Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Washington State Adjunct Faculty Jack Longmate"s Article "Goodwill of Free College Nulled If Part-Time Faculty Struggles" Is Published in The Seattle Times Wed. Dec. 27, 2017

Washington State Adjunct Faculty Jack Longmate challenges the Seattle mayor, the state government, and the faculty bargaining units to end discrimination against the majority of the state's community college faculty. Longmate provides a solution based on the British Columbia model, which promotes equality in pay and working conditions for faculty.

AFA opinion:
Longmate's description of faculty being run over by the state and faculty bargaining units is replicated all over America. Too often, the states and faculty bargaining units prevent equality. It's time for the states and bargaining units to stop excuses and start action now to end this travesty.

Washington State Adjunct Faculty Jack Longmate"s Article "Goodwill of Free College Nulled If Part-Time Faculty Struglles" Published in The Seattle Times Wed. Dec. 27, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Graduate Workers of Columbia: Union Efforts Held Back by Columbia University, May 2017

AFA Editorial: An Ivy League school, Columbia University is still promoting inequality by keeping its teaching and research assistants unprotected by union representation. Whether or not teacher unions are a help or hindrance to those they are designed for is not the question or issue here. The issue is that the teaching and research assistants have a right to determine their working conditions. Columbia University, whose picture is used as background for this website, needs to step up and treat all people fairly, and follow the law.
Editorial by AFA Staff

Here's a way to help, as written in a letter by Jared Odessky, an organizer of the Graduate Workers of Columbia.

"Hi all,

My name is Jared, Columbia College class of 2015, and I am an organizer with the Graduate Workers of Columbia, the union for teaching and research assistants at Columbia University.

Several months ago, you signed a petition urging Columbia University to drop its objections to our union election back in December after an overwhelming majority of graduate workers voted for union representation ( ). It has been 5 months since we voted for our union, and Columbia still refuses to recognize us as workers and meet us at the bargaining table.

In preparation for alumni reunion month in June, we are reaching out to our alumni petition signatories to see if we can list your name as supporters of our cause, so that Columbia sees we have support from a wide array of class years. We also have a new alumni-specific petition at telling the University that we will not donate until they recognize the democratic will of its TAs and RAs that we'd ask you to promote among colleagues from your class year.

If you'd like to be listed as a supporter from your class, please reply directly to me with your first and last name, school, and class year. Please feel free to forward this email to other supportive alums. Thanks for your continued support!


Jared Odessky"

Organizer, GWC-UAW

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Adjunct Discussion at Juneteenth event: Friday, June 17, 2016

Juneteenth event: Friday, June 17, 2016

From Jack Longmate, Olympic College, 1992 to present.
Yesterday, I gave a 15-minute talk about adjunct faculty at a Juneteenth event (celebrating of the end of slavery) and the dedication of a new park named for a local civil rights leader.  It was the final part of a event that included a League of Women Voters candidates forum for those running for the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who oversees K-12 education in Washington state.  While I spoke after the intermission, when most of the crowd left, l ended up connecting with several members of the audience; one of the SPI candidates remained.  The approximate text is below:
1.         In our state’s 34 community and technical colleges, faculty can be classified as either tenured or as non-tenured, who are called part-time or adjunct.  I’m going to be talking about the latter group of part-time or adjunct faculty. Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” which is why this subject is important for all. 
2.         Our community and technical college system, like our K-12 system, is funded by our state government.  The McCleary decision has indicted our state for failing to fulfill its paramount duty to fund K-12 public education—for which the state continues to pay a fine of $100,000 a day.  As roughly 10,000 K-12 students are enrolled in our colleges every year through the Running Start program, the state may also be negligent of fulfilling its paramount duty to 34 colleges, especially when the treatment of its adjunct faculty is considered. 
 3.         Adjunct instructors have a primary role, not a secondary role, in our colleges:  not only do the 7,000 (7,315) adjuncts significantly outnumber the 3,000 (3,744) full-time, tenured faculty, adjuncts collectively teach about half of all classes, and as such, are undeniably integral to our system. 

 4.         Even though adjunct faculty must meet the same basic qualification requirements as full-time faculty, even though the tuition charged for their courses is the same, and even thought the grades and credits awarded have the same value, adjuncts faculty are certainly not treated equally; their working conditions are emphatically substandard.  Many call their treatment exploitation. 

