Archive for activism

Advocating for adjuncts in D.C.

Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority and a member of the OPTFA Organizing Committee, will testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on “The Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Schools, Colleges, and Universities” on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m.

She will also testify at the Department of Education’s open forum on the Obama plan, the college affordability initiative, today at 1 p.m. at George Mason University. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, as well as other U.S. Department of Education officials, will facilitate the forum.

Coalition of Academic Labor Conference

In addition, Maisto, along with several other members of the Organizing Committee of OPTFA, will attend the Coalition of Academic Labor Conference, sponsored by SEIU Local 500. It will be held in Washington, D.C. Nov. 15-17.Here’s how NFM and OPTFA will be involved in the conference:

  • Maisto will be part of a panel discussion on “Inside/Outside Activism: Political, Bi-partisan, Institutional and Public Advocacy for Adjuncts.”
  • Maisto, along with OPTFA Organizing Committee Co-chairs April Freely and David Wilder, will present a panel on OPTFA organizing efforts in Ohio, which is dubbed a “union-hostile state.”
  • Aaron Calafato will present a performance of “For Profit,” which will be followed by a discussion forum moderated by Maisto.

Meeting on temporary workers this Friday in Cleveland

North Shore AFL-CIOCleveland Jobs with JusticeNational Staffing Workers Alliance and New Faculty Majority invite you to a meeting on temporary and precarious workers and the growing movement to fight back.

When: Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, 6-8 p.m.

Where: North Shore AFL-CIO, 3250 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115

Who: Advocates from across the country will be present to connect with local workers and organizations and discuss recent efforts to organize workers in the growing segment of our economy where there is an ever increasing distance between employers and their workers, and where workers do not know whether they will have a job next week or next month. We can’t rebuild our communities on temp jobs!

We look forward to seeing you there and making lasting connections to move this fight forward!

For more information contact Mike Munoz, National Staffing Workers Alliance, at mmunoz@chicagoworkerscollaborative.org or (323) 247-9970.

 

Take action for Campus Equity Week, Oct. 28 – Nov. 2

Take action for Campus Equity Week, a week of education and activism that draws attention to the working conditions of faculty working on temporary, low-paid contracts, who now constitute the majority of college instructors.

In fact, there are one million contingent faculty nationwide, and they make up 75 percent of all faculty.

Here are some simple things you can do to raise awareness about equity issues on your campus. You can also download this information as a handout from the Campus Equity Week Tool Kit page.

  • Wear scarlet or red on Wednesday, Oct. 30, during Campus Equity Week.CEW13-Button-Art
  • Use social media and online resources to raise awareness of CEW. Post links on Facebook. Send out tweets. Use hashtags #cew2013 and ##iammargaretmary. Change your Facebook profile photo to the CEW logoGet more tips on using social media.
  • Plan a Campus Equity Week event on your campus. Ideas: A candlelight vigil in memory of Margaret Mary Vojtko. Tabling to collect signatures on an online petition, pass out information, etc.
  • Attend a Campus Equity Week event, including several planned for Ohio, listed here.
  • Sign and share a petition.
  • Send a letter to the editor to your local and/or campus newspaper.
  • Follow the Campus Equity Week Facebook Event page.
  • Tell your adjunct story on the Adjunct Stories Tumblr page.
  • Submit a photo of your adjunct contract to the Adjunct Justice Equal Pay for Equal Work Tumblr page.
  • Take photos of adjunct faculty or others wearing the shirts and buttons, then post your photos on social media.
  • Include a simple line about Campus Equity Week in the signature line of your emails: October 28 – November 2 is Campus Equity Week. Learn more at www.campusequityweek.org/2013
  • Send a letter to the editor to your local and/or campus newspaper.
  • Wear T-shirts and buttons during Campus Equity Week.
  • Serve Fair Trade in Education Coffee at your CEW event.
  • Participate in an online survey conducted by The New Faculty Majority Foundation (NFMF and The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE) about how colleges and universities are responding to the Employer Mandate of the ACA as it applies to contingent faculty in “part-time” positions. 
  • Blog for Campus Equity Week.

