Monday, April 26, 2010

Adjuncts have a voice at Labor Notes Conference, April 23-25

"When Adjunct Faculty are Treated Unfairly, We Care!" This was the rallying cry on the front of a postcard my colleagues and I from Wayne State University's Union of Part-Time Faculty distributed this past weekend at the Labor Notes Conference in Dearborn, Michigan. The postcards are addressed to Obama's Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and will be sent to her office as part of the union's attempt to support all of the adjunct unionization efforts going on as we speak. The postcard itself is generic -- not labeled as a Wayne State piece per se, so I will be making it available on this site in the next few days, as well. At that point, I will send out a message via the adjunct "airwaves" and ask for national participation in this effort. 

I was pleasantly surprised by how receptive conference goers were to the adjunct message--I felt like Johnny Appleseed, spreading the word all weekend, and I think it may bear fruit. Two separate encounters with Jobs With Justice representatives were quite helpful--both individuals were interested in looking further at adjunct issues in their respective states.

Amazingly, one full-time professor from a Chicago university urged me and adjuncts in general to "blame the full-timers!" I was careful to say I didn't think full-timers should be held responsible, necessarily, but I did concede that part-timers and full-timers are often pitted against each other, to the benefit of corporate administrators. A story for another day.

It was so encouraging that everywhere I went at the conference, someone had an adjunct story to tell--on behalf of a family member, a spouse, a child, etc.-- and everyone seemed aware of, if not outraged by, of our list of woes. It convinced me more than ever that we just have to open our mouths and tell our stories -- the time is ripe!


  1. Raye ~ what an excellent adventure on behalf of all adjuncts. I hope your experience encourages more adjunct outings to less academic venues. When you are ready to go national with your postcard project, count me in. I'll link it on New Faculty Majority's social media locations plus a couple of online adjunct groups. I've been bookmarking adjunct groups as I come across them too.

  2. Thanks, Vanessa! You'll be the first to know about the postcard.