More Part-timers Speak Out

Posted: April 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

Below are some of the comments we’ve received since the vote.  These part-time faculty are exceedingly brave.  You can hear their voices.  I am particularly moved by the fact that one of the writers called me “Ms. Rossa.”  That showed such respect–and so unwarranted.  No part-timer should have to feel fearful of approaching full-timers as the equals they are.  Obviously, there is intimidation out there. If any other part-time colleagues wish to speak out, just send us an email.  You have the floor.  We’ll be proud to post your insights, anonymously or not.

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“Dear Ms. Rossa,

Thank you for speaking up about these issues– I didn’t have the teeth for it although I wanted to!  Of course I voted ‘no,’ but I could not quite face my full-time colleagues with this fact.  I felt that many full-time faculty were surprisingly vehement in their conviction, and there wasn’t a lot of space for discussion.  Sadly, it seems that voicing an opinion ostracizes us, or at least, makes things very awkward.

Thanks again for all your information and support!”

–Marcia Harvey

Fine Arts

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“Thank you for this posting, Marilyn.  Unfortunately, I was also one of the ones who was too late to enroll into the union to vote.  I went back and forth checking with people as I was sure I had done so when I was employed. (I do find it odd that there is no provision to allow for expediting enrollment for voting–after all, we don’t have to worry about voter fraud here.  Though, honestly, I’m not versed in all the union nuances.)

Lastly, I would support creating a separate CFT chapter. I never thought about the parity issue until all of this came up, but I am a part-timer who works long hours at two jobs. I think if people had stripped away all their “ifs,” “ands,” and “buts,” they would have been left to face what is correct and just…. equality/parity.”

Best,

Kati Wright

Student Development and Success, ESL, NCC

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“Great blog, Marilyn!  Thanks.  Relating to what you wrote, I was certainly educated and influenced by the email campaign of part-timers and full-timers who vocally supported part-timers.  I hope we can fight to make things better in the fall.”

–Recently hired part-time faculty member

Humanities

(We thought this was a worth a re-posting)

Some of you may know Mark Miller from Allan Hancock.  A great guy and an amazing faculty leader.  I had a chance to meet Mark some years ago when he invited me to come to Hancock to add my CFT voice to the part-timers’ movement who wanted to form a union separate from the full-timers’ union since they were getting nothing from their full-time counterpart.  And, form a separate union they did.  This union, Local 6185, has made enormous strides in part-time rights since then.  It is due in large part to Mark’s leadership.  But, it was also due to the part-timers’ building fury that finally caused them to take this courageous step.

I venture to say that this union has been more successful in bargaining over these years than the full-time faculty union at Hancock.

Read the excerpt from Mark’s article from February of this year below.  If nothing else, read this:

The part-time union just won “an 8 percent across-the-board increase in pay

for all members of the bargaining unit over the next two years.”

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By Mark James Miller

Noozhawk, Santa Barbara

“On Feb. 3, the Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College, California Federation of Teachers Local 6185 and representatives of the Allan Hancock Joint Community College District signed a three-year collective bargaining agreement.

Some of the highlights of the new agreement include:

» An 8 percent across-the-board increase in pay for all members of the bargaining unit over the next two years.

» An additional 20 percent increase in pay for part-time counselors, librarians and nurses.

» A 50 percent increase in office hours for credit faculty, starting in the fall of 2015.

» A 25 percent increase in professional development opportunities for all part-time academic employees.

» Beginning this fall, all part-time head coaches will receive the same stipend for their work as full-time head coaches.

» Free parking for all bargaining unit members — already in effect since fall 2014 — is now officially part of the collective bargaining agreement. (In the past, part-time academic employees had to pay to park on any of the Hancock campuses.)

There is more but the essence is that this new agreement represents a significant improvement in the lives of the part-time academic employees at Hancock College (the Part-Time Faculty Association represents not only adjunct faculty at Hancock but also the part-time counselors, librarians, nurses, coaches — all part-time academic employees, more than 500 in total).”

(Scroll to end for update)

You should be congratulated! You have a mighty and growing group (two more joined yesterday) of your part-time colleagues who are wicked smart, tireless, and dedicated to improve your lot in life.

You should be congratulated! Because of this team and in a very short amount of time, 44 faculty members were willing to vote against their own, short-term best interest and vote for parity; this is a first, and, in itself, is quite remarkable. This, of course, does not even include those part-time faculty who thought they were members and wanted to vote “No.” Or, those part-time union members who had their classes snatched from them this term and were not allowed to vote “No.” Or, those 20 people who voted and whose votes were not counted because the Election Committee would not verify ballots (easily done; we called faculty to verify routinely because we wanted all ballots counted) when they didn’t find their signature on the large envelope.

Apparently, this was the largest turnout of voters in some time.  No surprise there.  People tend to vote when their pocketbook is affected.

