The situation is as follows:
Once upon a time, the university where I have served as an adjunct decided to bring me on in a fixed-term role spanning a single academic year. This was to get them out of a low-manpower bind due to medical and retirement cases with some of our tenured faculty. The idea was a reasonable salary with benefits. So, classes start, and I have no contract. One pay period goes by, then two. Finally my contract comes through after much back-and-forth between the administration--which I'm to understand is heavily associated with our business school--and our department head. Result? Reduced from a single year to a single semester to avoid the benefits package, and reduced pay because they say they cannot retroactively pay someone who didn't have a contract during the intervening time. Given my history with this institution, I'm not at all surprised by this, but this is something of a new low. Yes, it makes good business sense to acquire labor for as cheaply as possible, but it also sends a bad long-term message that I am not valued as an employee. What, if anything, can I do about this?