 5.         Most workers, once they complete a probationary period, are considered permanent.  But adjuncts remain probationary, temporary employees indefinitely.  Whereas a tenured faculty can be laid off only after the state has declared a financial emergency, adjuncts are laid off at the end of every quarter.  Most adjuncts don’t receive a living wage, which is attributable to two factors: a significantly discounted wage scale—here’s a button that protests the 50% wage discrimination on our campuses—and they face a workload cap, limiting them to less than full-time even when there’s full-time work available.   I have taught nearly 25 years at OC, and for teaching 66 percent of a full time teaching load, my gross wages are less than $20,000 gross annually.  If this were a household’s only source of income, it would qualify for public assistance. 
6.         The practice of hiring of adjunct or part-time faculty began innocently enough.  During the 1970’s, enrollment from babyboomers swelled, and colleges faced a shortage of instructors, so colleges began to hire local professionals to teach a given course here and there.  Since their responsibilities were assumed limited to just teaching, colleges felt justified paying them at a discounted secondary pay rate, thereby giving birth to the two-tiered faculty workforce.  In a give-an-inch-and-take-a-mile fashion, colleges administrators embraced the practice of hiring adjuncts, not only for the significantly cheaper labor costs but for the flexibility or the expendability that adjuncts offered: if a tenured instructor’s class doesn’t fill, the college is contractually obligated to pay the instructor, but if an adjunct class doesn’t fill, he or she can be laid off without incident.  Thus, hiring adjuncts is seen by some as good business, which might be fine if we were talking about something like umbrellas that are used when needed but then put away when not.  But adjunct faculty members are people, with lives and families, and our state should be helping them, not treated them callously or with indifference.
7.         That this unfairness exists might seem bewildering, especially as adjunct faculty, in this state, are represented by a union—it’s been called higher education’s “dirty little secret.”  Isn’t a union bound but its Duty of Fair Representation to fight for equal working conditions for all its members?  Alas, a number of factors erode the community of interests that a faculty union should be and work against improvements.
8.         In a two-tiered workplace where full-time workers are paid a higher pay rate than part-timers, one might imagine that full-timers would naturally urge that part-timers be paid at the same rate to avoid having their jobs undermined by cheaper part-timer workers.  But in the case of tenured faculty, there’s no such fear since tenured faculty are contractually guaranteed a full-time load.  

9.         Not only are tenured faculty guaranteed a full-time teaching load, they are also allowed to voluntarily teach courses in addition to their full-time assignments, that is, overtime for extra money, and when they do, they often displace adjunct faculty from those courses.  This practice, which amounts to a conflict of interest, helps to explain why there has been such little progress over the last few decades at granting meaningful job security to adjuncts.  If adjunct jobs were truly protected, it would interfere with the ability of full-time faculty to teach overtime at will. 

10.       Whenever a social system has established itself and people become used to functioning in it, that social system begins to take on a life of its own and comes to be seen as the natural and normal state of affairs.  Just as no one is surprised when water runs down hill, no one is surprised when tenured faculty receive higher pay, raises that recognize teaching longevity, funds for professional development, sabbaticals, or early retirement options while adjuncts are offered none of these benefits.  That is, most people, including many adjuncts, have been lulled into accepting what Andrew Brooks terms “the most prevalent myth” about higher education (from a 2014 University Affairs article (  

