Hi 25° | Lo 19°

Adjunct professors protest limit on work related to health care law

  • Adjunct faculty members of the Community College System of New Hampshire met outside the Manchester Community College on Tuesday morning, April 23, 2013 to picket the community college system's planned limit on adjunct course loads.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Adjunct faculty members of the Community College System of New Hampshire met outside the Manchester Community College on Tuesday morning, April 23, 2013 to picket the community college system's planned limit on adjunct course loads.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Adjunct faculty members of the Community College System of New Hampshire met outside the Manchester Community College on Tuesday morning, April 23, 2013 to picket the community college system's planned limit on adjunct course loads.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Adjunct faculty members of the Community College System of New Hampshire met outside the Manchester Community College on Tuesday morning, April 23, 2013 to picket the community college system's planned limit on adjunct course loads.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Adjunct faculty members of the Community College System of New Hampshire met outside the Manchester Community College on Tuesday morning, April 23, 2013 to picket the community college system's planned limit on adjunct course loads.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Adjunct faculty members of the Community College System of New Hampshire met outside the Manchester Community College on Tuesday morning, April 23, 2013 to picket the community college system's planned limit on adjunct course loads.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

From restaurants to classrooms, employees who are considered part time are facing cuts in their weekly hours in advance of the full rollout of the federal health care reform law.

Locally, that means the number of courses adjunct professors at the Community College System of New Hampshire can teach will be limited next semester, capping potential earnings at about $10,000 for some who use the jobs as their main source of income.

The IRS released proposed rules in January requiring colleges to count time spent outside the classroom, either in preparation or grading, but advised colleges to “use a reasonable method for crediting hours of service,” instead of providing a national formula. Employees who work 30 or more hours in a week are considered full time under the federal law.

Using a formula that each credit hour translates to three hours of work, including preparation and grading, the Community College System of New Hampshire has asked campus administrators to limit adjuncts to nine credit hours – or about 27 hours of work each week – next semester.

In an email to department leaders in February, NHTI Vice President of Academic Affairs Pamela Langley wrote, “it is the new healthcare bill that is driving this, since it would require that we pay health benefits (not prorated ones, but the same ones) to adjuncts teaching 75% or more of a full-time load.”

On Tuesday, New Hampshire adjunct professors stood outside Manchester Community College to protest the limit.

Some said the realization that the health care law they once supported is being used against them was a harsh reality to swallow.

Craig Lange is a member of the team that has been negotiating for a contract since the adjuncts joined the State Employees’ Association two years ago. When the health care reform law passed, he was with a group of adjuncts at a system board of trustees meeting.

“We all applauded when the news came in that (the law) passed. . . . I didn’t think it would go this way,” he said.

Lange, who has taught science at the community colleges in Nashua and Manchester for the past seven years, said he’s somewhat surprised to be in such a similar situation to his 18-year-old son, who works at a fast-food restaurant.

“I’ve seen it coming to us for a while now, because they’re doing it there, hiring a lot of people and limiting their hours so they don’t have to give benefits.”

System Chancellor Ross Gittell could not comment in detail on the considerations for adjunct health benefits because of ongoing negotiations with the union, but said that the system is caught weighing student access through affordable courses against increasing benefits for employees.

In their budget request to the Legislature for the next biennium, system officials asked that funding be increased to 2010 levels, after being cut by 20 percent in 2011.

“The broader public good was helped by the Affordable Care Act and we’re doing the best in the context of our limited budget and our focus on student success. Difficult decisions have to be made, and while we appreciate what the adjuncts bring to the community college system, we are focused on students, on our financial model, and in the context of decades of rising health care costs, you can’t just isolate this point in time and criticize what we’re doing, without looking at what’s happening across the country,” he said.

Both private colleges and state-run higher education systems are using the same limits on course hours to limit exposure to the health care reform requirements, including colleges in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

At a hearing in Washington, D.C., before a panel of IRS officials, six groups representing higher education and adjunct faculty spoke out Tuesday against campuses that are using the guidelines to skirt the Affordable Care Act provisions.