 

Higher Ed & the Affordable Care Act: Take the survey

“Part-time” contingent faculty, along with “part-time” workers across the nation, are being directly affected by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the colleges and universities for which they work.

In order to gain more insight into the impact on higher education faculty, The New Faculty Majority Foundation (NFMF and The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE) are collecting information about how colleges and universities are responding to the Employer Mandate of the ACA as it applies to contingent faculty in “part-time” positions.

We are interested in understanding both the extent to which institutions are implementing the ACA to expand health care coverage to faculty who have previously not received health care benefits, as well as understanding the extent to which institutions are redefining the workload of “part-time” faculty to fall below the cutoff for provision of health benefits (29 hours per week).

TAKE THE SURVEY

To help us understand faculty experiences, we encourage you fill out a short survey which will take between 10-15 minutes. People who are not “part-time” faculty may respond to the survey if they have knowledge of policies related to ACA implementation on campuses. Please note that we ask you to upload any official documentation surrounding the ACA from your campus. Such documentation is extremely important to understand what is happening.

Your anonymity as an individual respondent to the survey will be preserved and only researchers with NFM and CFHE will be responsible for the analysis and security of the data. Your survey responses will be kept separate from the institutional information that you provide and the data will be stored on password protected files and on password protected computers.

If you do not have access to official documentation but know of news stories that have reported on your employer’s policies on part-time faculty and the ACA, please provide the link or upload a PDF or JPEG of the news story.

We thank you in advance for your participation in the survey. Please feel free to post and circulate the survey as widely as possible. This information is vital for educating the higher education community and the public about this urgent matter.

Initial results will be publicized during Campus Equity Week, October 28 – November 2, 2013.

Many thanks for your participation! Any questions or communications about the survey should be sent to: Gary Rhoades: grhoades@email.arizona.edu Maria Maisto: maria.maisto@nfmfoundation.org

Focus on higher ed at Campus Equity Week Summit in Columbus

Four organizations have teamed up to present a state-wide summit in Columbus — open to all and focused on higher education — as part of Campus Equity Week.CEW13-Button-Art

The Ohio Higher Education Campus Equity Week Summit will be held Saturday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Ohio Education Association Building, 225 East Broad St. in Columbus.

The event will kick off Campus Equity Week, Oct. 28- Nov. 2, a week of education and activism that shines a spotlight on our increasingly stratified higher education system. At the core of the inequities that pervade higher education is the crisis of contingent faculty employment.

The details

What: The goal of the Ohio Higher Education Campus Equity Week Summit is to create a statewide organizing body focused on higher education issues and composed of faculty, staff, contingent and part-time labor, students, and campus communities.

Who: Full- and Part-Time Faculty, Campus Staff, and Students from all over the state are invited to attend the Summit to build a better future for Ohio Higher Education.

When: Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Ohio Education Association Building, 225 East Broad Street in Columbus. Get directions to the OEA Building. Free parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis at the OEA parking lot, 200 Oak St., Columbus, OH 43215. Get directions to the parking lot.‎

Cost: There is no charge for this day-long event, which includes lunch.

Sponsors: New Faculty MajorityOhio Part-Time Faculty AssociationOhio Student Association and Ohio Education Association.

RSVP: By Oct. 14 to optfa@newfacultymajority.info. Please include name, email, phone number, address and organizational affiliation (if applicable). Also indicate whether you need childcare and/or transportation help.
Childcare: Please let us know if you need on-site childcare. If you do, please provide the number and age(s) of your children in your RSVP email.
Transportation: Please let us know if you need a ride or can provide a ride for a participant. If so, please provide that information in your RSVP email.

The flier

Download the half-page flier to share with your colleagues.

The draft agenda

10-11 a.m. – Coffee and Registration

11:10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. – Present Vision

11:30 a.m.- Noon – Count off and break out groups

Noon – 12:30 p.m. – Report Back – Who was at table? What are your causes? How do they connect to the vision? Is there anything we can add to the vision?

