ObamaCare Bites Unionized Educators
As the proverbial offal hits the fan, adjunct instructors and their union leaders are understandably panic-stricken as they finally realize the impact of ObamaCare on their livelihoods.
Union representatives are now sending their members letters stating that "the Affordable Care Act [aka ObamaCare] has defined full time as anyone working over 30 hours a week or 130 hours a month." Many of these hardworking and well-meaning local labor representatives, who were duped -- I mean, told by the American Federation of Teachers Union (AFT) that Obama was the one who would bring all good things to pass -- now find themselves in an untenable position.
Many claim that this ObamaCare provision actually "leaves it up to the employers in education to define what the actual time worked by an adjunct actually is." And from the local rep's standpoint, it is clearly "atrocious" that administrators would try to abide by the law even though it adversely affects instructors.
The traditional adversarial stance between administration and faculty is being ratcheted up by the union, which claims that the "the college is using the ACA law to reduce instructors' teaching load." They maintain that college administration's "interpretation is not accurate and that the regulations call for each school to come up with a reasonable method of determining full time status for compliance."
Thus, "anyone teaching more than 9 credits this semester will have the Fall teaching load reduced by the number of credits over the 9 credits. For example, if someone is currently teaching 12 credits, she will only be allowed to teach 6 credits in the Fall. A 14-credit load will be decreased to four [because there are no five credit courses]. Moreover, anyone in other college-related work such as Continuing Education courses, teaching seniors in Life Center courses, working in the fitness center, and advising students will no longer be allowed to do these.
Clearly, the hardships for instructors will be many. Poverty level will be the norm for many of these educators. They will be scrambling for other teaching assignments at nearby colleges and universities just to stay afloat.
And Obama will be chuckling all the way.
Because ObamaCare was never meant to be affordable or to improve patient care. It is about his amassing total control over people's lives. And far too many labor unions acquiesced to the Pied Piper's flute. Now their members are paying a very high price for this shameful partnership of lies.
Yet, instead of taking this opportunity to bring forces together, the union will continue to place blame at the feet of college administrators. I hold no brief for administration. Some of their past actions should make a decent person hold his head in shame. But in this instance, there is a golden opportunity to fight back against the government's intrusion into our lives if only people would see past their immediate concerns.
For example, the federal government has a wide array of alphabet-soup agency programs to ensure that students go to college. Special support programs such as Passport "provide students who demonstrate the determination and ability to succeed with the opportunity to begin college although they may not fully meet traditional admission criteria to do so." Exceptional Educational Opportunities Program or EEO "provides intensive support services -- including academic skill development; academic advisement; personal, social, and career counseling; and financial assistance -- for those who qualify." The EPIC or Entry Program into College is another program as is Project Excel. They all bring educationally-challenged students into two and four-year colleges in the hopes that they will succeed.
Not surprisingly, the funding for these programs is drying up. This leaves the colleges without a new class of students; it decreases teaching loads, and it puts a college's finances in a precarious state.
The educational house of cards will eventually crumble. But if administration and union members put aside their differences and march en masse on the White House to demand that ObamaCare be overturned, this would open a spigot that would bring out other Americans who see their medical care and work opportunities shortchanged and adversely affected.
And now with the latest news from Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, that "many of the children of families a.k.a. dependents "would still be left without options for affordable family health insurance under Obamacare" this should raise the hackles of even diehard Obama supporters. In essence, this Democratic senator says that millions of workers' dependents will still be left without options for affordable family health coverage. In fact, the "Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that there could be as many as 3.9 million dependents that will be affected because an employer's individual coverage choice was considered affordable but the family plan is not."
A million-people march on the Mall in D.C. would let Obama and the Congress know that Americans are fed up with these dictatorial edicts. It is time to push back.
Instead of rhetorical squabbling that will inevitably ensue at college adjunct/management forums, these two groups must come together. In this instance, their mutual interest is actually one and the same.
It is "the biggest fight" of the nation and the unions that surrendered their members' rights should be informed that they no longer have their backing or their faith. Obama and Congress should be placed on continual notice that the people no longer trust them and discontent is afoot.
This might be education's big moment if the interested parties seize the day instead of squandering the opportunity.
Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org