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Well, at least there is some clarity on how this all started:


After refusing to answer almost all substantive questions I asked, we are at least able to understand how this started. Notice, by the way, the same conclusion to this student e-mail as the other one. So, they insert themselves into a situation that will cause harm to people. They can’t answer questions about it. Then they refuse to appreciate what they have done. “Dear Sir, we have broken your bedroom window, we stand in solidarity with other people who own windows, and no, you may not get a satisfactory answer for why we have done it.”

If anyone is bored enough to dig through all of the U of R webpages and pull out info on the contingent faculty, have at it. I will remind you to look at the yellow highlights above. We have no idea if they talked to 5 contingent faculty, 10, 20? And what does “most” mean? Finally, notice the ignorance at the end – as if the students think that once a union is here, that workers have free choice about whether to be a part of it. Surely they fully understand what it is that they are advocating for, correct? That was just a typo in an e-mail.

A reader sent me the following:


You know, one thing about this episode that has been revealing to me is that I am beginning to have an understanding for why Donald Trump is attracting so many votes, prior to this I was simply flummoxed.


10 Responses to “SEIU Update, “You Can Choose to Take the Castor Oil, It’s Good for You””

  1. Alex says:

    Am really curious to see how this all shakes out: If the Union happens; why adjunct faculty didn’t come together before hand and if most really do support it (since UR faculty are all so productive already ;)); will there be outrage from more than just you?; learning more about the motivation for having non-right-to-work States; and how the administration feel about all this.

    I’m surprised and somewhat disappointed that you didn’t push the idea that this would not work for everyone… To make them at least say “sacrifices need to be made”. And, most blatantly, that they won’t let you vote if you might/will vote no. I wish they would explain or apologize for that

    • wintercow20 says:

      Re: if I push the idea that this may not work great for everyone (I am a labor economist, maybe I have a tiny bit of insight on this …) then I am accused of union busting (they are accusing the UR for union busting for merely setting up an FAQ page on the Provost site) and being hostile. I kid you not. So, all I can do is ask questions, and post correspondence here. I should write up a post on the economics of all this.

      • Alex says:

        You’ve been accused of worse 🙂 Or at least anticipated being accused of worse (see all your uninvited posts). I get the hopelessness though

  2. sherlock says:

    Amazing that they ask you to leave them alone, when your “intrusion” is simply asking them questions via email (questions that are very important concerning your career and livelihood at that) . Yet you can’t ask them to leave you alone on the matters of them forcibly changing your career and working relationships. What a world we live in.

    • sherlock says:

      It’s like someone setting up camp on your front lawn, announcing that they are there, and then telling you to leave them alone when you ask them what they are doing.

      • Or like setting up camp on the quad at a public university, announcing that they’ve created a safe space, and then barring anyone from the media or anyone who doesn’t agree with them from asking what they’re doing.

      • wintercow20 says:

        Sherlock, you don’t understand – it is objectively NOT my front lawn. I only have that lawn due to my privilege and the oppression of others and it perpetuates the oppression of others today.

  3. Trapper_John says:

    I’m following this with much interest. I am a contingent faculty member at one of the Universities on the list for assimilation… er… solidarity. I am also quite happy with my arrangement, which I negotiated myself.

    Frankly, I think I’m the enemy they’re after. I have no PhD, but I have worked in industry for 20+ years, and I do this because I love it. In fact, if they offered me a fraction of what I’m paid (but maybe gave me enough TAs where I don’t have to grade anything!) I’d still do it. I think the students benefit by learning from my experience, but it does put some poor, starving PhD (who doesn’t know shit about venture capital or entrepreneurship except what they read in a book) out of a job.

    • wintercow20 says:

      While I certainly think “they” have contempt for you, it looks like the real movement is coming from areas where the number of PhDs awarded each year far outpace the number of positions ANYWHERE that could possibly be available, plus I also see that some folks are also not PhD holders either. We just got access to the following list:

      Michela Andreatta, Senior Lecturer in Hebrew, Religion and Classics
      Marla Broetz, Adjunct Instructor, American Sign Language Program
      Stephen J. Burger, M.A., Instructor, Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program
      Michael E. Clark, Lecturer, Department of Biology
      Abby ComstockGay, Lecturer in Turkish, Religion and Classics
      Justin Coyne PhD, Lecturer, Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program
      Edward Fiandach, Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
      Whitney Gegg-Harrison PhD, Lecturer, Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program
      Ting Huang, Senior Lecturer, Modern Languages & Cultures
      Dmitriy Kiselgof, Adjunct Instructor, American Sign Language Program
      Robert M. Kostin, Lecturer, Digital Media Studies
      Dr. Eric Limbach, Adjunct Instructor, Department of History
      Kalyani Madhu, Lecturer, Department of Mathematics
      Kristina Malett, Senior Lecturer of German, School of the Humanities
      Donald Metlay, PhD, Adjunct Instructor, American Sign Language Program
      Teresa Murano, Senior Lecturer of Italian, School of the Humanities
      Pamela Nickels, Instructor, American Sign Language Program
      Thomas Noel, Instructor, Warner School of Education
      Dustin Olson, Instructor, Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program
      Danielle Presgraves, Lecturer, Department of Biology
      Luisa-Maria Rojas-Rimachi, Senior Lecturer, Modern Languages & Cultures
      Andrew L. Thomas, Adjunct Instructor, Warner School of Education
      Guoming Tian, Lecturer in Chinese, Modern Languages & Cultures
      William Tiberio, Senior Associate Professor, Eastman Community Music School
      Jason Titus, Senior Lecturer, Music Department
      Dr. Matthew Witten, Director of Percussion Ensemble, Music Department

      In fact, it looks like many of these programs are simply ones where there is very low demand for them. I’d like to demonstrate on a unit by unit basis which departments are generating subsidies for other departments and which are net recipients.

      Yes, not only did I happily negotiate my own current contract, but I’ve been very willing and happy to help the UR whenever asked whether it comes to service events, advising, or even teaching replacement courses for them.

      Will keep you in the loop.

  4. ilfautetre says:

    A couple of years ago we had a similar organizing attempt. I *believe* that at some point our administration was required by NLRB to provide SEIU with contact info on adjuncts.

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