Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


TV Personality Michael Moore to speak on pay equity

Television host, filmmaker and political commentator Michael Moore will speak at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Monday, Oct. 29, to address the treatment of part-time college faculty.

The speech is one of several events planned for Campus Equity Week, observed from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3.

“All over the country, people will be staging protests and introducing legislation,” said Jamie Horwitz, spokesperson for the American Federation of Teachers. “They will try to make a lot of noise to raise the profile of this issue.”

The UW Teaching Assistant Association and the Madison Area Technical College Part-Time Teachers’ Union are sponsoring the events. Their intent is to raise awareness of the inequalities between part-time and full-time college faculty.

“Our goals are basically to highlight the difficulties teaching assistants face in doing their jobs,” said Marc Broering, acting co-president of TAA.

Horwitz said a part-time college teacher makes 40 cents for every dollar a full-time teacher makes. About 80 percent of the time, part-time teachers receive no health insurance, and often do not have offices or access to a phone, she said.

“I think few people realize 43 percent of faculty are classified as part-timers,” Horwitz said. “It’s sort of an invisible issue, but it’s dramatically changing higher education.”

Many part-time teachers are employed at colleges because when full-time teachers retire or colleges expand, it is more economically sound for colleges to hire part-time faculty.

Broering said many people are unaware of the large number of part-time teachers as well as their lack of resources.

“These are all things faculty take for granted that TAs have to fight for,” he said.

David Boetcher, president of the MATC Part-Time Teachers’ Union, said a core issue is that part-time teachers do as much work as their full-time counterparts and deserve to be treated equally.

“Teachers should be paid the same for same amount of work,” he said.

The organizers of local Campus Equity Week events said they expect Moore to help advance their cause. Moore is known for his film “Roger and Me,” and for his work as host and executive producer of “TV Nation.”

“He’s known for his pro-labor background,” said Boetcher. “He’ll attract the attention of students and let them know what’s going on in their classes.”

The speech will be held Oct. 30 in Agricultural Hall at 6:30 p.m. Organizers of the speech plan to invite state legislators and members of the UW Board of Regents.

Tickets will be distributed for free at a 5:00 p.m. rally Oct. 29 at the State Street entrance of the Capitol. Sen. Gary George, D-Milwaukee, will introduce a bill at the rally requiring pay equity for part-time faculty.

The bill is similar to legislation recently passed in California and Washington, requiring the states to set aside funds to raise the pay for part-time teachers.

Boetcher said although the rally will raise public awareness of the issue in Wisconsin, the bill is unlikely to pass this year.

“Honestly, it will take a year or two,” he said. “The first year will get the momentum going. Next year the government will want studies. Hopefully, the year after that, they’ll do something.”

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