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 AdjunctNation.com 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


Friday, October 23, 2015

Campus Equity Week (October 26-30, 2015 ), Dr. Keith Hoeller's essay, "Isn't it Time for Campus EQUALITY Week?"

Just in time for Campus Equity Week (October 26-30), Counterpunch has published Dr. Keith Hoeller's essay, "Isn't it Time for Campus EQUALITY Week?"
"the Vancouver Community College Faculty Association in British Columbia long ago abolished the two-tiered system.  But U.S. union leaders act as though Canada were really Mars and resist considering the Vancouver Model a goal to be emulated and do not believe that equality is possible for U.S. higher education."

I also quote Rich Moser:  “As one of the original organizers of CEW back in 2001, I am more than proud of the continued activism by contingent faculty. But even the best of tactics needs to be rethought, refreshed and revised. It’s way past time for us to put full equality on the agenda. Campus Equality is what we need now. And, the grassroots organizing, rank and file protest and political leverage to back it up. As the civil rights movement taught us: we need ‘eyes on the prize, and feet on the ground.’”

Thursday, September 24, 2015

David Heller, an Adjunct Philosopher, Passed Away Summer 2015, as noted in Tribute by Dr. Keith Hoeller in Democracy Chronicles

"Democracy Chronicles" has just published Dr. Keith Hoeller's tribute to David Heller, an adjunct philosopher who died this past summer.  Like so many of us, David was a dedicated professor who lived in poverty.Seattle University, where he taught for many years, charges $37K a year in tuition.  It is a Catholic University run by the Jesuits.
You can find the article here:  https://democracychronicles.com/david-heller/

Friday, August 14, 2015

Richard Goldin Advises Adjuncts to "Dismantle the Entire Professiorial Apparatus of Privilege" in Counterpunch August 12, 2015

"Progressives and the Economic Inequality in Academia," by Richard Goldin, Counterpunch, August 12, 2015
"One of the few options currently available to adjuncts to improve their financial situation is a faculty union.[19] But unions comprised of both tenured and adjunct faculty will never question the mechanisms which underlie the academic hierarchy.[20] Instead, they will ask adjuncts to join in fights for general increases in faculty salaries which disproportionately benefit those who already earn the most.[21] The trade-off for adjuncts is an incremental raise in pay in return for a reinforcement of the structures and relations which perpetuate their impoverishment.

The academic hierarchy will not be altered by resorting to arguments about fairness, equality or basic human decency. Unions composed solely of adjuncts must fight for far greater increases in adjunct salaries as part of a larger struggle to dismantle the entire professorial apparatus of privilege. All progressives should join in this effort."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

EWU with 459 Faculty Called Full-Time, Only Three Women, Only Eleven Are Not White = Discrimination by Washington State June 17, 2015

Eastern Washington University Shows America and the World the Shameful Truth of Discrimination against Women and Persons of Color.
"How did she take on that identity so easily at Eastern Washington? Ms. Brooks, the San Antonio scholar, has a theory. According to Eastern Washington's numbers, 11 of the university's 459 full-time faculty members are black. Just three are women. (Like many institutions, Eastern Washington does not track part-time faculty members by race.)
Ms. Dolezal "couldn't have gotten away with this in places like D.C., Atlanta, or New Orleans," said Ms. Brooks. But in Spokane, where just over 2 percent of the population is black, the calculus is different."

Friday, June 12, 2015

EWU Demeans "Part-Time" Faculty in the Issue of the Spokane NAACP President's Race and Applications June 12, 2015

June 12, 2015. In Spokane, Washington, the president of the NAACP is being investigated for her race, and whether or not she gave false information on applications.

At Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington, Rachel Dolezal has been teaching courses in Africana Studies for five years.

EWU released a statement which discriminates against all teachers in higher education, by making a distinction between "part-time" positions and "professors," stating that she isn't a professor.

Whether or not Ms. Dolezal did or did not provide false information, it is deplorable that the university uses its own hiring practices to demean all faculty--of hiring someone for five years and demeaning her with the term "part-time"

Students will lose confidence in faculty who are treated badly by the EWU administration, and for EWU to make this distinction shakes the foundation of the university.

It is the position at the American Faculty Association that all faculty are professors, and deserve professional and equal pay.

When asked about Dolezal, EWU released this statement Friday:
"Since 2010, Rachel Dolezal has been hired at Eastern Washington University on a quarter by quarter basis as an instructor in the Africana Education program. This is a part-time position to address program needs. Dolezal is not a professor. The University does not feel it is appropriate to comment on issues involving her personal life. The university does not publicly discuss personnel issues."


Update: June, 12, 2015 Washington Post refers to Dolezal as a professor.
The fascinating Rachel Dolezal story has more layers than one of those flaky Pillsbury biscuits. She’s the president of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP and a professor of African American studies at Eastern Washington University, who was outed as not actually being African American. Her years of deception came to an end after her inability to answer a simple question at the end of an interview with KXLY television reporter Jeff Humphrey. “Are you an African American?” he asked.


June 14 and 15, 2015
The website, Spokane Economic and Demographic Data has two articles on this topic:
Chameleon Appearance
"Spokane is filled with idiots, unfortunately. And scummy hustlers. The area has so little diversity (click to see!) it has fake black residents now....At least we can say, with all the news people flying in – its undoubtedly good for the local economy, at least for a few days. Then its back to being the laughing stock of the world."

afa commentary:
There are other issues in academia that deserve this type of scrutiny and action:
In Spokane, at least one professor is/was full-time at two institutions at the same time.
In Spokane, at least two English professors in the community colleges didn't have degrees in English, yet they got the first pick of classes, such as composition and literature which they hadn't trained form, and they were on most of the hiring committees.
And this leads to the question, of when Americans will look critically at 911 and realize that the guys who effected it are still free and rich.
As a nation, Americans must restore the ideals of liberty and justice for all, of health, wealth, and happiness for all. We can't sit on the sidelines and expect journalists to make everything right.