Wednesday, June 30, 2010

UTF Solidary Forever! (to the tune of "Mine eyes have seen the glory of...")

Thanks to Erin Fox, CMU Art/Theater Dept. for the following adaptation of a traditional labor song. We sounded wonderful singing it together today!

Solidarity forever!
Solidarity forever!
Solidarity forever!
For we make CMU strong!

We're your teachers, we're your mentors, we assign the grades you earn!
The right to form a union is our number one concern!
Hopes for a better future will be realized when we learn
That we make CMU strong!

With the union's inspiration we'll negotiate health care
Not to mention job security and wages that are fair!
Which is why we're rallying here today to stand up and declare
The we make CMU strong!

We're so pleased that part-time faculty now have the right to vote!
President Ross and trustee members finally listened and took note!
They realized that temp faculty keep CMU afloat!
For we make CMU strong!


Don't miss this one!...a rousing chorus of "Part Time Worker" (to the tune of "Part Time Lover")...courtesy of AFT-MI Organizer (and beloved Motown Diva) Lynn Marie Smith!
Sing On, Everyone!

Details on CMU's agreement: planned 6/30 protests turn into celebration!

What a great rally, everyone! The show of solidarity in Mt. Pleasant today was wonderful -- we're so happy for you all!
June 30, 2010
[pictures & video at]

MOUNT PLEASANT, MICH.—Following four months of negotiations, Central Michigan University and the American Federation of Teachers have agreed on which nontenure-track faculty members will be recognized as members of a potential new bargaining unit. The adjunct faculty and their supporters, who had planned a protest rally for today, will still hold a rally at 11 o’clock this morning near the library on the Mount Pleasant campus to celebrate the agreement.

Under the agreement, nontenure-track faculty who teach quarter time or more, with some exceptions, are eligible for representation.

“The process that resulted in this agreement took time, as the administration and the union gathered all of the information necessary to craft an agreement that both parties found acceptable,” said AFT Michigan President David Hecker. “What counts is that we were able to reach this agreement. We look forward to a successful election and to joining with the administration to further enhance this great university.”

CMU was notified in early March by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission that nontenure-track faculty had filed for union certification.

“We are ecstatic about the opportunity to vote for union representation, and we look forward to a collaborative relationship with President Ross and the CMU administration,” said Mary Ann Freling, an adjunct professor who has worked for two decades in the English department.

Ray Christie, vice provost for academic administration, said: “Central Michigan University has a long-standing and well-established positive relationship with collective bargaining units, and values the dedication, contributions and commitment of our faculty and staff toward the success of our students.”

A unionization vote will be scheduled as the next step in the process. CMU will withdraw its request with MERC for a hearing on the matter. Across Michigan, thousands of nontenure-track faculty have formed unions or are in the process of doing so, including faculty at the University of Michigan, Ferris State University, Henry Ford Community College, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan University.


Jon Curtiss

Organizer, AFT Michigan, AFL-CIO

(734) 358-7004

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

CMU adjuncts get an agreement!

Just in...this note from AFT Organizer, Chris Pomeroy, from CMU:

Hello All,

I am very pleased to inform you that an election agreement for non
tenured-track faculty at CMU has been reached! We have a signed agreement
on definition of unit and timing and type of election at CMU.

As a result of this wonderful news, we will no longer be demonstrating in
Grand Rapids on Wednesday. Thank you all for your commitment, without the
threat of your action this agreement may not have been possible!

Details will be forwarded as they are made available.

Apparently, a celebration is now planned in place of protests in Mt. Pleasant (main campus), too! Congratulations, CMU-UFT!!

Letter condemning adjunct firings at EWU!

Thanks to Peter D.G. Brown, SUNY New Paltz, for passing along (via the Contingent Academics list) the following copy of a letter sent to EWU's Chancellor! Let's keep up the pressure on EWU administration and get the word out to Philip Smith that we appreciate his support!

