Friday, April 11, 2014

Groundbreakers remain unbroken

Colo. Rep. Randy Fischer
Colorado's community college faculty owe a debt of gratitude to Rep. Randy Fischer (D-53) who valiantly brought forward HB 14-1154: The Colorado Community College Pay and Benefits Equity Act of 2014. He was ably assisted by bill co-sponsor, Sen. John Kefalas (D-14).

Colo. Sen. John Kefalas

Suzanne Hudson and Don Eron, Exec. Committee, Colo. Conf., AAUP

We are also in the debt of award-winning academic labor advocates Suzanne Hudson and Don Eron, of the AAUP Colo. Conf., who worked tirelessly on behalf of this measure. Tremendous help was also provided by Stephen Mumme, AAUP Colo. Conf. Co-president; Ellen Slatkin, President of AFT Colorado; Solomon Malick (AFT) and Carolyn Siegel (9 to 5 Colorado). Kudos are also in order to all members of the FRCC AAUP chapter, who, in just one year, formed a chapter and then stood on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol to help sponsors introduce this historic, groundbreaking measure.

by Don Eron

I'm sorry to report that HB14-1154, Colorado's "equal pay for equal
work" community college legislation, was defeated in the HouseAppropriations Committee this morning, 9-4. Technically, our amendmentthat demonstrated that the community college system had the resourcesto pay for HB14-1154 was defeated. At that point the bill waspostponed indefinitely, as a bit of legislative decorum.
We're proud of the fight that we waged, but, of course, aredisappointed, and feel that we let down the many Colorado adjuncts whopinned their hopes for a living wage to this campaign.

Although there were 17 bills on the Appropriations schedule, thediscussion of HB14-1154 lasted almost an hour. The Democrats who votedagainst the bill--who had received so many letters from working classadjuncts begging them to support the legislation--seemed compelled tojustify themselves. Most quoted the talking points of the communitycollege lobby, as if reciting fact. Amid the standardrationalizations--"there is a problem here but this bill is the wrongsolution that will destroy our community colleges"--my favorite waswhen one indignant legislator yelled at Rep. Randy Fischer, ourlegislative sponsor  (who was brilliant today): "I wasn't influencedby the lobbyists. I talked directly to community college presidents!"
I think we had momentum after passing through the State AffairsCommittee, but the nine weeks between hearings gave the communitycollege system a chance to regroup and reload. In short, big money wontoday.

Thanks to all of you who extended your best wishes for our success inthis campaign.