12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. – Lunch (Provided)

1 – 2 p.m. – Group Discussion on Action Plan for Wednesday of Campus Equity Week

2 – 3 p.m. – Working in Campus/Regional Groups to Develop Campus Equity Week Action Plan

3 – 3:30 p.m. – Report Back

3 – 3:30 p.m. – Adjourn

Background on Campus Equity Week

Campus Equity Week was originally devised by contingent faculty activists in 2001 in order to highlight the appalling working conditions of the majority of the faculty and the impact of those working conditions on the quality of education.

A central principle of the week is that quality education depends practically and ethically on professional and just working conditions for all faculty. The crisis of contingent faculty employment at colleges and universities is at the core of the inequities that pervade  higher education.

State Sen. Turner contacts ODJFS about unemployment compensation concerns

State Senator Nina Turner has sent a letter to Michael Colbert, director of the Ohio Department of State Senator Nina TurnerJob and Family Services, asking him to address “inconsistent judgments in claims for unemployment benefits” for part-time faculty in the state.

In her letter dated Sept. 30, 2013, Turner maintains that “the main challenge arises from the lack of a clear, workable definition of what constitutes a ‘reasonable assurance’ of employment, as mentioned in Section 4141.29(I)(1) of the Ohio Revised Code.”

Nina Turner letter

As a result, one adjunct faculty member at a university can find his unemployment claim approved, while his colleague, teaching under the same insecure conditions, has hers denied, even after filing appeals.

Some fight every claim; others don’t

Some colleges and universities in the state do not fight the unemployment compensation claims of adjunct faculty. Others, such as the University of Akron, fight every claim that is filed.

This term, UA’s human resources department provided its vice presidents, deans and chairs with a “Reasonable Assurance Memo,” warning them that “failure to give timely reasonable assurance of employment for the next semester can lead to the loss of valued faculty and increased unemployment charges to the department.”

UA’s characterization of the offer of a class for the next term as “reasonable assurance,” is disingenuous, as any class could be cancelled or reassigned to a full-time faculty member due to lack of enrollment.

UA’s definition — and some Ohio Department of Job and Family Services rulings regarding part-time faculty’s eligibility for unemployment compensation — are contrary to information disseminated by ODJFS. One publication, which Sen. Turner cited in her letter, states:

Regardless of whether you are a professional or nonprofessional, if the offer of work is contingent upon sufficient funding or enrollment, you would not have reasonable assurance for the next school year or term.

Help with your unemployment compensation claim

 

Watch segment on “For Profit” on Al Jazeera

Aaron Calafato’s solo performance of “For Profit” at Kent State University earlier this month was Aaron on Al Zazeerafeatured in a three-minute segment on the Al Jazeera show “Real Money” last night.

The evening also featured a panel discussion on student debt, part-time faculty and other issues in which Katherine Burke, KSU adjunct faculty and a member of OPTFA’s Organizing Committee, participated.

You can watch the segment and get a glimpse of Katherine here and view photos from the KSU performance on our Facebook page.

Calafato’s play, which includes a post-performance panel discussion on equity issues, will be part of Campus Equity Week. It will be performed at campuses around the country both before and after that week.

Upcoming Ohio performances of “For Profit” include:
  • October 28: University of Akron, Akron, Ohio.
  • November TBA: Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio. With Evan Chaloupka, member of OPTFA Organizing Committee and doctoral student at CSU.

Read more about the one-man play, For Profit, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: Art imitates life and debt in play about for-profit school: Plain Dealing, Aug. 16, 2013

 

Share Margaret Mary’s story: Death of an adjunct

Margaret Mary Vojtko, 83, died of a stress-related heart attack on Sept. 1 after being fired from her position as an adjunct professor at Duquesne University where she taught French for 25 years. At the time of her death, she was living in poverty and without health benefits.

Read the full story and share it via social media. If you tweet, please use the hashtag #iammargaretmary. We want this to go viral.

