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 The e-mail there is way out of date (so comment here or find the real one in Vlorblog if you want to get in touch).
Thursday, May 29, 2008
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
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
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?
"AFL-CIO and UAW File Complaint With UN Protesting Bush Labor Board Denying Teaching and Research Assistants' Freedom to Form Union"; February 26, 2007
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
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.
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
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
"Contingent teaching, corporate universities, and the academic labor movement"; Joseph Entin; Radical Teacher; Summer 2005.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
May 11, 2006; "Clash of Interests"; Rob Capriccioso.
Monday, May 19, 2008
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.
"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
"Fiscal woes and changing trends in the world of academia"; Kim Lee; May 1, 2008.