Thursday, May 29, 2008

Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

"Professional Development for Adjuncts", yesterday in IHE. Hey, maybe after actually teaching classes for twenty fucking years I know more about it than some buzzword-slinging rainmaker. But gee, on the other hand, look how well this strategy has worked in the public schools!

Here's a rant by me from shortly after I was derailed from TT (1997?). Nobody seems ever to've read it but me. Shrink the window to the size of a column if you want to be the first. The e-mail there is way out of date (so comment here or find the real one in Vlorblog if you want to get in touch).

Tirelli on CUNY

Vinny Tirelli founded adj-l in 1998 (& posted this history there yesterday).

Prior to 2000, when the current PSC leadership (the New Caucus) won their positions, the old leadership (since the 1970s) had not enforced the agency shop fee for part-time faculty. This discouraged part-time faculty from joining the union and paying dues, thereby becoming voting members. The dues were a flat rate -- for part-timers I think it was about $240 per year when last implemented. There was never more than about 600-800 part-timers who joined the union (out of about 7000-9000). The part-time activists themselves campaigned forcefully and over a long period of time for the union to enforce the agency fee so that it would be easier for us to get part-timers to join the union and vote (i.e., if they were already paying agency fee, then it wouldn't be onerous to join the union and translate that into union dues instead -- we'd been trying since the 8 0's to get the union to implement this). The old leadership wouldn't implement it, but when the new leaders came in (2000) they agreed with the part-time activists, instituted the agency fee, and restructured the dues so that we were not paying a flat rate, but a percentage (1.0% -- which is much better for those teaching only a couple of classes per year, whereas for those teaching a larger "part-time" load, it's not much different. Senior full time faculty pay a little more - 1.05%). Today there are about 4500 part-time faculty in the union as dues paying voting members (out of 9000-10,000 in any given semester). As you all know, there is a frequent turnover, and that is part of the problem with regard to continuity and mobilization. The union has paid (part-time) organizers on the various campuses who work to keep these numbers up. The disparity in salaries remain, though in the first contract negotiated by the new leadership (200 2?) part-time faculty who are teaching two or more classes on one campus get paid for an office hour (equivalent to another credit-hour -- e.g., 6 hours of credits gets paid as 7 with the extra one for an office or professional hour). We've got a ways to go, but let's not discount the gains -- in terms of political voice, we have a seat at the table as voting members. That is no small accomplishment. Now we have to turn that into more significant contractual gains - not an easy task when budget cuts are looming and inequality is thriving.

"The bane of part-time faculty: satisfying work, lousy benefits"; Bridget Murray; APA Monitor December 1998.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Surely ... A Mistake"

"Academic Life vs Personal Life", by Dr. Crazy (yesterday in Reassigned Time).

Clueless About HTML

I quit reading University Diaries for a while there; I can't tell why. Anyhow, this update on U Toledo is a good place to jump (back) in: just follow the links for the story of a train-wreck even worse than the one you probably work in. The inexplicably huge type can be made to shrink; her stuff in IHE, on the other hand, has to be enlarged—but is very hard to read even then since it won't shrink to fit in the appropriate window.

Teaching Isn't Work: NLRB

This book review tells the story of The University Against Itself: the (failed) 2005 NYU strike.
"It's Not Just Academic: Union Rights On Campus"; Jason Kosnoski; City Limits; May 27, 2008.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brown Versus Getting An Education

The AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers (UAW) today filed a complaint against the United States government with the International Labor Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, alleging that a 2004 decision by the Bush-dominated National Labor Relations Board in the Brown University case violates workers’ rights to the freedom of association. The complaint alleges that by denying teaching assistants and research assistants at private universities the right to join unions and engage in collective bargaining, the NLRB has violated workers’ rights under internationally recognized core labor standards ...

—from this post at the AFL-CIO "mediacenter". OK--people always seem to want to talk about big national issues instead of the local stuff they might actually be able to do something about (like organizing). Why not go international?

Also covered in Academe and mentioned in this AFT On Campus piece.