We clearly did not expect the “No” vote to prevail. But, we had hoped for support from full-time faculty members who had previously stood with part-timers on parity issues. That did not happen. Clearly, money trumped equality and fairness, and, for that, I am deeply sad.

You should be congratulated! Reaching part-time faculty has always been one of the toughest political jobs on campus since they are often scattered among campuses and colleges trying to make a living. Part-time faculty did not come out in droves to vote. That is unfortunate. The team needs to employ better means of reaching them. But, many of you have been reached, and you told us that the part-timers’ campaign actually changed your mind. And, this is only the beginning.

You should be congratulated! This part-time team is exploring working within the union to achieve parity goals. If this doesn’t work, however, they are open to exploring the possibility of breaking off from CCFT and creating a part-timers’ union, such as is the case at Hancock. When we formed CCFT in 1994, we fought to have part-timers included in the same union to the dismay of many of the full-time old guard. The part-timers at Hancock tried for a long time to get the support and bargaining strength from their full-time colleagues to no avail. So, they broke off and formed their own CFT chapter. And, under the leadership of Mark Miller, they have had incredible successes, greater than those of their full-time colleagues, it seems.

In this morning’s email from Stakes, NOT ONE WORD was mentioned about going forward with parity movement for part-timers as the union’s number one goal for October’s negotiations. Not one word. We expect lip service from management but from the union? If any parity movement is achieved in Fall, it will only be because this new working team has made it an issue not to be ignored. If the union truly was concerned about part-time issues, the part-timers’ concerns and efforts this election cycle to achieve parity movement would have at least been acknowledged. They were not.

You should be congratulated! Those of you who “get it” know that the district literally gave this money for raises to the union by robbing the full-time faculty new hire pot of money. This, of course, took potential full-time positions from part-timers who had already turned in their applications! So, part-timers took a double hit–no step toward parity AND no possibility of full-time employment. Yet, no one complained: not the full-timers, not the union, and not the academic senate. You now know where you stand and know that you must step up and step out to make change happen.

You should be congratulated! You do have the support of some full-timers, including the following full-time faculty member who publicly stated: “I stand firmly in solidarity with our PT colleagues in supporting a NO vote on this TA.  One goes, we ALL go!!  That’s what I thought union was supposed to be about . . . .”  Yes, that is what unions are supposed to be about: helping the all, especially those who suffer the most. Solidarity, after all.

How many times during this campaign did you hear full-time faculty say, “We support part-time faculty, but . . . .” What that means is “We’re saying that we support you, but we really don’t. At least we don’t until I get my money.” If these faculty truly supported the part-time move to parity, why weren’t they there fighting for it before negotiations were finished, before it came to a vote and faculty didn’t want to lose what was before them? Why? Because it didn’t matter.  Part-timers should not forget that.

If, however, full-time faculty do mean what they said, then they should be ready to do whatever is necessary—whatever is necessary–come October to bring part-timers a step closer to parity.

Historically, women have needed men to help them move up the rung toward equality. People of color have also often needed whites to move forward. LGBTQ individuals have needed their straight allies. Oppressed groups have always needed the help of those in positions of power. So, too, do our part-time faculty need the support of full-timers in their fight. I hope more join in.

So, We’re What’s Left offers you, part-time colleagues, our congratulations. Losing this vote? Meh. It’s only one brick in the wall. If you or any full-timers wish to be part of the exciting movement ahead, please contact us.

UPDATE: WE JUST HEARD FROM A PART-TIME FACULTY MEMBER WHO THANKED ME FOR THIS RESPONSE AND SAID, UNHAPPILY, THAT S/HE WAS PROBABLY ONE OF THE 20 WITHOUT A SIGNATURE ON THE OUTER ENVELOPE .  S/HE MISSED THE INSTRUCTION ABOUT THE LARGE ENVELOPE.

This faculty member is not alone.  Many, many faculty have missed one or more of the instructions over the years.  This needs to be changed. We have the technology.  Use it. The above instructor is not one we want to be left out of the electoral process.

We promised to print some sources to show that the current college president has, more than once, spoken directly to bargaining unit members, circumventing the union and hoping to influence the faculty to vote “YES” on the ratification of the 2016 contract.

CCFT should have come down hard on this and filed an Unfair Practice Charge against the district for violating the statute.  It’s probably wise to talk to the district the first time it happens; after that, formal action would be warranted.

While it is permissible for management to give faculty negotiations information, it is not permissible for the manager to attempt to influence a collective bargaining agreement, which is what Stork intended to do. Read those emails again yourself.

This is not the first time this kind of issue has occurred.  Abut 12 years ago, then Academic Senate President, Peter Dill, talked directly to then college president, Marie Rosenwasser, telling her that the faculty would take less of a raise that year than the union was bargaining for!  Because this issue is within the scope of bargaining, Rosenwasser should have sent Dill away without discussing the matter. This was a flagrant violation of the direct dealing statute.  Dill was formally censured by the Senate and required to make a public apology. It did not happen again.