June 28, 2010

Chancellor Dr. Mohammed Wasiullah Khan
East-West University
816 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

Dr. Khan:

As the president of the nation's largest higher education union, I wish
to convey UUP's strong condemnation of your precipitous action against
your adjunct faculty. UUP (United University Professions) represents
35,000 academic and professional faculty at the State University of New
York, including its adjunct faculty. We believe adjunct faculty deserve
to be protected just as much as full-time faculty.

It strains credibility to hear your spokesman say that the sudden
decision to send non-renewal notices to all of your adjunct faculty had
anything to do with the initiative by part-time instructors to form
their own union. Your actions appear to be an exercise in manipulation
and intimidation.

Employees have the right to organize to have their interests
represented as part of the collective bargaining process. To prevent
such an organizing effort is a violation of federal law as well as basic
human rights.

We strongly urge you to reinstate these faculty members immediately and
refrain from interfering with their ability to unionize. We also request
that you take no action to penalize any adjunct faculty member for their
role in the unionization drive.

We look forward to your prompt response and positive actions.


Phillip H. Smith
United University Professions

To contact EWU administration:

Chancellor Dr. Mohammad Wasiullah Khan
ph: 312-939-0111; fax: 312-939-0083

Provost Dr. Madhu Jain
ph: 312-939-0111; fax: 312-939-0083

Monday, June 28, 2010

NFM denounces termination of East-West U Adjuncts for trying to unionize


Akron, Ohio – New Faculty Majority: The National Coalition for Adjunct & Contingent Equity faxed a letter today to East-West University Chancellor, Dr. Mohammad Wasiullah Kahn, condemning the Chicago area university’s mass firing of its adjunct faculty and urging him to restore their contracts. This letter was also copied to U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

See more here:

Thanks, NFM! Solidarity will win the day!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Organizing International Topic!

One of the more than 1,000 workshops featured at the Social Forum this past week was our UPTF-sponsored offering, entitled "Voice for the Voiceless: Organizing Part-time Faculty." About twenty attendees, coming to the issue from different perspectives, packed the room: unionized adjuncts, those working on organizing, grad students thinking about their futures, and others who just care deeply about the state of higher education in this country. Two Turkish colleagues joined us, making it an international event: yes, there are adjuncts in Turkey!

After intros, I focused my part of the presentation on what's happening out there in higher ed these days, and where the biggest challenges to faculty exist. We discussed the pitfalls of the "Anyone Can Teach" mantra put out there as higher ed continues to corporatize and casualize our profession. We discussed the extra challenges adjuncts face in today's corporatized schools and why unionization is almost essential if we wish to make the living we deserve and preserve the dignity of teaching--at any level!

Importantly, we discussed the need to reframe the mixed messages adjuncts send to school administrations when we speak with an incoherent collective "voice." Every survey published seems to indicate that at least 40-50% of adjuncts are "satisfied" (more or less) with the status quo. Unfortunately, these surveys are mostly engineered (consciously or not) to generate responses that overplay the importance of "flexibility" and underplay dissatisfaction with our typical conditions of employment. School administrators can study these surveys and feel assured they're giving us what we want, based on our love of "flexibility." As we discussed, "units of flexibility" (as one community college v.p. calls us, according to Joe Berry) equal units of disposability! So we discussed the need for a more positive, unified message out there:

"Fair Treatment for Adjuncts is Good for Higher Ed!" What would fair treatment look like? A handout listed several ideas--unfortunately, no one in the room could check off many items from their current experience!

UPTF president Susan Titus then took over and led everyone in an exploration of the major features of organizing a local union. Locating and striking up a conversation with potential members is the first, sometimes difficult step. The painstaking, labor-intensive process of motivating everyone to collective action was another issue discussed: several attendees had great ideas, but it was clear that organizing is not for the faint of heart. Even so, the time is ripe, it is achievable, and worth the effort!