that the current situation with respect to part-time and contract faculty is basically OK and nothing much needs to be done about it. It is not OK. Of two people with qualifications and experience of the same kind, if one has tenure and the other works on per-course contracts, the first is paid four times as much as the second (or more) and has job security for life. The other, in addition to awful pay, has no job security and usually no benefits (including no pension plan).
11.       Olympic College certainly demonstrated its acceptance of this myth that “nothing much needs to be done” about adjunct faculty.
            a.         It recently completed a multi-year effort at developing a strategic plan.  That plan did not involve reform for the working conditions of adjuncts.
            b.         Olympic College now has an office of Equity and Inclusion, but it’s not at all about equality for its adjunct instructors. 
            c.          During the Olympic College faculty retreat in April (on April 8), I happened to be at the same dinner table as the presenter, who was curious about the college’s support for professional development activities for adjuncts.  I criticized the college, explaining that while adjunct got a stipend for taking part in the retreat, we did not accrue credits towards a salary increase like tenured faculty do.  Also at the table was a tenured faculty member, who is a former faculty union president and who also served on the state’s 2005 Part-Time Faculty Employment Best Practices Task Force commissioned by the legislature, so his perspective represents a mainstream attitude.  He countered my criticism of the college’s treatment of adjuncts, characterizing part-time instruction as a “great part-time job.”
12.       If this is the predominant mindset of union leaders, of college administrations, of policy makers like legislators or trustees, that adjuncts are mere part-timers or maybe paraprofessionals as opposed to full-blooded professionals who happen to teach part-time, there is very little chance of improvements to the substandard working conditions, much less equality.
13.       But just as our state is paying the price for neglecting to properly fund K-12 education, we may have a fiscal if not a moral price to pay if we continue to deny equal treatment to our state’s adjuncts.
14.       The United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights is often used to identify human rights abuses.  Article 23, item (1) reads:
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Adjuncts are laid off at the end of every quarter and therefore are offered no protection from unemployment.  
Of course, nothing stops adjuncts from holding another job to augment the income, but the state doesn’t withhold full-time employment from other classes professionals that it hires to perform essential services, like engineers or K-12 teachers or ferry boat captains, expecting them to find other means to earn a livable wage while working part-time for the state
Article 23 item (2) reads:
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
Adjuncts certainly do not receive equal pay for equal work.  Statewide adjuncts are paid 62 cents on the dollar.  
Some may argue that adjuncts do not deserve equal pay because they don’t do equal work, including the full range of services that tenured faculty are supposed to do, like holding office hours and committee work.  The reality is that many adjuncts now do far more than they are contracted to do but are not compensated for those duties; most would be delighted to do more, like holding office hours to work with students.

Article 23 item (3) reads:
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity…
When adjuncts are provided a discounted secondary pay scale and face a workload limit that prevents them from working full-time, they are deprived of “just and favourable remuneration.”
15.       The state should have learned its lesson 15 years ago.  A class action lawsuit, Mader v. State, found that every single college in the state was underreporting adjunct hours, which deprived several thousand adjuncts of health care and retirement benefits.  The lawsuits were settled in 2002 and 2003 at a cost of $25 million, and now, thanks to those class action lawsuits and subsequent legislation, all adjuncts who work at 50 percent of a full-time load are eligible for those benefits. 

But we shouldn’t have to learn our lessons the hard way.  We should do right because it’s the right thing to do. 
16.       I’d like to conclude by quoting fellow activist and the namesake of Bremerton’s newest park, Lillian Walker from the wonderful document posted at the Washington State Secretary of State's Legacy Washington website,
If you've got something to complain about, well, work at it and make it better.  And, treat everybody right. I don't care who or what they are, treat them right. You don't have the authority to mistreat anybody, because that's why we are here - to help each other. If you can help somebody, help them.
Thank you.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Community Colleges of Spokane Allow Sexist Instructor to make $98,000 a year in Criminal Justice Program at Spokane Community College April 8, 2016

SCC student alleges race and gender discrimination in complaint against Criminal Justice instructor

Posted: Apr 07, 2016 12:33 PM PDT Updated: Apr 07, 2016 2:20 PM PDT

Community Colleges of Spokane Allow Sexist Instructor to make $98,000 a year in Criminal Justice Program at Spokane Community College April 8, 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016

BAD BILL SHB 2615 in Washington State Legislature gets support from WFT and AFT, to Leave 7,000 Faculty in Poverty

News from the Adjunct Trenches:
In Washington State, adjunct faculty are battling a bad bill, one that promises 600 new full-time jobs, without any guarantee that adjunct faculty will get these jobs. The state unions/associations support this bad bill, which only cements the feudal/futile system presently in place. It will open up a hiring fest, and leave the hard-working adjunct faculty out in the cold.
The video of hearing for SHB 2615 is viewable at <>.
"One thing that emerges in crystal clear fashion from the  hearing is that, even though the unsatisfactory working conditions of part-time faculty were mentioned often, there is no consideration to improve the situation of current part-time faculty.  To a proponent of the Vancouver Model, where all faculty are treated equally, it would seem like there’s a blind spot in the minds of my legislators and fellow faculty that prevent them from entertaining the thought of improving the working conditions of adjuncts.
Of note are the comments by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Pollet, which begin at the [32:40:00].  Rep. Pollet claimed that his bill addresses the “part-time” issue and implied that it was a natural extension of the 2005 Best Employment Practices of Part-time Faculty ( <>).  He related his own experience as a part-time instructor at the University of Washington, confessing that for part-time instructors, when classes are finished, part-timers tend to take off, oftentimes to teach elsewhere, and in so doing, depriving students the chance to be mentored or advised.  In response to a question from Senator Bailey, the committee chair, he explained that he’d spoken to several college presidents and administrators about his bill, some of whom remarked that their institutions don’t even have space where a part-time instructor could meet with a student.
Carla Nacarrato-Sinclair [1:50:45] chair of the Washington Education Association Higher Ed council, explained that she’s worked on the part-time issue since the 1990’s, said that the legislature had focused on pay until 2007, but implied that it may have been a mistake, saying "We just need to get back to that to address the faculty mix increasing the members to full-time from part-time.”  

