My contract ended May 23rd. While I was allowed to turn in grades until the 25th, I'm no longer under contract. That means I'm not paid for university duties. A nine month contract is pretty common for academics, and it is what it is.
Let me tell you a little about my contract. In the part where it describes my duties, there's a part that says "and other duties as requested by the chair." That part means that if the chair (my immediate supervisor) asks me to do X, and I do a good job, it goes in my performance review and stuff. It's part of the work I'm expected to do as part of the contract.
It's all very standard, right?
A couple of months ago, my chair asked me if I would be willing to do task X, a task that's under the supervision of a deanish office. Having no good reason to say no and run screaming from the room, I said yes.
It took a while for the deanish office to work things to the point where my services were required, but that point came last week. Task X is pretty darned unusual, so the deanish folks were trying to do things correctly, but since they didn't actually read the directions, things weren't done as correctly as they should have been. But then the head of X read the directions, and we followed them. And that was good. But because we actually read and followed the directions, task X took more time than the deanish folks had planned.
But because the deanish folks hadn't read the directions, task X required my services today, and so the deanish folks requested, and I agreed.
When I went by my department to pick up some stuff, I saw my chair, and I said, we're still working on task X, I hope there's some arrangement to pay me for working while not under contract.
My chair straightfacedly assured me that yes, there would be an extra pay envelop, and then burst out laughing. Until I assured him that I was serious, and that I expect to be paid for the labor I'm performing. And he said, good luck with that. But I reminded him that I was doing this task because I'd been requested to do so by him, and that the task went into the non-contract period, and thus I should be paid additionally for the task. And then I said, "I'd be happy to bill the university for my work as a consultant. I charge $300 an hour for consulting." He looked at me. And then I acknowledged that I don't get much consulting work. And we both laughed.
So I went to do task X. And there was a break, and I asked the deanish folks how we (the folks not under contract) were to be paid for our work today, while we're not under contract. And the deanish folks laughed.
And then I said that I was serious, and I expected to be paid for my labor, because my work had been requested by my supervisor, and I was doing it as requested, but it had gone beyond my contract period.
And then the deanish folk mumbled about asking the higher up.
And I suggested he also ask the campus legal eagle.
Seriously, I did not volunteer to do this extra work, and I certainly didn't volunteer to do it when I have no obligations to the campus.
But our campus has a long history of asking people to volunteer to do administrative-promoted projects during non-contract periods and not paying people for their work.
And our state has a history of not giving faculty a LONG ago promised raise of 2% (promised about 5 years ago for this past year, after being put off before) and our state has a history of giving us a 3% pay cut for this year and next (and who knows if beyond that). In the past year, we've had students added to our classes and we've been asked to do ever more additional work (assessment, anyone?), and we've been paid less. The campus and state have lost a lot of whatever loyalty they might have had.
And yes, I realize that there's not that much money involved, but there's a principle, and that is that we should pay people for their labor unless they explicitly volunteer it.
I'm guessing if necessary I can take this to small claims court, but I sure hope I don't have to.
I'd be willing to take bets that there's talk in the fort about the "bitch who thinks she should get paid." And that talk would come from men who are paid on a year-long contract, and so were paid for their presence at task X today.