Thankfully, we concluded on a hopeful note: Dan Kukuk from Central Michigan U's organizing team related the challenges CMU adjuncts have been having with including all adjuncts in their newly-forming union, and he asked for everyone's support for a June 30th action. Everyone signed "We Care" postcards to send to CMU administration, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and the EWU Chancellor who recently fired all adjunct staff when they tried to form a union. The other Big Message that emerged that day was: we're in these challenges together, and solidarity will win the day!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Check out Social Forum news...

It's impossible to do justice to all the wondeful actions that have been carried out and the causes that have been promoted during this incredible event in Detroit, but here's a link that archives the stories:

I am simply in awe of the organizing effort that went into making this event the success it has been. Here's where I have to take off my Higher Ed/Adjunct hat and assume my Member of Humanity hat: the week's events have proven there is hope...or, as one headline put it, "answers are emerging from below." In other words, waiting for "Godot" -- whether that be government or corporate power structures -- to solve our many pressing problems is as absurd as the namesake theater piece.

People have always found ingenious ways to solve problems and--as one of my favorite economists, David Korten would say--"connect unused resources with unmet needs." We need to get back to what Korten calls "living economies"--economies that serve people's true needs, not the needs of "Phantom Wealth." For more on these ideas and Korten's work, see Here's where I can put my Higher Ed/Adjunct hat back on: Higher Ed needs to be a microcosm of the larger Living Economy we all need. Hmmm...more to come on this issue!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Adjuncts United march to the lively beat of Detroit's U.S. Social Forum!

June 22: What an exhilarating experience it was to march together with adjuncts and students from points across the state of Michigan! The message was simple: Higher Education Works Because We Do! Sponsored by Wayne State's UPTF part-time faculty union, representatives from University of Michigan's lecturer's union (LEO), Henry Ford Community College (AFO), and Central Michigan University (working to organize as the UTF) joined in, along with a large contingent of students and faculty from Eastern Michigan University and a number of other friends, associates, former colleagues, etc.

The long path down Detroit's main artery, Woodward Avenue, from Wayne State's campus to Cobo Hall was filled with thousands of people with hundreds of causes to promote--all focused on helping kick off the amazing U.S. Social Forum here in Detroit. Lively, colorful, breathtaking: a river of people prepared to work hard to make things better for all!
There were too many takeaways to even process them all, but here's one that stuck with me: we're all in this mess of an economy together, and there's never been a better time to stop being invisible!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's finally here...U.S. Social Forum kicks off with incredible spirit, diversity!

Promote the US Social Forum! USSF 2010: ""

Employee or Independent Contractor? - Working In These Times

Here's something hopeful for workers who are stuck in "independent contractor"-land so employers can avoid paying UI and Medicare costs. Adjuncts can certainly relate! Employee or Independent Contractor? - Working In These Times

Monday, June 21, 2010

EWU protest news -- Solidarity alert!

We need to stand behind these colleagues -- for their sakes, and ours! (RR)

United Adjunct Faculty Association at East-West University News Advisory

Contact: Curtis Keyes, Jr. 312-497-3579 (June 20, 2010)

or Tom Gradel 773-561-1040

Adjunct Faculty Oppose Illegal Firing

at Chicago’s East-West University

Adjunct faculty members at East-West University will picket the university’s main entrance at 816 South Michigan Avenue on Monday morning to protest the abrupt firing of eight adjunct professors who were organizing for labor union representation.

“This is an outrageous violation of our country’s long-standing labor laws,” said Curtis Keyes, Jr., a spokesperson for the United Adjunct Faculty Association at East-West University. “This illegal act is also grossly unfair to experienced adjunct professors who have worked for many years educating students and helping East-West University growth as a respected member of Chicago’s higher education community,” Keyes added.

Many of the university’s 56 adjunct professors will participate in the protest and they will be joined by adjunct professors from numerous Chicago-area universities.