President of AFT Washington, Karen Strickland did not pretend that the bill would benefit part-time faculty, but assured the Senate Higher Ed committee that “There’s no way that we want to get rid of all part-time positions.  We do need a little bit of flexibility and the expertise that part-time faculty can bring.

For me, the testimony of Anna Mary Fitzgerald [1:53:25], a faculty member from South Puget Sound College, was more disappointing than Carla’s or Karen’s.  Anna Mary relates how impoverished adjunct faculty can be in our state, saying, "We have phenomenally well qualified, well education faculty that are receiving food stamps, subsidized housing, free and reduce meals, rent support, because they are below the poverty level, at 150 to 200 percent below the poverty level.  This is an opportunity to move of some of those positions into a place of stability that we, again, are promoting to our students through education.  We would like to see that happen for our faculty.”  But even if some of the impoverished adjuncts are hired into tenured positions, the bill leaves the situation of over 7,000 part-timers just as impoverished as before, and actually makes their professional lives worse—more full-time positions means fewer part-time jobs, especially if the new full-timers are inclined to teach course overloads.  As such, to be outraged by the exploitation of adjuncts but still support this bill brings to mind what Martin Luther King said about the white moderate as being more of an obstacle to progress than a KKK member.

Jack Longmate

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Washington State Part-Time Faculty Association Opposes HB 2615 as Harmful to Adjunct Professors Feb. 2, 2016

UPDATE: Feb. 20, 2016
[Washington State] Sen. Barbara Bailey has decided to hold a hearing on SHB 2615 this Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in Olympia.  This is not a good sign.

Washington State
Legislature’s Democrats ignore adjunct faculty crisis [SHB 2615 Discriminates against and Overlooks Adjunct Faculty]
Feb. 15, 2016

UPDATE Feb. 20, 2016 OP-ED by Dr. Keith Hoeller and Jack Longmate

"Rep. Gerry Pollet’s (D-Seattle) union-sponsored SHB 2615 seeks to add 600 full-time faculty positions to the colleges. It gives the false impression that these jobs will go to adjunct faculty when it fact it will cost many of them their jobs. In the past, the colleges have created new full-time jobs by taking courses away from current part-timers, as the original bill made clear."

Read more here:


UPDATE Feb. 13, 2016 from the Washington State Legislative Page

HB 2615 - 2015-16

   (What is this?)   Comment on this bill   (What is this?)

Improving student success at community and technical colleges by considering benefits of full-time faculty and staff.   

Go to documents...
Go to videos...

History of the Bill

as of Saturday, February 13, 2016 3:09 PM
 Sponsors:Representatives Pollet, Haler, Moscoso, Appleton, Fitzgibbon, Gregerson, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Lytton, Riccelli, Ryu, Reykdal, Cody, Tarleton, Frame, Van De Wege, Stanford, Goodman
  Jan 15 First reading, referred to Higher Education (Not Officially read and referred until adoption of Introduction report). (View Original Bill)
  Jan 26 Public hearing in the House Committee on Higher Education at 8:00 AM. (Committee Materials)
  Feb 3 Executive action taken in the House Committee on Higher Education at 1:30 PM. (Committee Materials)
   HE - Majority; 1st substitute bill be substituted, do pass. (View 1st Substitute) (Majority Report)
   Minority; do not pass. (Minority Report)
  Feb 5 Referred to Appropriations.
  Feb 9 Public hearing and executive action taken in the House Committee on Appropriations at 10:00 AM. (Committee Materials)
   APP - Majority; do pass HE 16 bill proposed by Higher Education. (Majority Report)
   Minority; do not pass. (Minority Report)
   Referred to Rules 2 Review.
  Feb 11 Placed on second reading by Rules Committee.
  Feb 12 1st substitute bill substituted (HE 16). (View 1st Substitute)
   Rules suspended. Placed on Third Reading.
   Third reading, passed; yeas, 50; nays, 46; absent, 0; excused, 1. (View Roll Calls)

Original Article:


Call, Write, Email Washington State Legislators to give your opinion about a bill that would push aside adjunct faculty for full-time positions. Dedicated professors, who have taught for years at our community colleges would be replaced with higher paid tenure track professors. It seems that the legislators need to read George Orwell's distopia Animal Farm, where the hard-working horse is worked to death, and then sent out for glue by the pigs. It seems that our legislators are doing the same.

