Here is something that most Americans can agree on: working people deserve health coverage. Because this expectation is so widely shared, it is all the more alarming that Gov. Bob McDonnell is pursuing a budget that will limit the hours of state employees—among those who are paid hourly—to less than 29 hours per week. Sadly, this is an effort to avoid provisions under the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide healthcare coverage to all fulltime workers.
Such a policy amounts to a kind of double penalty to working people, first by denying them hours and corresponding wages, but also by effectively denying them the insurance that they and their families need.
While this bad policy directive ultimately comes from the Governor’s Office, it is equally alarming that administrators here at the University of Mary Washington have decided to implement it before it becomes law, cutting the hours of some hourly staff and adjunct professors.
In contrast, other state universities and colleges in Virginia have not rushed to enact this policy recommendation from McDonnell. While we understand UMW administrators need to keep costs down, it is simply unconscionable to do so at the expense of some of our lowest paid employees, whose work is nonetheless essential to keep the university running.
So, while we urge the Senate and the House of Delegates to reject this budgetary provision, we also call on university administrators not to comply until absolutely required to do so. UMW should show these staff and adjuncts that we value what they do by maintaining their hours and giving them the health insurance that they very much deserve.
Jason Davidson, President of the UMW Chapter of the American Association of University Professors
Eric Bonds, Vice President of UMW AAUP
Suzanne Sumner, Treasurer/Secretary of UMW AAUP