Though the IRS has promised previously to provide further guidance, the Chronicle reported the panel gave no indication when that might happen.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

Legacy Comments42

Obviously GWTW Bruce sees projections as facts. He also uses old data to promote his agenda. The latest CBO estimates are a bit changed. I am talking March 2013 not March 2012. 6 months ago the CBO stated that 4 million folks would lose their employer based coverage. Now they are saying 7 million will. No chatter here about the fallout that is happening already from the ACA. 20, 000 will be the avererage cost per plan. Employees are cutting folks hours, Look the other way folks. At some point this will start hitting you. And that plan we had to pass so we could find out what was in it, is about to show you what you were not told. Not one of you figured out that when a pol tells you just the lures of a law and leaves out the bad parts about it, that you are being sold a lemon.

As of March 2013, the CBO figures on the total budgetary impact of the ACA still show it reducing the deficit long term. But of course, you knew that already.

Polly want a cracker? Polly want a cracker? This government can't run anything without screwing it up. Those are projections if everything goes perfectly. Murphy's law tells us differently and with administrators and government hacks behind the scenes I am sure that it will not work out. I know one thing for sure, my insurance IS y going up by 50% next year, by deductible will be doubled and it will cost $35 for a doctors visit versus $10 now. My preferred provider percentage is not 90% and that will drop to 80% next year. Of course you probably consider that "fair" even though I have to pay the frieght of a faceless stranger who will reap those benefits which I have paid for most of my life and pay little to get them. It fits perfectly into the Marxist agenda: "From each

Obamacare is going to be a disaster. This week, it was revealed that Congress has been meeting for months to work their way around participating in and having their staffers participate in Obamacare. According to Politico, they fear a "brain drain" as financially this will hit staffers hard on both salary, penalties and possibly being forced into health insurance exchanges. What does that tell us? Two things. First, Congress feels above the law and second, they realize what a debacle it is going to be. To the posters calling for a "single payer" system, that would be even worse. One poster states about people who don't support Obamacare states: "I've got mine, you can go pound sand". I might ask those holding that opinion why 90% of the population, paying a lot already who are basically happy with their insurance and health care should not be outraged. 90% of the population will undergo increased premiums and poorer coverage so that 10% of the population can be covered. How much do the producers have to provide for the non-producers, those who opt out of health care plans and to those who have made poorer lifestyle and life choices. Progressives, the SEIU got what they wanted and now they realize that often, people should be careful of what they ask for. Riddled with assumptions, mired in red ink (now costing over 3.5X what Obama promised it would cost) and chock full of hidden rules, regulations and taxes, Obamacare is a disaster, now and it will get worse. Companies are already warning those who have taken care of their own insurance by sacrificing for decades that next year, all bets are off; that they will get less for more cost. What needs to happen is to defund Obamacare, scrap it and start over. Politicians need to leave ideology at the door and come up with fiscally responsible, common sense solutions absent of emotion, hyperbole, agenda and rhetoric. No more closed door bills, hidden agenda, pork and ideology trumping doing the right thing. End Obamacare NOW!

Chancellor Gittell talks of “difficult decisions” with a “limited budget,” but CCSNH documents show that he and his Board of Trustees recently gave huge raises to Gittell and about 70 other administrators. Such questionable priorities benefit neither the students nor their professors.

That Mr. Watrous is the issue with government administrators and managers. Not a leader amongst them. Just self serving folks with agenda. Very good post.

The Community College System of NH is no longer a state agency. It is now a corporate entity. Unfortunately it also seems to have a corporate mindset, awarding its leaders at the expense of the people who do the actual teaching. As someone who was there, I believe it was run better--and fairer--when it was part of state government.

This is wonderful to see SEIU members picketing their own policy. They fully backed & supported Obama & Obama care. This is just the beginning of the fall out from this failed policy. This is also what happens when people & organizations (SEIU) blindly back candidates & policies. This would be funny if Obama care (AHA) wasn't so devastating to the health care industry & businesses. It just goes to show the SEIU is never going to be happy, even when their own policies get enacted.

Love the Strat, own an Ovation. And this is a great and accurate post. People already are practicing the usual progressive NIMBY attitude.

Not a single Republican voted for the ACA. Remember the words of Speaker Pelosi "We have to pass this bill to find out what's in it". Looks like many liberals are not liking it. This is ultimately good for the country because it is going to wake up people who have blindly supported liberal Democrats. The damage to the economy and loss of full-time jobs the ACA will bring hasn't even started.

Correct and let it cost progressives and Democrats dearly in the next election.

One more time: Pelosi's words were torn out of context and twisted to mean something very different by opponents of the ACA. Pelosi was referring to the Senate's version of the bill--still undergoing changes as it was being debated there.