"AFL-CIO and UAW File Complaint With UN Protesting Bush Labor Board Denying Teaching and Research Assistants' Freedom to Form Union"; February 26, 2007

In The Truth There Is No News

This undated piece in Labor Notes was evidently reprinted in the Monthly Review. Somebody on the list sez
This is the best press on PT issues I've seen in a long time,
unsubordinated as they are here to tenure or budgetary or "quality of education" concerns.

"Part-Time Professors: Little Pay. No Pensions. No Health Care. No Seniority. Now Organizing Unions."; by Paul Abowd; Monthly Review February 29, 2008.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Blogging As "Captain Adjunct"

Hey, this Tonkovich guy is pretty good. The throbbing ads settle down after a while so you can read.
"Jesus Glasses! Joseph II! Historical Mythology!"; May 21, 2008; oc register (Orange Co., CA).

Beneath The Surface Of The Mud

I read the whole thing yesterday. (In hard copy! In an actual library!) Pretty good for the Atlantic (usually their stuff is (i) dead wrong and (ii) way too long).

Blog comments have appeared at Kitchen Table Math (where I first heard of the story), Community College English, McClain's College Reader, American Power, DISSENT the BLOG, and, presumably, others (JFGI).

"In the Basement of the Ivory Tower"; Professor X; June 2008.

COCAL History

Posted in adj-l today; a modified (by Mary Ellen Goodwin) version of a document originally by Chris Storer (for COCAL IV). HTML by me. PS: COCAL VIII.

A Brief History of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor

In December 1996, the first National Congress of Adjunct, Part-time, GTA, and Non-Tenure Track Faculty Conference was held in D.C. This conference ran concurrent with the Modern Language Association (MLA) conference in D.C. that year, at which the Graduate Student Caucus held a panel (moderated by Eric Marshall) on "Making the MLA More Proactive" in part-time faculty issues. Both the MLA panel and the National Congress conference were well-attended and very successful (attracting people from all over the country).

Vinny Tirelli revived his ADJ-L listserve which continued the discussions that developed during the Washington conference. In April 1998, Vinny Tirelli, Eric Marshall, and others organized the 2nd Annual National Congress conference at the CUNY Grad Center in NYC. The e-journal, Workplace was officially launched at the opening session. Cary Nelson and Stanley Aronowitz were keynote speakers.

The group renamed itself "The Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL)," and a steering committee was formed. It was decided that the 3rd Annual conference would be held the following year in Boston in April 1999. This conference was hosted by activists from the University of Massachusetts, Boston (UMB) Part-time Faculty Committee of the Faculty-Staff Union (FSU), an affiliate of the National Education Association.

Building on earlier success from 1986, and with state budget surpluses emerging out of the recession of the early seventies, the Part-time Faculty Committee spurred FSU to vigorous support of part-time faculty issues. They achieved major gains in June 1998, including the reclassification of PT faculty teach two sections as salaried half-time employees with full medical, dental, and retirement benefits, and a floor of $4000.00/course. These successes inspired other faculty in the Boston area where there are 58 separate institutions of higher education. However, since most of these colleges had no union, part-time faculty from other colleges began to join with those at UMB, making the April 1999 conference a base for the Boston Project, now in its second year of demonstrating the success of regional coalition. Led by Gary Zabel and other part-time faculty activists, the Boston Project has worked closely with established organizations such as the American Association of University Professors, local affiliates of the National Education Association, the United Auto Workers Union, etc., and a variety of contingent labor support groups.

Faculty leaders of the California Part-time Faculty Association (CPFA), linking with their East coast colleagues through internet listservs and email, met for their Annual Plenary in June 2000 and decided that CPFA successes from building a statewide coalition would be furthered by expanded outreach. The meeting resolved to join the National Alliance for Fair Employment (NAFFE), and to host COCAL IV, the first West Coast National Conference on Contingent Academic Labor, in January 2001.

The idea for Campus Equity Week (CEW/FEW) was conceived during the conference and a resolution was passed to hold the first Campus Equity week in the fall of 2001.

