Saturday, June 30, 2018

Janus v AFSCME A Commentary, Dr. Keith Hoeller, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 29, 2018 in American Faculty Association Blog June 30, 2018

On the Waterfront (1954) Review |BasementRejects
On the Waterfront with Marlon Brando, a story of corrupt unions oppressing their workers.

Janus v. AFSCME, commentary selection from Dr. Keith Hoeller, published via Chronicle of Higher Education on June 29, 2018. For the complete commentary see

Why the Supreme Court Ruling on Unions Could Be Good for Adjuncts

June 29, 2018

"Missing from the debate have been important critiques of the union movement from the labor perspective. To regain their relevance, faculty unions at public colleges and universities will need to shed their historic approach of privileging tenure-track members over contingent faculty members, and instead embrace a new kind of organizing unit that finally deals with the needs of adjuncts and part-timers, who shoulder most of the teaching load in higher education."

"For contingent faculty members, the question about union representation has long been: Should they be coerced into paying their "fair share" when they do not receive their fair share at the bargaining table, where their numbers are not equitably represented and their voices not heeded? Under Janus, they will no longer be required to do so."

The National Labor Relations Board has made it clear that tenure-track faculty members at private colleges cannot be in the same bargaining unit as their non-tenure-track colleagues. But conflicts of interest abound in the two-tier system at public institutions, where the majority of adjuncts are represented in "mixed units" with their tenured colleagues."

AFA Editor Commentary: Adjuncts are "beat up" by Academic Unions and Associations.

While some might think that the comparison of adjunct faculty representation to On the Waterfront is harsh, many adjunct faculty who have tried to change the unions/associations' discrimination against adjuncts have come to feel just like Marlon Brando's character "Terry." After a few polite union/association rhetoric such as, "This will take a long time to fix," then the gloves come off, and adjunct activists suffer union/association officials who yell, threaten, intimidate, retaliate, ostracize, and work to fire the adjunct activists (or simply "non-renewal of temporary contracts").

Unions/associations have played important parts in labor movements, but lately in academia, these unions/associations are huge blocks, cementing pay and benefits for the few, and blocking the majority of professors from professional wages and working conditions. The adjuncts are thus metaphorically "beat up" by union/association officials.

There are many caring, concerned professors, whether classified as "full-time" or "adjunct." But they are over-ruled by bully officials. Thus, this Supreme Court ruling is just, and the unions/associations have no one to blame for this ruling but themselves, with good people in bad organizations.

American Faculty Association, Editor Commentary

Friday, June 1, 2018

Washington State University Athletics Budget Hole Grows to $85 Million, Soaks Up Fair Pay for State Adjunct Faculty June 1, 2018

Athletics are touted as bringing in revenue. But these facts show that poorly managed athletic programs, raised above academics, brings disaster. The athletics sink hole at WSU is gobbling up almost 100 million dollars. This money is going into somebody's pocket, and is bleeding state funds that should go to support the state's adjunct faculty.

SPOKANE, Wash. - Officials for Washington State University say the athletics budget will no longer be accruing annual deficits in five years, but it will take longer to pay off a budget hole estimated to grow to $85.1 million.
The school said Thursday that new Athletic Director Pat Chun and Chief Budget Officer Joan King will present the plan to the Board of Regents on Friday.
The athletics department will focus first on getting its budget balanced, then build up reserves and finally repay the accumulated deficit.
It relies on increasing revenue 27 percent while continuing to contain expenses. The debt is expected to reach $85.1 million by fiscal 2022. By 2023, the school says yearly athletic budgets would be balanced.
Much of the debt is connected to new facilities, while television revenues and donations were lower than expected.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Washington State University Athletics Department in the Hole for $67 Million; Meanwhile, Adjunct Faculty in Washington State Languish in Poor Pay and Working Conditions.

Washington State University Athletics Department in the Hole for $67 Million; Meanwhile, Adjunct Faculty in Washington State Languish in Poor Pay and Working Conditions, a Commentary by Teresa Knudsen

While the colleges and universities in the US, and Washington State, say they don't have the money to pay full professional pay and benefits to the hardworking adjunct faculty, there appears to be money to burn on athletics. Why has this much money been unaccounted for, and why and when did this athletic department lose so much taxpayer money? Maybe athletics should return to an adjunct for colleges and universities, and place the emphasis on providing real colleges and universities, to educate our fine citizens, and pay professional wages and benefits to the instructors and professors, not to games.


Washington State athletic department projects $67 million hole, will discuss plans to reduce debt at Board of Regents meeting

UPDATED: Fri., April 27, 2018, 8:46 p.m.

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