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UCLA wants to hire an assistant.  But the pay is zero.


In a previous book, Dr. Berry said, he has a page listing all the terms that have been used for contingent faculty: one of them is “unpaid.”

The union representing contingent faculty at the University of California has been fighting unpaid positions for years, said Mia McIver, president of the union, which represents about 7,000 members. “The fact that it’s common doesn’t excuse it,” she said.

The union suspects the number of unpaid teachers at the university is increasing, said Dr. McIver, who is also a lecturer in UCLA’s writing program. “As of March 2019, we had identified 26 faculty members at UCLA alone,” she said.

In the California system, the trend appears to have started with the 2008 financial crisis, Dr. McIver said. In 2010, she said, “We came across people who had been fired and were teaching for free in the hope, without any commitment from the university, that if the job came back they would be rehired to teach against remuneration. ”

The union won a settlement with the administration in 2016 demanding compensation for lecturers, who are mostly part-time and make up the majority of contingent faculty, Dr McIver said. But while lecturers are now unionized, assistants are not, allowing the university to have ancillary positions known as “zero percent appointments,” meaning that they are not paid.

A UCLA spokesman, Steve Ritea, said that before the settlement, people teaching for free were often full-time professionals with other incomes. He said he couldn’t comment on the number of zero percent appointments without seeing the documents the union was relying on. But he said a typical example of a zero percent adjunct is a tenured professor at another institution who has a formal affiliation with UCLA that could include mentoring students or serving on committees. Or someone who has moved to another university but wants to complete a scholarship or a project.

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