COCAL V was hosted by the Concordia University Part-time Faculty Association (CUPFA) at Concordia University in October of 2002. The conference passed the Montreal Declaration (a document recognizing our contributions to higher education and our continued struggle in light of increased corporatization, scarcity of resources, competition between institutions, the flexible labor market, and degeneration of working conditions). COCAL V was the first trilingual conference with sessions translated in English, French and Spanish.

Roosevelt University in Chicago was the venue for COCAL VI and COCAL VII was held in Vancouver, BC.

"The Future of the Contingent Faculty Movement", Keith Hoeller; IHE; Nov. 13 (2007).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

There's An Old Paltz?

The CCF Newsroom (SUNY's Coalition for Contingent Faculty) led me to this story from 11/05 among lots of other cool links; Steve Street gave me the lead. Oh, and Matthew Henry Hall's Higher Ed Cartoons (weekly in IHE; others)

Also at SUNY: United University Professions.

"Seeking Stable Ground: Unions address the precarious lot of full-time, nontenure-track faculty"; Virginia Myers Kelly; AFT.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What No Basketball

Indiana U's GEO (Graduate Employees Organization) has a blog (spotted at CGEU: the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions). It's very seldom updated, though, so I haven't listed it on the b'roll (at right). I was at IU for mumbledy-mumble years.

Here's some more on the Cali loyalty-oath story, yesterday at Academic Cog. Turns out this wasn't the first time this season (HT: this post in The Rebel Letter).

This 2005 piece can also be read here if for some reason you like clicking through lots of ads.

"Contingent teaching, corporate universities, and the academic labor movement"; Joseph Entin; Radical Teacher; Summer 2005.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Creepy Treehouses

If you build it, they will run away laughing: old dudes trying to look cool yesterday in Burnt Out Adjunct.

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Here's some old (2006) commentary on a piece on adjuncts & unions in IHE. Noted here simply because it's the first hit I got by googling "blogs by part-time faculty". Workplace Prof Blog is still going strong but I don't expect to be back real often. The law is a ass.
May 11, 2006; "Clash of Interests"; Rob Capriccioso.

Monday, May 19, 2008

In Other News, Dog Hopes To Bite Man

The Adjunct Advocate is planning to sell out.

Weekend Gleanings

AFSCME and UAW are pooling their efforts at U New Hampshire in this story from Saturday, posted to adj-l by the tireless Keith Hoeller.

He also posted this this deliberately short-lived link to a piece in the Chronicle. I won't be mentioning a whole lot more of this kind; putting an expiration date on a webpage defeats my purpose here. But this one's actually about Keith Hoeller, so get it while you can.

A discussion of tenure on PBS (TV) was announced by Craig P. Smith of FACE.

"National unions to help UNH workers organize"; ADAM D. KRAUSS; Saturday, May 17, 2008; Foster's Daily Democrat.
"A Philosopher Stirs Up the World of Adjuncts"; AUDREY WILLIAMS JUNE; May 23; CoE.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Of Shoulders And Giants

Here, though (almost exactly) two years old, is a tribute to The Invisible Adjunct: more than any other one blog, IA inspired me to begin this silly god-damn hobby (June 27, 2003).

Don't Ask Me To Swear If You Don't Mean It

I already mentioned this story in The Progressive in my main blog (May 7), but what the heck, here it is again: loyalty oaths in Cali.
"Adjunct Professor Fired for Not Signing Loyalty Oath"; Matthew Rothschild, May 6, 2008


Sometimes I read posts from the adj-l e-mail list. Usually my favorite posts are links to readings. Seems like somebody oughta be posting some of 'em in a more searchable form: who's ever gonna wade through the archives? I once briefly maintained a readings list and I can't even begin to tell you how gratifying it was a few months back to have Joe Berry look me in the eye and tell me he'd once spoken with Marc Bousquet about it. These guys are my heroes, for heck sake.

So here's some coverage of a talk by AAUP prez-re-elect Cary Nelson. Hat tip: Jon Curtis (AFT).

"Fiscal woes and changing trends in the world of academia"; Kim Lee; May 1, 2008.

Hello World

This is a test of the emergency broadcast system. Had this been a real emergency, the academy would be overwhelmed by the corporate interests and it would have become impossible for a committed scholar and teacher even to make a living without singing Satan's songs.