CHICAGO, Ill.—Part-time faculty members at Chicago’s Columbia College went on strike for two days Nov. 29-30 to demand that
the administration bargain seriously with their union, the Part-Time Faculty At Columbia (P-FAC). The union charges that the administration has “refused to answer questions, to offer real proposals or engage in any actual discussion.” Columbia, which promotes itself as a school where students are taught by “working professionals” in the arts and media, relies largely on part-time professors. P-FAC, organized in the 1990s, was the first union of part-time faculty in a private school, and won seniority rights and a raise from $1,400 per course to about $3,000. But the school has eliminated classes and laid off longtime professors, reducing the number of instructors from over 1,000 during the ’00s to about 650. “Just because we are part-time faculty does not mean we are disposable,” said P-FAC President Diana Vallera, a photography teacher.