Protest Picket

East-West University, Chicago

816 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

8 to 9:45 AM, Monday

June 21, 2010

The adjunct professors at East-West University have not received a raise in pay in more than six years. Per 4 credit hour (course), they are paid significantly lower than what the university’s 14 full-time professors receive. Recently a majority of the university’s adjunct professors signed cards stating that they wanted to be represented by the United Adjunct Faculty Association in its effort to improve working conditions. The university’s administration responded by dismissing eight adjunct professors and summoning all adjuncts to individual meetings with the Chancellor to determine if they will again teach at East-West University.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

East-West U Adjuncts terminated for trying to unionize! Protest scheduled 6/21 in Chicago!

Hi, everyone: The message below is from Joe Berry with COCAL in Chicago. As you'll see, we adjuncts really need to stick together on this one, because the way this case goes could set a ugly precedent for all of us. If anyone wants "We Care" postcards (see sidebar) to distribute and ultimately send to EWU's chancellor or provost (info below), along with fax protests, etc...just let me know!

UPTF (Wayne State) is sponsoring the Adjuncts United march to the U.S. Social Forum this Tuesday, 3 p.m. (meet at Woodward-Warren, WSU campus in Detroit). We're going to be highlighting EWU adjuncts' struggle, among others -- if you're in town, join us!! See for flyers, etc. See for general U.S. Social Forum info. "Another World Is Possible!!"

Email or fax protests to: (please copy all protests and and send statements of support to <>

Chancellor Dr. Mohammad Wasiullah Khan
Panjab University (Pakistan)
BS-English Literature, Economics
Panjab University (Pakistan)
MA-Urdu Literature
Panjab University (Pakistan)
MED (Honors)-Secondary Education
Indiana University
EdS and PhD-Educational Administration

Provost Dr. Madhu Jain
Jiwaji University (India)
BS-Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics
Rajasthan University (India)
Rajasthan University (India)

816 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Fax: 312-939-0083

School's History:


June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010 STATEMENT OF PROTEST The United Adjunct Faculty Association (UAFA) at East-West University (EWU) publicly expresses its protest at the ongoing discriminatory practices of Dr. M. Wasiullah Khan, the University Chancellor, (312) 939-0111 and Dr. Madhu Jain, the Provost, (312) 939-0111 with regards to the revocation of course assignments of the following adjunct faculty: Ms. Erma Faire-Doeing, Ms. Gladys Griffin, Mr. Tanue Johnson, Mr. Curtis Keyes, Mr. Kenneth Peterson, and other adjunct faculty who have recently been dismissed without any explanation or thank you for their years of service to students and the university. That mostly African American adjunct faculty were discharged from their teaching assignments within the last two weeks is highly offensive in the face of a seventy percent African American majority student population where ninety percent of students receive federal financial aid for their education.

What could be the underlying reason for the Chancellor’s and Provost’s actions? Could it be retaliation against UAFA’s right to form a labor union at EWU? UAFA members have not had one single pay increase in over 6 years! Facts show that several adjunct faculty members were notified by their Department Chairperson that their summer class assignments had been revoked at the time when UAFA was organizing for a labor union. UAFA appeals to the administration for the immediate reinstatement of all adjunct faculty discharged under such muddled circumstances. With support from the Illinois Education Association chapter of the National Education Association and the Chicago Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, UAFA reaffirms its legal right to organize. The recent removal of adjunct faculty calls into serious question the motives of EWU’s administration. UAFA is quite certain that students’, parents, alumni and the University Board of Trustees would not want to see the institution shrouded in a public fight which could tarnish prospective students’ views about attending EWU.

Frankly, this public protest is unfortunate, but it is necessary if the university is to move forward in its accreditation, building construction and treatment of adjunct faculty. We hope this crisis can be resolved without another public protest, which will include the mobilization of students, parents, alumni, supportive colleagues and the media. Our protest comes with the fundamental belief that East-West University can fulfill its mission of treating its students and adjunct faculty with fairness. It is our hope that the Chancellor and Provost will embrace this moral call for just treatment of its entire faculty.