So now we know. Pelosi also said that passing this bill would decrease the deficit.

However you try to spin it, in the long run, the ACA is still projected to save money. Get your facts straight.

"However you try to spin it, in the long run, the ACA is still """projected"""" to save money. Get your facts straight." LOL...quite funny. Facts...projections..whats the difference.

Pelosi Gems. Spin these Bruce. Everyday we do not have a recovery package, 500 million Americans loser their jobs. I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels. I think it is unAmerican to enforce immigtation laws. Cutting Congress pay undermines the dignity of the job. Tax cuts are spending and we must curtail spending. Someone told Harry Reid that Romney has not paid his taxes in 10 years. Unemployment benefits are creating jobs faster than practically any other program.

It is misleading and disingenuous for NHTI Vice President of Academic Affairs Pamela Langley, and System Chancellor Ross Gittell to suggest that a new set of restrictions on adjuncts is the fault of ACA: adjunct hours in New Hampshire's CC's colleges already limited. I don't recall them arguing, before ACA, that the right thing to do would be to pay adjuncts a decent wage and to do away with the already injurious working caps that blight the careers of most of CC faculty.This is a national problem: The idea that ACA created the real crisis here is not helpful. Alan Trevithick, Board Member, New Faculty Majority, the National Coalition for Adjunct and Contingent Equity.

The Affordable Care Act is a very convenient scapegoat for all kinds of businesses and organizations when they need to announce a pay or benefit cut or a layoff. The NHTI administration should be ashamed of themselves. Of course, they are the "haves" in the system. A similar example is the UAW: they fought to keep their $28/hr jobs but are perfectly fine with any new hires starting at $14/hr. There is no honor among thieves or, apparently auto workers or college administrators. Like I said earlier: it's the "I got mine, you go pound sand" world we live in.

You lefties are going to have to put on your thinking caps to come up with excuses why the ACA is causing all kinds of problems. This is what happens when you believe a President that tells you what you want to hear, instead of what you are actually getting. That happens when you have no clue what you are buying. Like that used car you bought and the salesman said it was a one owner, old lady that drove it to church every Sunday.

The president didn't tell me what I wanted to hear which was that we are going to single-payer health care. But the ACA is still better than what was offered by the Republicans--which was basically nothing--as if the current system is working so well. To pretend that companies will not blame the ACA for unrelated personnel issues is naive. Some are already blaming the recession for layoffs so they can work their remaining employees even harder and then bank the extra profit or redistribute it to executives.

Weather it is the state college system or Papa Johns, this is all about employers not wanting to give their workers decent benefits. Everyone's pay is going down except the top richest whose income went up 28%. Unless everyone who comments here is a CEO this is bad news for all workers. And I wonder if the Union Leader would have put a story on the front page about people who are happy with Obamacare?

You're is bad news for all. Except the people that actually wrote the law. They are(?) exempt.'s "whether"

I strongly advise against pedantically correcting others' grammar lest you wish yours similarly corrected, opportunity for which you provide in abundance.

Nobody likes a know-it-all. I'm a cockney, I drop my h'es

What I find fascinating is the fact you are more upset by a grammar correction than the fact that the same people who wrote the law are now ( maybe..according to what you read) trying to exempt themselves and their staffers from it.

Until this country develops a single-payer, universal coverage health care system, limiting the hours employees work so they don't qualify for healthcare coverage will be the "rational" irrational response to our big pharma/big insurance dominated health care system. Obamacare is an incremental improvement, but is compromised by the undue influence the behemoths of the healthcare industry had in crafting the ACA. Private companies like Walmart and McDonald's have long limited hours worked so employees didn't qualify for benefits, while at the same time encouraging them to apply for government benefits. Now we are seeing the same practice in the public sector. It's a sad commentary on the gridlock government at all levels has developed, and a testament to the power of the scornful and sneering corporate/libertarian, denialist thinking that has consistently fueled ALEC and like-minded lobbies and think tanks. We've had 30 years of revisionist history and economics and laws that unduly favor the rich and the powerful at the expense of our democratic institutions and the public interest. When will it end? When will we awaken from our sleepwalk into feudalism and fascism?

I'm concerned that Chancellor Gittell cites a lack of state funding and the compounded yearly expense of benefits, yet somehow accepted a yearly raise equivalent to four times the average adjunct income. Given that the college presidents and administrators also enjoyed similar raises last year, I'm very curious to hear how he justifies this to the people who are directly responsible for the students he is (rightfully) so concerned about.

