CCAC to cut workloads, avoid paying staffers' health care
By Debra Erdley
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Clay Morgan is among about 200 part-time instructors at Community College of Allegheny County who face cuts in their teaching loads so that CCAC does not have to provide them health care coverage.
The change is a response to a requirement in the new federal health care law that employers offer coverage to employees working 30 hours a week or more. Morgan, who teaches political science, fears he'll have to buy insurance. The law requires people whose employers don't offer coverage to buy it.
CCAC is the first college in Western Pennsylvania to announce such a change. Officials with the New Faculty Majority, a national nonprofit group that advocates for part-time college and university faculty, said they fear CCAC's move could trigger a domino effect.
“We haven't seen it yet, but we expect it will happen,” said Matt Williams, the group's vice president.
Williams said the move could be significant. Colleges rely on part-time adjunct faculty to teach 60 to 70 percent of courses.
The law, championed by President Obama and commonly known as Obamacare, is expected to make health care available to 32 million more Americans.
Morgan, 34, has taught at CCAC for six years. Although he teaches four classes a semester, or 12 credit hours, he is considered a part-time instructor and gets no health care benefits. CCAC will cap his load at 10 credit hours, a move that likely will cost him a class and about $2,200 a semester. That equates to about a 25 percent pay cut.
The cap, announced in a letter from CCAC President Alex Johnson, cites a provision in the law that will require employers with 50 or more workers to offer health insurance to anyone working 30 hours or more a week starting in 2014.
“This decision was no easy one,” Johnson wrote, acknowledging the role part-time faculty play at CCAC, where they teach 56 percent of all credit classes.
“I'll be losing hours at a time when I'm expected to begin paying thousands of dollars a year for health insurance,” Morgan said. He said he teaches at two other schools and works as a writer to make ends meet.
CCAC spokesman David Hoovler said the school, which is funded through state and county contributions and student tuition, does not have the additional $6 million it would take to make health care available to its part-time faculty and another group of 200 temporary part-time staffers. Hoovler said permanent part-time support staff covered by the Service Employees International Union's contract have access to health care benefits, though at higher premiums than full-time employees.
Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.