The Illinois Education Association-National Education Association

Chicago Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Here's why solidarity is so important! EWU adjuncts succumb to bullying, but will try again in the fall!

The United Adjunct Faculty Association (UAFA) at East-West University (EWU) withdrew its petition to vote for a union. In a letter addressed one day before EWU administration received the National Labor Relations Board collective bargaining petition notice for adjuncts, Chancellor M. Wasiullah Khan informed all department chairs, full-time faculty, part-time faculty and staff that “no contract will be renewed this year effective the forthcoming summer session and the academic year beginning with Fall quarter 2010.” The letter went on to point out that no department chair, full-time faculty, part-time faculty or staff member would be hired back “without first meeting with the Chancellor.” As an adjunct at EWU, I have never ever witnessed such blatant disrespect and disregard for the many hard working people who care deeply about their job. The primary reason for the petition withdrawal is based on the administration’s attorney argument that no adjunct would be an employee at East-West during the summer so the petition for collective bargaining was no valid. UAFA members are not deterred. It will regroup and re-file the petition at the start of fall 2010. For more information and words of support, please send to

We're with you on this, EWU! Join us in our Adjuncts United! March to the opening ceremonies of the U.S. Social Forum at 3 p.m. on June 22 and get your story out there! Also, join us for this workshop, also during the Social Forum and sponsored by UPTF-AFT Local 477 (Wayne State):  "Voice for the Voiceless: Organizing Part-time Faculty in Higher Education," June 23, 1-3 p.m.. See for USSF registration info (day registration needed for workshop attendance). See for event flyers and a short video, too.

AFT FACE - Eastern Michigan Adjunct Lecturers Vote in the Union

Yippee! Congratulations to EMU for a really outstanding organizing campaign!

AFT FACE - Eastern Michigan Adjunct Lecturers Vote in the Union

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thanks to NFM for promoting the Adjuncts United March, U.S. Social Forum

Plans are building -- several Adjunct cohorts from around the state of Michigan will be making their way to Detroit for the Adjuncts United march to Cobo Hall on June 22. Our march will be but one small tributary feeding the larger river of people--educators of all types, artists, students, labor, social/economic justice activists and anyone who cares about ordinary people having a voice in today's global economy--who will converge on Cobo Hall for the opening of the U.S. Social Forum, June 22-26.

All faculty and students--anyone who cares about the future of higher education--are invited to join us in this march. We will gather at Woodward and Warren in Detroit (Wayne State campus) at 3 p.m. for a short rally, then proceed down the march route to Cobo Hall. See for event flyers: please pass the word along!

Also of interest for Adjuncts, scheduled during the Forum and sponsored by the UPTF (Wayne State part-time faculty union): a Workshop, "Voice for the Voiceless: Organizing Part-time Faculty in Higher Education." June 23, 1-3 p.m., rm. 340, Wayne County Community College. Day registration with the Social Forum is needed. See for registration, events program, directions, etc. Again, please pass the word along!

Together we can drop the "invisibility cloak" and speak out on our own behalf!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Program now available for Social Forum!

The event motto says it all: "Another World is Possible...Another U.S. is Necessary!"

I can't think if a better event to attend, support, pass the word around about, etc...Here's the link for the full program!

Monday, June 7, 2010

UPTF is on YouTube! Join us for the Adjuncts United march to the U.S. Social Forum on June 22!

To make a long story short: here's a quick video inviting anyone who cares about the quality of higher education to join Adjuncts United on June 22. We'll be marching in support of adjunct groups like CMU's that are fighting for fair treatment, for students (budget cuts diminish all our lives!) and for giving education the priority it deserves in public policy. Important issues!

Again, the link is:

Contact me at for any questions, directions, etc. For general U.S. Social Forum info,

Hope to see you on June 22!