As a Granite State College student, the adjunct professors provided the best classroom instruction. They all had real-world experience and understood work-life balance. The only full professor I had was completely arrogant and useless. He was so full of himself and hostile toward us. We were all working people and not punk kids like he teaches at PSU, but he resented the fact that we were not academic leeches like himself. He was the only teacher to give me less than an A, and I graduated with a 3.96 thanks to him. The university system needs to take a hard look at their tenured professors and make big changes. The adjunct professors are the stars of the education system.

While the ACA leaves much to be desired the real issue is how - as a country - we move forward to provide health insurance (affordable care) for all. Until we are willing to go to a single payer plan, these ‘fixes’ will only continue to see our health systems costs escalate, with no chance for universal coverage. Our Canadian and European counterparts provide care less expensively with similar to better results. Our system is reported to cost 150% more then those of other countries offering similar to better care. While health care is not a right it is certainly a responsibility. As the richest nation in the world we can certainly afford health care for all and should work to make it affordable for all. Health care should not be treated as a for profit business. When it is, the bottom line becomes more important then the patient. For anyone who doubts the serious problems that plague our health care industry I suggest you read Steven Brill’s article in Time magazine - Allan Herschlag

You're spot-on Allan. I urge everyone to read Steven Brill's article. It doesn't focus on private vs. public health care. He simply tries to "follow the money" and find out why health care is so expensive in this country. It's really eye-opening. It's time people find out about "chargemasters".

if democrats do to health care what democrats did to education you will have a very expensive lousy product

I'm concerned that Chancellor Gittell cites rising yearly costs and a loss of state funding as a reason to limit hours and avoid paying benefits, while at the same time he, the college presidents, and other high-level administrators enjoy income increases that are roughly equivalent to double what an adjunct can currently make in a year; after the cuts, Chancellor Gittell's raise in particular will closer to four time an adjunct's wage. I am very curious to hear how he can possibly justify this to the people who are directly responsible for the students he is (rightfully) concerned about.

This is the world we live in Prof: "I got mine, now you go pound sand". It's just stated more eloquently by most people.

This story and hundreds of others like it around the country, from private businesses and public institutions alike, are the toxic legacy of one man: soon-to-be former senator Max Baucus. This Republican in Democrat's clothing (if you didn't remember, he couldn't even decide whether he was an R or a D a couple of months before declaring for his first election) used his position in the Senate to remove any "public option" from the proposed Affordable Care Act. We are now seeing the entirely predictable result of a law that REQUIRES every citizen, except for those of us lucky enough to have lived long enough to qualify for Medicare, to submit themselves to the tender mercies of the for-profit health insurance industry.

Welcome to the Obama economy where the low information democrat voter that elected him always screamed that Bush jobs were McDonalds jobs

The fallout from the ACA is now starting to show up. This law will also have more ramifications down the road. Just sit back and wait and see how this law will impact employment alone. Then we can talk about what happens when you need medical care and you have to wait months for tests or an appointment. It seems, the left has to experience these problems first hand before they finally get the message. This is what happens when you pass a law and have no clue what is in it. Like the used car saleman that tells you a kind old lady just drove the car to church on Sundays.

Karma-SEIU worked their butts off getting Obama elected and this is what they get in return. It is great to see liberals getting burned by liberal policies. Obamacare is a train wreck.

As with about everything the government tries to do, the first thing that happens is the public tries to beat the system. We read complaints daily in this forum about the deadbeat people who want to beat the system and now we are reading about the employers who are the deadbeats and want to beat the system. The law is not requiring these schools or any other employer to change one thing, it actually intended the employers to leave things as they were but yes help with health insurance. The employers are changing the work load to avoid paying and forcing it ONTO the government AND then claim it is the governments fault. I‘ll say Mitt Romney can now add every employer that changes work hours like this onto his deadbeat list.

No, the is requiring them to change one thing.

UGGH..."No, the LAW is requiring them to change one thing....jeez

Everyone ridiculed Republicans for continuously trying to repeal this terrible law. Its still a train wreck, still unpopular, and we are still going to get it.

good morning professor is your apple now have a nice Obama Day! It was never about healthcare. Keeping the masses dependent on government sure is a tiring job! Looks like school finally is in session.

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.