Archive for Higher Education

AFT Demands an End to Exploitation of Contingent Faculty

aftThe American Federation of Teachers (AFT), UUP’s national affiliate with 1.6 million members, issued a strong call for “ending the exploitation of contingent faculty.” At SUNY New Paltz, fully half of the teaching faculty are contingents, with over 200 part-time adjuncts and some 70 full-time lecturers.

In a series of resolutions passed at AFT’s convention, meeting July 11-14 in Los Angeles, AFT demanded pay equity for contingents, including compensation for class preparation time and office hours. Further demands include:

• Equitable access to employee benefits;

• Access to and compensation for opportunities for professional development;

• Meaningful job security, including job security comparable to tenure, long-term academic appointment contracts or certificates of continuing employment, which guarantee the presumption of rehiring;

• Opportunities for career advancement, including conversion opportunities to full-time, tenure-track positions;

• Enforceable standards for the timely notification of teaching appointments;

• Protections for academic freedom, regardless of tenure status; and

• Full inclusion in and compensation for participation in all institutional work, including service, research and governance.

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Statement by UUP President Fred Kowal on Harris v. Quinn ruling

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On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Harris v. Quinn, a long-awaited case that could have gutted unions by barring them from collecting agency fees from non-members.

The case was brought by a group of Illinois home-care workers who refused to pay their fair share of their union’s costs to represent them in collective bargaining agreements. The court ruled that the home-care workers should be considered as “partial public employees,” and not be forced to pay their fair share—known in New York as agency fee—even though they would still be represented by their union.

In essence, these home-care workers would be “free riders,” contrary to the Supreme Court’s landmark 1977 case Abood vs. Detroit Board of Education, which asserted labor’s constitutional right to collect dues and collectively bargain for public workers.

UUP’s ability to represent its 35,000 members isn’t impaired by the Harris ruling, which does not apply to “full-fledged” public employees such as SUNY academics and professionals, teachers, police officers and firemen who work in the public sector.

Strong anti-union forces bankrolled and supported the case. The National Right to Work Committee Legal Defense Fund represented the home-care workers. The Legal Defense Fund is linked with the billionaire Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Cato Institute, among other anti-union advocates.

Read entire article here.

Congratulations, class of 2014: You’re totally screwed

Salon

College costs more and more, even as it gets objectively worse. Only people worse off than indebted grads: adjuncts

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Welcome to the wide world, Class of 2014. You have by now noticed the tremendous consignment of debt that the authorities at your college have spent the last four years loading on your shoulders. It may interest you to know that the average student-loan borrower among you is now $33,000 in debt, the largest of any graduating class ever. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, carrying that kind of debt will have certain predictable effects. It will impede your ability to accumulate wealth, for example. You will also borrow more for other things than people without debt, and naturally you will find your debt level growing, not shrinking, as the years pass.

As you probably know, neither your parents nor your grandparents were required to take on this kind of burden in order to go to college. Neither are the people of your own generation in France and Germany and Argentina and Mexico.

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