  Jan 15 First reading, referred to Higher Education (Not Officially read and referred until adoption of Introduction report). (View Original Bill)
  Jan 26 Public hearing in the House Committee on Higher Education at 8:00 AM. (Committee Materials)
  Jan 29 Executive session scheduled, but no action was taken in the House Committee on Higher Education at 10:00 AM. (Committee Materials)
  Feb 3 Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Higher Education at 1:30 PM. (Subject to change) (Committee Materials)
  Feb 5 Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Higher Education at 8:00 AM. (Subject to change) (Committee Materials)

Sponsors:Representatives Pollet, Haler, Moscoso, Appleton, Fitzgibbon, Gregerson, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Lytton, Riccelli, Ryu, Reykdal, Cody, Tarleton, Frame, Van De Wege, Stanford, Goodman

Related Article
I Teach University Physics, But I’m on Government Assistance

by Andrew Robinson
Recently, I had a perfectly reasonable request from a student who wanted to review an exam from last term. I was unable to comply with this request because to do so would be to give my employer more of my time for free. As a dedicated teacher, I am extremely sad about this, because I would like to give my students the very best learning experience that I possibly can.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Adjunct Faculty Dr. Keith Hoeller Files Unfair Labor Practice Complaint against Green River College and Faculty Union (AFT/NEA). Nov. 2015

Seattle Professor Calls Foul on Supervisors in the Union.

"Last week, adjunct faculty activist Keith Hoeller...filed an unfair labor complaint with the Washington State Public Employee Relations Commission against his college employer, as well as  United Faculty Coalition, the NEA faculty union affiliate ... In his complaints, Hoeller cites “anti-union animus” and “interference” in the union."
See: "Second Class Citizen No More: Adjunct Files Unfair Labor Practice Complaint Against His Own Union"

As noted by Dr. Hoeller:
"Pat Lesko of Adjunct Nation is the first to publish a story about my Unfair Labor Practice Complaints which I filed last week against Green River College and the faculty union (AFT/NEA).
The article describes the circumstances that led to the complaint.  Such complaints are rare, but certainly warranted in this situation.  I am expecting more press coverage." 

"I may well be the first in the country to have filed an unfair labor practice dealing with mixed units of tenure-track and contingent faculty.  I have called this practice interference in the union.  Indeed, it is illegal at private colleges and in many states.  Since the tenure-track faculty function as supervisors of the adjunct professors, they do not belong together in the same union." 

Dr. Hoeller filed the complaint on Wednesday, October 28, 2015.

Here is another copy of the text with some of the comments:

Monday, November 2nd, 2015 | Posted by admin

Second Class Citizen No More: Adjunct Files Unfair Labor Practice Complaint Against His Own Union

by P.D. Lesko
 (Many thanks to P.D. Lesko and her permission to republish this article on the AFA website.)

Last week, adjunct faculty activist Keith Hoeller, co-founder of the Washington Part-Time Faculty Association and the Editor of Equality for Contingent Faculty: Overcoming the Two-Tier System (Vanderbilk Press, 2014), filed an unfair labor complaint with the Washington State Public Employee Relations Commission against his college employer, as well as  United Faculty Coalition, the NEA faculty union affiliate which has represented Hoeller over the many years he has taught part-time at Green River Community College. In his complaints, Hoeller cites “anti-union animus” and “interference” in the union. Green River Community College is located in Auburn, Washington, just outside of Seattle

Washington State adjunct activist Keith Hoeller has filed an unfair labor complaint against his college employer and his union affiliate, as well.

Keith Hoeller explained: “The anti-union animus complaint documents the retaliation I have faced as a result of engaging in union-protected activities such as organizing adjuncts, publicizing working conditions, filing grievances, and seeking information from my union. The interference claim may well be the first of its kind in the nation.  I claim that the college and the union have interfered with union rights by putting tenure-track faculty, who function as supervisors, into the same union.”

