The third year of a pandemic is on the horizon and nursing is still in crisis. The demand for nurses in states across the country has resulted in higher pay and increased incentives to retain the nurses’ hospitals have and recruit those who are willing to consider a move. Despite the national crisis and increasingly lucrative opportunities, the Board of Regents is demanding the wages and pay calculations for nursing, dental, and Allied Health faculty at Connecticut’s community colleges be reduced.
During negotiations on Thursday, November 11, the Board’s spokesperson, Dean Delloiacono, made clear the Board is determined to eliminate “excessive wage payments for nursing.” Despite naming nursing, the Board has targeted pay for dental and Allied Health faculty as well.
At all six of Connecticut’s community colleges where nursing programs prepare students for the National Council Licensing Exam-RN, our faculty have risen to the challenges of teaching during a pandemic while simultaneously ensuring students remain successful. Due to the exceptional work of our faculty, the programs of study at the community colleges prepare students to exceed the national mean on national licensure exams. Our faculty are deeply committed to our students and that commitment is demonstrated through, among other things, a lower rate of pay than they could earn if they were in hospitals or medical faculties.
Like teaching, nursing is often understood to be a calling. Not something one does in exchange for wages, but a deep commitment to a vocation that we arrange our lives around. Nursing, like teaching, is something that ministers to the needs of others. For nursing faculty, it is the intersection of both these professions that results in their calling to teach nursing, to help guide and shape the future nurses of Connecticut.
And it is the intersection of teaching and the healthcare fields that the Board of Regents is targeting to lower costs in the system. While managers are hired at historically higher rates of pay, the Board has decided that the people at the heart of community colleges – teachers, nursing faculty, and the staff that ensure students’ needs are met – is where costs will be reduced.
The Board is targeting our pay in four distinct ways:
1. It seeks no raises for the duration of the contract.
2. They are attempting to redefine a contact hour.
3. They want to remove the additional pay for nursing and dental faculty.
4. The Board who has failed to work within a budget since its inception, wants to fund promotion, “…only if the CEO/President determines sufficient funding exists.”
President Cheng and the Board of Regents are making clear who and what they value and it isn’t the faculty and staff of the 4Cs. But standing together and working together, we are stronger. Collectively, we are working to resist these attacks, while the board is setting its sights on us.
Please join with your colleagues, students, and community members at our Saturday, December 4th rally at the Governor's Mansion. This is an important event to demonstrate the power and solidarity of our union.