Union rights must be preserved.

1.)  AFA Alaska:

“The point here is that you may not intend to give ideas to management by engaging them in conversations regarding negotiations, but it could easily happen. This makes the Negotiating Committee’s job that much harder because management needs to be listening only to us as your legally-sanctioned bargaining representatives. You absolutely must trust in the process and in your Negotiating Committee! Remember that you will have to opportunity to wield your vote to ratify or reject the tentative agreement, but that in the meantime we need you to support the Negotiating Committee by living the phrase: “My Negotiating Committee speaks for me!” http://afaalaska.org/negotiations/negotiations-update-may-14-2013-management-communications-and-direct-dealing

What if a faculty member wished to respond to Gil about what he was saying in his email? That could easily happen and perhaps did.  The line could be crossed.  The statute is in place to protect that from happening.

2.) Union attorney from labor law firm Miller Cohen:

Direct Dealing–

“An employer is permitted to communicate with the employees about negotiations. The sharing of information without coercion and attacks on the bargaining committee are permissible. The issue is: Is the employer dealing with the union through the employees or with the employees through the union? There is illegal direct dealing when this conduct undermines the duty to bargain directly with the union. 18 MPER P 22 (Jackson County)”http://www.millercohen.com/Articles/The-Law-of-Collective-Bargaining-in-Context.shtml

3.)  Postdoctoral Researchers v Regents of University of California PERB Charge

Attached is the link to the PERB charge filed by the employees.  Page 16 gives an accurate description of what direct dealing is and what it isn’t.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:xUk0pslkSUwJ:uaw5810.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Unfair_Practice_Charge_20100609.pdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

The Misery of Adjunct Professors Keeps Higher Education Boominght0ycwrk1f8xcybpabss

Being an adjunct professor at a college may be the job with the single biggest discrepancy between the (high) education level required to hold it and the (astoundingly low) level of pay. How long until this system blows up?

Higher education, which has been a great growth industry in America, essentially operates with a two-tier labor system: full-time and tenured professors have relatively well-paid and stable jobs, and a much larger mass of adjunct professors have no job stability, few benefits, and awful pay. Adjunct pay varies, but the figure generally used as average is $2,700 per class, giving even many hardworking adjunct professors annual pay of around $20,000 per year. It is the low-wage labor of adjuncts that keeps the whole system humming. Ironically, they are also living counterexamples of the idea that higher education is a good financial investment.

Unsurprisingly, adjuncts—a group that is by definition well-educated—are not happy with the current system. Walkouts, tales of impoverished teachers, and efforts to unionize have become de rigeur, but adjuncts, like many low-wage workers, find it hard in most cases to gain real bargaining power (unless the full time and tenured faculty commit to stand with them). It doesn’t help that universities and their surrogates often strongly oppose adjunct organizing campaigns, claiming that raising the pay of adjuncts would cause the entire delicate and exploitative balance of the college industry to collapse.

That’s hardly a persuasive argument to someone who spent a decade getting a PhD and now makes $20,000 a year. While retail and service industry workers could probably use the help of unions more than anyone else in America, adjunct professors are not too far behind—and at a time when hourly wages are finally rising to $15 in some cities, it is now completely possible for an adjunct professor to make significantly less than, say, a Walmart worker, even as the requirements to land the job are much more onerous.

So, some adjuncts unionize. Others quit in protest. And many more just grit their teeth and do the work, because they have student loans to pay off. In America’s shiny, leafy, perfect campuses, adjuncts are the lone child locked in darkness whose misery keeps the rest of Omelas blissful. (I read that story in college!)

What is the reality of life as an adjunct professor? I’d like to run some stories from adjuncts. Please email me if you’d like to share the following info: How much money do you make? How much do you work? How does your school treat adjuncts? What is your quality of life? And what do you think should be done to change the labor system of colleges and universities, if anything?

Email me. Anonymity guaranteed.

http://gawker.com/the-misery-of-adjunct-professors-keeps-higher-education-1772267323

Seemed Fitting

Posted: April 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

I heard this again tonight, watching an old episode of Criminal Minds.  Seemed fitting, what with the current micro and macro political climate.:)quote-the-most-heroic-word-in-all-languages-is-revolution-eugene-v-debs-48676-1

Intrigue

Posted: March 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

A faculty member just last week received the below anonymous piece of mailWe apologize for the poor quality.  If in fact the information is true, it is the union, not Steve, who should have revealed it.  At the very least, it gives the appearance of a conflict of interest. At most, it is a conflict of interest.  In either case, it lacks the transparency that faculty deserve.Screenshot 2016-03-30 23.42.43