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In my inbox today (I have no idea how it even got to me, by the way, as a grad student at Cornell, they UAW tried to unionize me):

Adjunct Action Logo
Hi Michael — 

“Being an adjunct can be an isolating experience.  Our schedules alone discourage interaction with one another.  However, stories I’ve heard from fellow contingent faculty since I became involved in the adjunct unionization efforts– little job security, lack of benefits, the struggle to get by on sometimes astonishingly low wages — has led to a growing awareness of our shared contingent status. Coming together with fellow adjunct faculty, I recognized a way forward to a better future through unity and collective action.”

That’s Rebecca Gibson, an adjunct instructor at Tufts University, who joined with her fellow contingent faculty members at Tufts University this past fall and formed a union with Adjunct Action, a project of Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Adjuncts in New York State experience the same set of issues as adjuncts in Boston and across the country; work doesn’t stop at the classroom door, but the pay and benefits often do. Adjunct and contingent faculty, who make up 70% of instructional faculty nationwide, spend many hours outside of the classroom preparing for courses, supporting and assessing student performance, and designing curriculums, yet are left without job security, adequate pay, and a voice within the higher educational system.

That’s why adjunct professors across New York State are coming together to form a union with SEIU. We believe that together we can build the strong voice we need to raise standards for our profession, strengthen our voice in the university system, and improve the quality of education for our students.

Click here to sign an authorization card indicating that you’re ready to fight for higher standards at your school. Once you’ve signed, an organizer will be in touch to let you know what the next steps of the campaign are. [adjunctaction.nationbuilder.com]

SEIU represents 18,000 adjunct professors across the country, a number that continues to grow. Adjuncts at American University, George Washington University and  Montgomery College have all seen significant improvement in their working conditions after forming a union with SEIU. And the movement is spreading. Georgetown University adjuncts voted in May to join SEIU. In Boston, adjuncts at Tufts University voted to form a union in September. Whittier College in Los Angeles voted to unite in SEIU in December. Union elections are underway or soon commencing at Lesley University in Boston, the University of La Verne and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

A New York Times article from December said “The SEIU strategy has the momentum right now” when it comes to adjunct organizing.

Join the movement. Sign an authorization card now and we’ll be in touch soon to discuss next steps.[adjunctaction.nationbuilder.com]


Best regards,

Chris Machanoff
SEIU Local 200United

Copyright © 2013 Adjunct Action
All rights reserved. 
1800 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
This email was sent to michael.rizzo@rochester.edu
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4 Responses to “I’m Soooooo Exploited”

  1. Harry says:

    Let’s collaborate to raise prices with Andy Stern.

    How ironic, teachers thinking of themselves simultaneously as professionals and labor. To which Marxist class do they belong?

    It is for a while a free country, and I tend to favor all voluntary free association among people, as long as they do not conspire to take other people’s property. I was once, reluctantly, a Teamster, but did not work by the hour, but on commission. I was a professional driver, not hourly labor.

    We all should have problems with the SEIU, which today wields massive influence with the federal government. That is not the same thing as the Teamsters organizing the garbage truck drivers.

    I was about to suggest that WC, being an expert economics teacher and an expert in labor economics, might raise this general question in class. I would fly up to attend.

    This winter is cold and snowy, not in the least unusual for Rochesterwegans. We wish WC a happy weekend without giving him another assignment.

  2. Greg says:

    Let’s be honest: you aren’t a typical adjunct. I and a generation of UR students are better off for it, but I think that exception proves the rule.

    Also, Harry, I don’t think University adjuncts are part of standard teacher professionalization.

  3. Greg says:

    I should add that I know nothing about your employment situation and could be totally wrong.

    • wintercow20 says:

      No, definitely NOT a typical adjunct. The email is funny because it is basically making my point about the knowledge problem across the world. I am sure some bot or maybe a research assistant was asked to pore through faculty webpages and if they don’t see a traditionally recognized title, it is put into the “adjunct” bucket.

      At the same time, and I have refrained from posting, one could make a serious case of my “exploitation” using extremely conservative estimates of enrollments, tuition revenues, and my cost to the university. Of course such measures would be absurd both because it would show I’m “exploited” to the tune of close to 7 figures per year, but also starkly contrasts my increasingly held view that I am a zmp, or at least low mp worker. Whether that makes me an outlier in the university system is another story entirely.

      Hope NYC is treating you well!

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