Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blaming the Victim: Ladder Faculty and the Lack of Adjunct Activism

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Vitae
July 17th, 2014



In April 2013, I attended Adjunct Action’s first symposium in Boston, where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was kicking off its efforts to organize adjuncts at area universities. In a little over a year since that meeting, I’ve watched from the sidelines as fellow attendees—part-time faculty at Tufts, Lesley, and, most recently, Northeastern University—have voted yes to unionization. And I’ve seen the SEIU’s metro-organizing strategy spread to cities across the country.
As a full-time adjunct professor, I am not currently eligible to vote in a union election. The adjunct labor movement has necessarily prioritized the working conditions of part-time faculty, many of whom are living below the poverty line. But adjuncts need not be card-carrying union members to benefit from these victories, which have transformed academia’s once-invisible underclass into its most vocal majority. The inequalities in academic employment may still be firmly in place, but thanks to these unionization efforts, contingent faculty are now active participants in the national conversation about the future of higher education. 


In April 2013, I attended Adjunct Action’s first symposium in Boston, where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was kicking off its efforts to organize adjuncts at area universities. In a little over a year since that meeting, I’ve watched from the sidelines as fellow attendees—part-time faculty at Tufts, Lesley, and, most recently, Northeastern University—have voted yes to unionization. And I’ve seen the SEIU’s metro-organizing strategy spread to cities across the country.
As a full-time adjunct professor, I am not currently eligible to vote in a union election. The adjunct labor movement has necessarily prioritized the working conditions of part-time faculty, many of whom are living below the poverty line. But adjuncts need not be card-carrying union members to benefit from these victories, which have transformed academia’s once-invisible underclass into its most vocal majority. The inequalities in academic employment may still be firmly in place, but thanks to these unionization efforts, contingent faculty are now active participants in the national conversation about the future of higher education.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/613-blaming-the-victim-ladder-faculty-and-the-lack-of-adjunct-activism#sthash.1x94A2LZ.dpuf

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