Long-time adjunct activist Keith Holler is not the first adjunct to face hostility from tenured faculty and union leaders in Washington state.
“Doug Collins of the Seattle Colleges and Jack Longmate of Olympic College were removed from their elected union positions after testifying against
bills they believed were harmful to adjuncts.  And Teresa Knudsen lost her job at Spokane Community College soon after she published an op-ed (“Colleges Exploiting Part-Time Professors”) in the Spokane daily newspaper,” said Hoeller.

The two complaints document how adjuncts are treated at colleges where unions are run by and for the tenured faculty, and what happens when adjuncts protest their mistreatment and try to change it.

In 2013, Kathryn Re and Keith Hoeller filed multiple grievances and asked the state affiliate led by former AFT VP of Higher Education Sandra Schroeder to intervene after the former United Faculty Coalition president Phil Jack was discovered to have embezzled thousands of dollars of union funds. Jack was never charged with a crime, and police reports released to in response to Freedom of Information Act requests showed that United Faculty Coalition officials did not cooperate with police investigators.

In January of 2015, Greenriver Community College President Eileen Ely, in response to falling enrollment and a looming $5.7 million budget deficit, recommended closing three programs at the college. Mark Millbauer, president of the faculty union, runs the auto-body-repair program; Glen Martin, the college’s carpentry instructor, is one of the union’s contract negotiators. Both would lose their jobs if the programs were to close. Both Millbauer and Martin served on the Board of the United Faculty Coalition when the embezzlement by Phil Jack was discovered.

On January 28, 2013 Kathryn Re, a member of the Green River Community College United Faculty Coalition sent a 10-page letter to the President of the National Education Association, Dennis Van Roekel. In her letter, Re—a mathematician— lays out a meticulously detailed and documented indictment of her union’s Executive Committee’s failure to adhere to the group’s bylaws, and asks Van Roekel to assume “immediate trusteeship” of her Washington State local. Re writes, “We are writing this formal complaint to request your urgent assistance because the union rights of NEA members are being systematically violated by the United Faculty Coalition (UF) of Green River Community College (GRCC) and the Washington Education Association (WEA), both NEA affiliates.  We believe that immediate harm will befall NEA members should you fail to act quickly to correct the systematic corruption that is now taking place at Green River Community College.”

Re’s letter included accusations of financial corruption and cover up, improper elections, conflicts of interest, denial of representation, failure to represent, discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Many of the explosive allegations, unbeknownst to Re, were corroborated by hundreds of emails sent between and among the GRCC union’s Executive Committee members between March and July 2012. The emails were turned over to AdjunctNation in response to a July 2012 Freedom of Information Act request.

The embezzlement scandal, its cover-up and alleged retaliation against Re and Hoeller for demanding accountability, is just one of many precursors to last week’s unfair labor complaint, according to Keith Hoeller.

“While I have long been active on the state and national level, I had long avoided involvement with local college and union matters because of the grave risk to adjuncts without any job security,” explained Hoeller. “But in November, 2011 our union president insulted adjunct faculty in a speech to the Green River Board of Trustees.  The Green River Adjunct Faculty Association was promptly formed and faced immediate retaliation when we criticized the union.  Three of our more vocal members lost their jobs after only one quarter of teaching, though the union contract makes clear they are entitled to two quarters of review.  The two Division Chairs who let them go were members of the unions executive board, one was the Chair of the union’s grievance committee. As the perceived ringleader, I have been under constant retaliation for over three years.  The two complaints document these reprisals.”

Keith Hoeller has filed nearly twenty grievances, perhaps a record for any college professor.  Nearly all have been denied by the college and gone unsupported by the union, which has refused to take any of them to arbitration.  For standing up for adjuncts at Green River, the union has treated me like a pariah despite the many things I have done to benefit adjuncts and [show] how adjuncts are actually treated in our nation’s two-track system.”

AdjunctNation contacted United Faculty Coalition officials at Greenriver Community College for a comment concerning the unfair labor practices complaint filed against the union by one of its own members.


