Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Washington State Senate Bill 5844 Hearing for Separate Union for Adjunct Faculty, on Friday, Feb. 7, from 8 to 10 am.

Call to Action : Create Separate Union for Washington State Adjunct Faculty.
Via the Washington State Part-Time Faculty Association:

This is an historic moment.  Our Senate Commerce and Labor Committee will be hearing Senator Timothy Sheldon's Senate Bill 5844 this Friday, Feb. 7, from 8-10 a.m.

We will need to muster all the support we can for this hearing, since the bill must also be voted out of committee by the end of the day Friday.

It would be great if you can make it to Olympia to testify.  You will need to sign in electronically at the kiosks on the main floor of the Cherberg Building.   Each person will probably have two or three minutes to testify.

Whether you testify or not, it would help to write emails to the Senators on the Commerce and Labor Committee (I will follow with their email addresses and a sample letter).  Senators gets hundreds of emails everyday.  So it is important to keep it short.  The thing most likely to be read is your subject line.  So you might write some variation of "Please Support SB 5844 (Separate Unions for Adjuncts)" or "Please Vote YES on SB 5844."

You will only need to write one letter if you write the Chair of the committee, and copy the other members.  But you may have more of an impact if you send separate letters to each member.

The legislature needs to hear why the bill is necessary.  Doug Collins once said that we are in an abusive marriage without the right to divorce.  We have no leverage.  This bill will give us the right all other workers have to choose their own unions.

Below you will find a summary of the bill by Jack Longmate, as well as a link to the entire bill.

Your letter will help at anytime between now and Friday.  But since legislators are often behind in reading their email, it will do the most good between now and the end of the day on Thursday.

It would help me to keep track of our support if you would send me a copy of your letter to the committee members.  You can blind copy me and/or forward the letter to me.

Please tell everyone, adjuncts, friends, relatives, to write to the committee members ASAP.


Keith Hoeller
Co-Founder, Washington Part-Time Faculty Association
Seattle, WA

Summary of SB 5844 by Jack Longmate

B 5844 doesn't mandate the formation of unions for NTT faculty; that is, it doesn't obligate the formation of unions for adjuncts, but it does (1) give adjuncts the right to form their own union and (2) it prohibits adjuncts from being members in full-time units. In essence, it says these two things:

(1) It "authorizes" PT faculty to form a collective bargaining unit.  Section 4 reads: "Both full-time tenured academic employees and part-time nontenured academic employees have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist employee organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and also have the right to refrain from any or all of these activities except to the extent that full-time tenured academic employees may be required to make payments to an exclusive full-time tenured academic bargaining representative while part-time nontenured academic employees may be required to make  payments to an exclusive part-time nontenured bargaining representative, or charitable organization under a union security provision authorized in this chapter."  

Section 5 continues: " Upon filing with the employer the voluntary written authorization of a bargaining unit employee under this chapter, the full-time tenured academic employee organization or the part-time nontenured academic employee organization which is the exclusive bargaining representative of the bargaining unit of the respective full-time tenured or part-time nontenured academic employee organization shall have the right to have deducted from the salary of the bargaining unit employee the periodic dues and initiation fees uniformly required as a condition of acquiring or retaining membership in the exclusive bargaining representative." 

(2)  It prohibits joint units.  Section 2 reads, in part: "The legislature intends that collective bargaining units may be composed of either full-time tenured academic employees or part-time nontenured academic employees to strengthen the direct communication of these distinct employee types with the employer."  Section 3 continues: "Full-time tenured academic employees may join full-time tenured collective bargaining units. Part-time nontenured academic employees may join part-time faculty collective bargaining units."
It also makes a third point.  In Section 6, which prohibits discrimination against academic employees who are union members or union officers in (1), it adds a new provision (2) to explicitly prohibit discrimination against part-time faculty:

"(2) Discrimination against part-time academic employees on the basis of their part-time or nontenured employment status is a violation of this chapter."

Link to Bill:    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Bills/5844.pdf

There was a typo in the email address of the Chair of the Commerce and Labor Committee. 
If it came back to you, please resend your letter.
Here is the correct list, updated from yesterday.

Senate Commerce & Labor

Committee Members

Chair, Janea Holmquist Newbry (R)     janea.holmquistnewbry@leg.wa.gov
Vice Chair John Braun (R)                    john.braun@leg.wa.gov
Steve Conway (D)                                 steve.conway@leg.wa.gov
Bob Hasegawa (D)                                bob.hasegawa@leg.wa.gov
Mike Hewitt (R)                                    mike.hewitt@leg.wa.gov
Curtis King (R)                                      curtis.king@leg.wa.gov
Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D)                         jeanne.kohl-welles@leg.wa.gov
Please be sure to modify your letters significantly ...so they don't look like form letters.  Include personal experiences and observations, and keep it short.  Remember to make the subject line very clear.  And of course don't use campus email for any political activity.

You can make a difference.

Cordially, Keith

InsideHigherEd.com published a review of Dr. Keith Hoeller's new book, Equality for Contingent Faculty: Overcoming the Two-Tier System (Vanderbilt University Press).http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/01/29/book-argues-adjunct-conditions-must-be-viewed-civil-rights-issue
Dr. Keith Hoeller
Washington Part-Time Faculty Association
Seattle, WA

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