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Re: [SACC-L] YouTube on Adjuncts

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  • Deborah Shepherd
    All these comments are making me appreciate my union even more than I have in the past. We not only have the capacity to strike (and have done so in the past),
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 17, 2009
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      All these comments are making me appreciate my union even more than I have in the past. We not only have the capacity to strike (and have done so in the past), we voted on the question last spring. Apparently the feeling was that the economy was not in a good place for a successful strike. That assumption was more correct than we realized at the time!

      Deborah J. Shepherd, Ph.D.
      Anoka-Ramsey Community College
      Coon Rapids Campus
      phone number: 763-433-1195

      From: "Mark Lewine" <mlewine@...>
      To: <SACC-L@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: 2/16/2009 11:29 PM
      Subject: Re: [SACC-L] YouTube on Adjuncts

      Having this discussion center on the "adjuncts" or "part-timers" themselves is disturbing...when I taught sociology, we often discussed the nature of 'choices' made in various contexts, prisoners making choices in prison, soldiers making choices under army law and regulations, workers making choices in a country where less than 18% are in unions and each state regulating public workers like police differently than teachers, teachers differently than professors, and so on. Choices therefore are being made in each state according to different legal and regulatory systems. Traditionally in the U.S., we have conflicting perspectives on "labor rights" with conservatives arguing that unionizing is against individual choice as individual workers have a "right" to work without a union even when the workers have voted for representation, while progressives call that 'scabbing' and argue that each category of worker has a right to unionize the group in the setting and that the vote stands for all to be represented.

      I have worked in a conservative state, Ohio, for more than 40 years, and have been a part-timer working full-time with totally exploitive pay, no benefits, no office provided and no office hours allowed or required or participation in governance allowed or required, then as a lecturer in the some situation though paid more, then as a full-timer under a tenure system but with no recognized union, then with a recognized union. My wife has worked in the part-time category for 30 years. Of course she enjoys not participating in the weak and useless governance system as it is a sham and the faculty spend most time posturing in it rather than gaining any political goals. We had a union that was not recognized, but it saved me from being fired when i spoke out politically, as it was a real AFL union that understood political representation and process. Then we formed a recognized chapter of the AAUP and immediately accepted a "no-strike" and "no sympathy collaboration" clause in our contract, thus acceding to the conservative castration principle accepted in my state for public employees...so I pay more than $1000 a year for a contract process that guarantees that each of us is represented for our contracted work conditions, though we have agreed in that contract that the Board represented by the administration has almost all substantive rights in the workplace. Our "part-timers" are not allowed to be represented by the union and state regulations back that up. "Part-time" is now called "adjunct" because it sounds better, not because either category gets better conditions. All it means is that there is no 'contract' beyond total control by management of the work setting for each semester. The state judges have backed that up.

      Oh, we are named one of the "100 best places to work" each year, and we are now of course, being told that we are lucky to have any job at all. We are always told that at the community college we are preparing workers to be prepared for the work setting. Are we preparing workers with an understanding of our own work setting? Are we conscious of our own exploitive system and our tacit acceptance of it? Perhaps we are doing our job then by teaching future workers to accept their exploitation and be happy with 'choices' of titles on our doors and professional cards to hand out. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO ACTUALLY EXERCISE OUR OWN CRITICAL SKILLS AND DEMONSTRATE TO STUDENTS HOW TO BE AWARE OF THE SYSTEM WITHIN WHICH WE WORK AND LIVE?

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Deborah Shepherd
      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, February 16, 2009 8:39 PM
      Subject: Re: [SACC-L] YouTube on Adjuncts

      I just want to add for consideration by all of you that not all adjuncts are alike.

      Adjunct rules were created with the idea in mind that adjuncts would teach only one or two courses and stay on board only for the short term. At 4-year state schools in Minnesota, adjuncts cannot ever be rehired after only one semester.

      But at the community colleges, you are an "adjunct" only if you teach less than 6 credits. If you teach 6 or more credits but are still hired by semester contract, you are "temporary, part time" -- you get more benefits and more pay, but you still lack in job security because your contract is renewed every semester ... or not.

      I am "temporary, part time" even though I represent the entire Anthropology department. 41% of our faculty are either in that category or adjunct. Many of us who are called "part time" actually have full teaching loads of 15 credits/semester and many years of service.

      59% of the faculty holding "permanent, full time" positions is an inadequate number (besides, by law it should be 60%, but our campus has been in violation for years). "Temporary" people can't sit on hiring committees or vote in the faculty association. Some "temporary" people have been teaching the same courses on the same campuses for 20 years. It's an abuse of the system.

      As for unions, I'm grateful for the work ours has managed to do against great odds. I've joined to become a full member. The caps on my class sizes, the fact that I haven't been coerced to give free additional service as an advisor, and even the fact that I am still allowed to travel out of state to a conference using my very minimal faculty development funds (!) are all due to the union's perseverance.


      Deborah J. Shepherd, Ph.D.
      Anoka-Ramsey Community College
      Coon Rapids Campus
      email: deborah.shepherd@...
      new phone number: 763-433-1195
      >>> "kent morris" <km52@...> 02/16/09 5:51 PM >>>
      I'm not saying that we adjuncts shouldn't fight for our fair share of the
      pot--whatever we perceive that to be, but if financial survival or this or
      that benefit becomes a more important issue than an adjunct's chosen
      vocation then maybe it's time for those particular adjuncts to seek
      gratification in some other vocation or job....Let's face it--part-timers
      have always been lower on the totem pole than full-timers in any field of
      endeavor, and full-time faculty should enjoy higher status along with all
      the higher pay and benefits and increased access to continuing education
      because they've (hopefully)earned it... And adjunct faculty are, well, lower
      on the totem pole, regardless of the fact that we assume they teach the same
      quality of education as their full-time counterparts...
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