FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Members of the union representing University of Alaska adjuncts have ratified a contract that calls for a 10 percent pay increase over three years.
The contract with United Academic Adjuncts would take effect when approved by the Board of Regents. It would expire on Dec. 31, 2004.
Under the proposed state budget passed by the House Monday, the university is required to pay for its labor contracts. The proposed budget gives no additional funds.
The adjuncts' union, which represents about 1,100 part-time faculty throughout the university system, received 171 mail-in ballots on the contract. Of those, 164 supported the agreement.
Union President Barbara Cole said she has mixed feelings about the pact.
''(It's) baby steps in the right direction, but it is a long way from where we want to be,'' she told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. ''We are still only making about one-third of what the full-timers are.''
Adjunct faculty teach up to 15 credits per semester. Under the old contract, which expired Dec. 31, they were paid between $770 and $899 per credit. Under the new contract, that amount would ultimately increase to between $850 and $992.
Cole said adjuncts have no benefits and no guarantee of employment from semester to semester.
''They are turning it into a housewife's hobby and community service,'' she said. ''That is how laughable the salaries are.''
Steven Levi, business manager for the union, said that despite the increases, the University of Alaska still lags behind what is considered adequate pay for adjunct faculty.
''You should be making about 60 percent of what the full-timers make,'' he said.
Still, he said, adjunct faculty have come a long way since he started teaching at the university in 1978.
Levi said other terms of the contract include a discount on parking fees.
Michael Hostina, the university's chief negotiator on the pending contract, said the increases would cost the university an additional $290,000 in next year's budget.
Hostina called the pay increases ''reasonable'' and said adjuncts remain an efficient way for the university to provide instruction.
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