It's Now Or Never: An Adjunct Responds to SFAI's Latest Talking Points

FromĀ Amor Mundi blog:

In the latest communication from SFAI Administration dissuading adjuncts from voting to organize with SEIU, Dean Rachel Shreiber writes:

The key question: Is SEIU the right union for you? There are very significant issues facing adjunct faculty at most institutions, including SFAI. But this particular election will not guarantee solutions to these problems. Instead, this election will only decide if you commit to having SEIU represent you. I believe SEIU is not the right union. That is why I encourage you to vote no.

Let us be very clear, the "very significant issues facing adjunct faculty [at] SFAI" are that we have no job security, no reliable prospects, no voice in institutional governance, and no consequential recognition of our contribution to the community of SFAI.

These are not abstract issues. They are very specific. They have been articulated many times in many ways in many venues -- in self-study documents, open letters, statements in public meetings, stakeholder petitions -- and the administration has not responded to these problems except to choke off lines of communication that once existed (eliminating department heads and thus severing communication networks while at once overburdening to the point of failure those few remaining people who have any standing with administration) and to threaten our employment (with "at will" contracts surreally unsuited to an ongoing teaching situation, and recently cavalierly proposing that no adjunct can teach more than two years but then informally kinda sorta taking it back, perhaps when they realized that this would betray trusted, beloved fixtures at the school who have taught for decades and also cause a level of churn among three-quarters of the actual teachers at the school that would undermine standards, student-teacher relationships, and cause chaos to no good purpose). The administration is making very real, very specific, very solvable problems worse, and that too is a problem.

These problems provide the obvious context in which adjunct organizing has taken on its present urgency in the first place. In describing SEIU as a vast, soulless, alien octopus with nefarious intentions SFAI hopes to distract us from the real problems we are experiencing to loose fears of the unknown.

"SEIU is not the right union," SFAI helpfully advises.

So, what is the right union? What union won't respond to these obvious problems in the obvious way that will obviously annoy SFAI exactly the same way that SEIU does?

Of course, there is no "right union" -- but more to the point, there is no "other union." Not here, not now.

Read the full blog post here.