Paul Haeder
November 4, 2015 - 6:44 pm

Hey, Keith:

Well, well, I am one of those one-quarter wonders silenced by the minority, chided by the full-timers and plenty of part-timers. This academia – I’ve been organizing campuses as an adjunct since 1983, ending with my 2012 one-quarter madness at Clark College – is a viper pit, and you don’t have to read Chris Hedges or listen to Black Agenda Report or skim through Counterpunch to realize that inherently, higher education is not “higher” and that the system is predicated on a smoke and mirrors con game.

So, what have we got? ADMIN Class and Highly Paid Support Staff and bastardized education run amok. Realize that speaking out and activism in academia is the kiss of death, when one considers the reactionary, neoliberal and punishment-recombination-retribution society we have created, largely through the work of corporatists, careerists and educators. That patchwork of jobs, those one-quarter appointments, well, don’t they catch up to us, wouldn’t you know.

So the hire-fire queen at GRCC has zero idea of the length of that decision to sack me, nor does she embody a universalist view that all people are of value.

My crime was firing up students, teaching outside the box, and fighting the lobotomized values of the teacher and administrative class at GRCC. Alas, though, this education scam is infected throughout the land, and as more adjuncts buy into on-line crap, buy into what it is they are teaching having value, well, then the disaster of Capitalism and Consumer-Retail Culture that is the USA has come to roost.

I’ve even worked organizing adjuncts in WA state for SEIU, and yet, another top-heavy and unprincipled outfit, exacting $50 or $100 a month dues from personal care workers and adjuncts. This is a self-defeating game, higher education, under the constraints of limited thinking and devaluing radicals and true liberators of words.

Nary a person thanked me for all my extra time at GRCC, and the boot out the door was a violent one, as the structural violence of this haphazard society belies.

For now, though, seeing this continuing criminal enterprise that is higher education implode, well, not much satisfaction from that since we are already full speed ahead in this dumb-downed society.

No holds barred, and everyone is subject to my polemics, if you dare read the book in 2016 –
Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber,
Paul Haeder, Portland

Ellen Hahn
November 4, 2015 - 5:49 pm

Good for you and all adjuncts, Keith. I am proud of you for speaking out in an attempt to garner support from NEA since systematically following union protocol has been a total waste of your time and effort. The very colleges that depend on adjunct teaching refused to grant arbitration for any of your grievances. This indicates there is an abyssmal breakdown in the college system and rights of adjunct employees. Thanks you for never giving up and being a strong voice for adjunct professors.

I have first hand knowledge of the inequitable two-tier system of full-time vs. adjunct professors. I hope you get some action with this. Best of luck, Ellen Hahn, former Adjunct Professor in WA

Jack Longmate
November 3, 2015 - 11:23 pm

Very nice job of summarize some of the treatment that Keith Hoeller has received by both his administration and his union at Green River College, formerly Green River Community College. Thank you for mentioning me as another example of a Washington state adjunct who dared to oppose a union dominated by tenured faculty and who was then retaliated against, as Keith Hoeller has been.

In my case, I served terms as vice president and secretary of the NEA-affiliated local at Olympic College. I was respected and commended for my service–one of the presidents whom I served onc
e said that I was our union’s most dedicated union member. But the positive sentiment changed as soon as I testified against a bill that was designed to provide incremental pay step raises for tenured faculty but not non-tenured faculty. There were requests that I resign my officer position, calls for a vote of no confidence, which culminated in being censured by a show-of-hands vote which, as I explained later in a complaint, gave a far stronger feeling of a witch hunt than due process. Neither the leadership of my local, the leadership of the Washington NEA affiliate, nor the NEA president himself at the time cared that this action was quite in violation of the procedure established in the NEA by-laws. Last year, I heard that the NEA lost over 300,000 members, but for me, knowing what I know about the NEA’s character, I don’t lament that loss very much.

If there is anyone a union should be fighting to protect, it is courageous individuals like Keith Hoeller, who been recognized as a national leader for non-tenured faculty for two decades. Instead, his union is his chief adversary.

In exchange for serving as the exclusive collective bargaining agent, a union must execute its duty of fair representation. A union cannot pick and choose who it wishes to support. A real union certainly cannot engage in bullying members or any of those it represents.

One thing a union offers is a social atmosphere, where one can associate with fellow faculty. But a real union is more than a social club. If the NEA were to transform itself into a real union that takes its own bylaws seriously, including the responsibilities it has in oversight of its locals, who provide its wherewithal to operate, there would be stronger reasons for for non-tenured educators to consider joining it.

Jack Longmate
Adjunct English Instructor
Olympic College, Bremerton, WA