Friendly reminder: Adjunct faculty are always members of the bargaining unit, and often full members of the union

In the wake of Monday’s announcement that the membership overwhelmingly voted in favor of strike authorization, which is precisely what we needed to do in order to signal PASSHE that our patience is pretty well taxed, this seems like a good time to follow that good news up with a nudge that I REALLY wish we didn’t have to keep doing.

While our CBA is one of the two best (if not the best) in the country in terms of its provisions for adjunct/non-tenure-track faculty, the general membership (by which I mean US, the rank and file) is lagging behind in terms of coming to grips with the fact that our adjunct faculty are just as much a part of the bargaining unit, and thus the union, as any tenured/tenure-track (T/TT) faculty member is.

Two things are prompting me to say this:

  1. During our Strike Authorization voting last week, I heard at least half a dozen times, either first-hand or via faculty who were staffing the voting stations, that T/TT faculty were “surprised” adjunct faculty were allowed to vote. And in one case, when I responded, “Of course they are, if they’re full members. Why wouldn’t they be,” the person said, “They can be full members?!?” I didn’t actually cry, but I almost did.
  2. A friend who is an adjunct faculty member and long-time APSCUF member (I’m not going to identify them any more specifically than that unless they volunteer it themselves) said semi-publicly this morning that they really wish APSCUF members would stop “Talk[ing] about us like we’re the help and don’t have ears.”

Those of us who are T/TT faculty do this all too often. Not every one of us every time, but as a collective, we all too often simply ignore our own members, or take them for granted. And we do it oftentimes for the exact reasons that we need to be most vocally supportive of our adjunct sisters and brothers–because their working conditions are worse than ours, their schedules often keep them from interacting socially and professionally with us, the list goes on and on.

So, again (and again, and again): our adjunct faculty are brothers and sisters, and we’re doing it wrong (very profoundly wrong) every single time we forget that.

 

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4 Comments

Filed under APSCUF, Collective Bargaining, Contingent faculty

4 responses to “Friendly reminder: Adjunct faculty are always members of the bargaining unit, and often full members of the union

  1. Reblogged this on The Consulting Editor and commented:
    Timely higher ed piece.

  2. Mark Rimple

    Right on, Seth. It’s something I stress every time I go to a department meeting, and I have often had to correct assumptions about adjunct rights. Yes, there are some restrictions in the types of voting they can do, but by and large, they are doing the same work as we do, and can have the same level of participation in the union, as protected by state law.

    We can all do better.

  3. Adale Sholock

    Thank you for saying this, friend.

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