Highlights of OPTFA June meetings

Current Priorities for OPTFA, as discussed at our June meetings, include the following:
 
Unemployment + Adjunct Lecturer status: We’re focusing on information gathering in the coming ScarletAmonths regarding several appeals for unemployment compensation by part-timers. (See Paula’s recent post on our discussion list.) If you have filed, please be sure that Maria Maisto has your contact information. Also, there is growing concern that the trend of pushing out adjuncts who have achieved Senior Lecturers status is ramping up on campuses that have such a designation. If you have a story like Paula’s or Michelle’s, we want to know about it.
Campus Tours: OPTFA is planning to tour Ohio campuses in the Fall 2013. On the tour, the goal is to get the word out that OPTFA exists and showcase what adjuncts in the state have accomplished so far. We also hope the tour will serve as a local mobilizing force to bring together all stakeholders (like students, other part-time campus employees, parents, tenured fac) who are impacted by contingency.  We also want to help catalyze the organizing of adjuncts on local campuses so that people aren’t so isolated from the other adjuncts that walk the same halls they do.  We need people to serve as points of contact, so we can set up dates, so if you want to help arrange a visit to your campus, please email David Wilder at david.wilder.optfa@newfacultymajority.info.
 
Campus Equity Week 2013: This will take place the last week in October. Lots of folk on the Survey suggested some sort of conference–we would love for Campus Equity Week (and/or the Campus Tours) to be a place where we can hosts panels, teach-ins, events on different campuses across the state in the same week. We’re also looking into figuring out how to simulcast Ohio events so that we can be networked into the Campus Equity Week events going on around the nation that week. If you are looking for a committee to serve on for OPTFA: this is what’s hot.
Aaron Calafuto + “For-Profit”: This is super exciting. We’re looking for more ways to cross-for profitpollinate our organizing between fac + students and this is one sure way to do it. Aaron’s a founder of Student Debt Crisis–working with student organizations on campuses nationwide to organize around the issue of student debt.
He is also a playwright of a critically acclaimed play, For Profit, about the cycle of student debt and the corporatization of higher ed, which you can find out more about here.
The plan is to synch our Campus Tours with some showings of his play–to highlight the connections between contingent faculty members who are working for poverty wages with thousands of dollars in debt they can’t pay back at these rates, while the students themselves take on thousands of dollars in debt in the hope of making a living wage, but the only work available, if they can get that degree, may be a minimum wage job in the service sector–so they won’t be able to pay back that debt either. Average student loan debt in recent years is something like $27,000 per student.  Also remember that only 56 percent of our students in Ohio graduate in six years. Student load debt (in number of dollars) has quadrupled just in the past 10 years. Ohio is seventh in the nation for highest student loan debt load. Etcetera etcetera.

survey

So these kinds of events and panels should surely increase solidarity on our campuses and gather crowds/community interest/publicity. If you’d like to have the play and panel discussion come to your campus–please talk to Maria Maisto. Some dates have been set already.
For more details on the other things the group worked on Wednesday–including that OPTFA Summer Survey (preliminary results are in!) please see the June 2013 Meeting Report.

 

File for unemployment at May 11 “Filing Party”

What: If spring term is over and you are without a teaching assignment, bring your laptop, if you have one, and join your peers to file for Ohio Unemployment Compensation. We will walk you through the unemployment compensation process online and answer any questions you may have.

steve street unemployment compensation initiative

If you teach at the University of Akron and have heard that UA disputes all unemployment compensation claims, you will be interested to know that the university appears to have changed its longtime policy on this issue. Here is what a UA spokesperson said in an April 11, 2013, Akron Beacon Journal story on the issue: “UA spokeswoman Eileen Korey said the university would not appeal claims for unemployment by part-timers who have an expectation of employment from term to term and whose jobs have been eliminated.”

When: Saturday, May 11, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Where: office of New Faculty Majority and the OPTFA. The address is Copley Commons, 2830 Copley Rd., Suite 26, Copley, Ohio 44321.

Join the meeting online: Visit https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/664710805 and log in using Meeting ID: 664-710-805. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended.

Join the meeting by phone: Call in using your telephone. Dial +1 (404) 891-0552. Access Code: 664-710-805. Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting. Meeting ID: 664-710-805

RSVP: to optfa@newfacultymajority.info

Download the event flyer to share with your colleagues.

Get more Event information.