Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Rally held for part-time teacher pay increase

State Senator Gary George, D-Milwaukee, announced he would propose legislation to grant part-time technical college teachers greater pay equity at a Capitol rally Tuesday.

The rally, attended by over 100 people, included a performance by the Reptile Palace Orchestra and several skits portraying the treatment of part-time teachers.

George, a contender for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, said because part-time tech school teachers make only one-third the amount most full-time teachers earn, legislation is necessary to improve fairness within the system.

“There’s something really wrong with the Wisconsin legislature, and there’s something really wrong with state government when you can be treated like a slave in 2001,” George said.

Because the amount of time to pass the measure is limited, George said it is mandatory lawmakers act quickly on his proposal.

“Unfortunately, the Senate is only in session two more days this year unless there’s a special session, and then just a few days next year,” he said. “We’ve got to find a way to convince every senator, Democrat and Republican, that this is just an equity issue.”

Already two Republicans in the state assembly have pledged their support for the measure. George said California and Washington passed similar measures this year, and he urged citizens to encourage Wisconsin’s Legislators to do the same.

“Let the legislature and the governor know that we’re not going to just do this once. We’re going to stay here until this bill passes,” George said.

David Boetcher, president of the MATC Part-Time Teacher’s Union, said technical schools should be focusing more on education than profits. He said this legislation is vital to Wisconsin’s education system because 75 percent of the teachers in Madison are part-time, compared to approximately 40 percent nationally.

“We think once equal pay is achieved, that will give the administration less incentive to keep increasing the number of part-timers while not replacing the retiring full-timers,” Boetcher said. “The main reason they are doing that now is purely cost savings.”

The legislation would also improve health care for part-time teachers, many of whom must rely on Badger Care.

Jonathon Mertzig, a UW-Madison sophomore who attended the rally, said the issue is important for students who might be considering part-time teaching in the future.

“I’m concerned about how a lot of the part-time teachers all around the country are getting completely shafted by state and local governments,” Mertzig said.

UW-Madison safety department worker Ron Standish, who also attended the rally, said state workers must stand together to support pay equity.

“I’m here to show solidarity for MATC teachers and TAs,” Standish said. “Government doesn’t exist to make money, it exists to serve citizens, and that is what this is really all about.”

Cathy Ambler, a drama teacher at MATC, said the proposed legislation would correct the current situation, which makes it advantageous for technical colleges to hire cheaper part-time teachers.

“They are trending towards using part-time teachers to fill vacancies, not giving them the insurance and the benefits that go along with being a full-time teacher,” Ambler said. “Even though enrollment keeps going up, they keep hiring more part-time teachers to fill the vacancies, but no full-time teachers.”

Ambler said paying part-time teachers a more equitable wage would also help improve their performance in the classroom.

“The more secure a person feels in their job, the more relaxed they can be and make them teach more effectively,” she said.

Television satirist Michael Moore will speak more on the issue of pay equity for part-time teachers today at 6:30 p.m. at Agricultural Hall, in conjunction with Campus Equity Week.

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