                As part of an ambitious AAUP Colo. Conf. membership campaign, members Suzanne Hudson and Caprice Lawless set up membership tables at CCCS campuses in southeastern Colorado. Chapter members staff a membership table at the Community College of Denver faculty in-service. Don Eron and Suzanne Hudson staff a membership table at the FRCC Westminster campus faculty in-service. 

 Dec. 12, 2013

                Rep. Randy Fischer, AAUP Colo. Conf. Co-President Stephen Mumme, AAUP Colo. Conf. Exec. Cmte. Members Don Eron and Suzanne Hudson, FRCC AAUP Chapter President Caprice Lawless meet with a staff member of the Lt. Governor’s office and two CCHE representatives.

December, 2013

                At the annual AAUP Colo. Conf. meeting, Univ. of Eastern Michigan Professor of Accounting Howard Bunsis presents his exhaustive study of CCCS finances and accounting practices. He and AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum are preparing a report to present to the Colorado state legislature on their findings, along with some recommendations for paying contingent faculty from the existing budget.

 Nov. 15, 2013

                Rep. Randy Fischer and Sen.John Kefalas bring together at the Capitol AAUP Colo. Conf. officials Stephen Mumme, Suzanne Hudson and Don Eron; coalition members from the 9 to 5 Winning Justice for Working Women and AFT Colorado. AFT Colorado President  Ellen Slatkin pledges AFT  Colorado support and assigns staff to collaborate with the coalition to push the legislation forward.

 October, 2013

                FRCC AAUP Chapter members staff a membership table as part of the national Campus Equity Week campaign.                 

 October, 2013

                Colo. Conf. AAUP members meet with Colo. Lt. Governor Joe Garcia and present him with the Conference Friend of Higher Education Award. During the meeting, FRCC Chapter President Caprice Lawless explains the Westminster campus chapter members are sponsoring weekly visits to area food banks to help contingent faculty. She gives to the Lt. Governor a copy of the letter describing the working situation for contingent faculty in the colleges, sent by campus faculty and supporters a year earlier to Gov. Hickenlooper. 

 Sept. 25, 2013

                Sen. Evie Hudak holds a meeting to discuss the situation with contingent faculty within the CCCS. In attendance are Rep. Randy Fischer, FRCC AAUP Chapter President Caprice Lawless, Metropolitan State University Faculty Member Norm Schultz, AAUP Colo. Conf. Exec. Cmte. Sec./Treasurer Suzanne Hudson, several members of the Capstone Group (Lobbyists for CCCS) including Moire Cullen and Jason Hopfer, representatives from Colorado State University, the School of Mines, and the University of Colorado. Rep. Fischer mentions the creation of the Equal Pay for Equal Work bill.

 August, 2013

                 FRCC President Andy Dorsey (annual salary $161K) announces a tiered-pay system for contingent faculty. The increase ranges from $3 to $7 per week for the 75% of faculty who teach 85% of all courses within the FRCC system. The increase is not enough to bring the average annual salary of contingent faculty (annual salary approximately $18K) out of the poverty level in the four counties (Adams, Boulder, Larimer, Weld) served by the Front Range Community College.

 June 7, 2013

                Rep. Randy Fischer announces he will put forward legislation in the 2014 session to help Colorado’s Community College contingent faculty. The FRCC AAUP chapter sends a press release announcing this to all members of the Colorado General Assembly House and Senate Education committees, to FRCC Pres. Andy Dorsey, to local media. There is no response from CCCS administration. There is no coverage of the announcement in local media.

 Spring, 2013

                After sending scores of press releases to legislators and organizing a Front Range Chapter of the AAUP, contingent faculty begin to get some responses from some legislators. Some suggest we try to work with our governing board, the State Board of Community Colleges and Occupational Education. Members of the AAUP FRCC chapter complete a formal request to be included on the May 2013 meeting agenda. The agenda request is denied by FRCC Pres. Andy Dorsey.

 June 24, 2013

                The FRCC AAUP Chapter plans and extensively promotes its first on-campus chapter meeting, a Q&A about Law and the FRCC Adjunct, with Rep. Randy Fischer, AAUP Colo. Conf. Co-President Stephen Mumme, Exec. Cmte. Members Don Eron and Ray Hogler. The meeting is cancelled when someone calls a bomb threat into the campus an hour before the meeting is slated to begin.

 April, 2013

                FRCC contingent faculty form a multi-campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors. The press release is sent to local media, to FRCC Pres. Andy Dorsey and to FRCC Public Relations Officer John Feeley. No response is received from any FRCC official.

 January, 2013

                Contingent faculty at the FRCC campus, together with some of their community supporters who work in corporate finance, research the CCCS 2012 Financial Audit. They discover only 11% of the $579 million in CCCS revenues is allotted to wages for 4,012 contingent faculty. They distribute the findings in the “"Colorado Adjuncts Index" and distribute it to local media as well as to all members of the Colorado House and Senate Education Committees the index. It generates many return e-mails from legislators. 

 October, 2012

                The Colorado Adjuncts group sends an Open Letter with 47 signatures to Colo. Governor John Hickenlooper. The Denver Post refuses to publish the Open Letter. (The letter remains unacknowledged.)

October, 2012

                Contingent faculty at the FRCC campus distribute free flu-shot vouchers as part of the national Campus Equity Week campaign. Earlier that fall, all faculty and staff on campus were invited to the cafeteria for free flu shots – all except adjunct faculty. The chapter mounts a display of 12 academic contingency titles in the lobby of the College Hill Library They also distribute themed bookmarks about CEW and the books across campus.

 Spring, 2012

                Contingent faculty at the FRCC Westminster campus begin to organize, calling themselves “Colorado Adjuncts” until they can gather enough members to form a chapter of the AAUP.  At a Film Series  event in Boulder county, they invite Rep. Randy Fischer, AAUP Colo. Conference Exec. Cmte.Members Don Eron and Suzanne Hudson   to serve on a panel to discuss the issue of contingent labor in the Colorado’s community colleges. A notice about the Film Series is sent to FRCC Pres. Andy Dorsey. The group receives no response from the campus president.

 Spring, 2012

                In response to contingent faculty asking for a pay increase, FRCC President Andy Dorsey directs them to work with the state legislature, as his hands are tied (See Adjunct Network, Spring 2012 issue).

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