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Part time profs now want in on unionization

Full time benefits, SEIU, Salaries, Benefits

Part time profs now want in on unionization

 - Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh  Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I never liked reading the Washington Post because it is exclusively a leftist paper. However, there are views that are important to ponder in order to stay informed of the disastrous direction our country is being forced towards by a minority of Americans who lust to live in socialist Europe. I wonder why the left “suffers” in our “socially unjust” country when we would gladly buy them a one-way ticket to the communist paradise of their choice.

A Saturday’s column, “A better professor, thanks to the union,” irritated me because it was full of misrepresentations and distortions of truth. The author, Bob Lehrman, may truly believe his hypothesis and may not be disingenuous, the favorite current media euphemism for “lying.” I am also irritated because the leftists are trying to regulate and control every aspect of our daily lives, including education.

Lehrman advocates that adjunct professors should join a union such as SEIU because their membership would strengthen colleges. SEIU organizes labor in three sectors: health care, public service, and property services.

I am not sure membership in SEIU would strengthen any college, but I am sure that guaranteed employment would turn faculty into phantom tenured professors. It is rare that the professor of record ever shows up for his or her class, they are too busy writing for publication, conferencing, writing grants, or giving speeches to like-minded leftists to be bothered with teaching. Tenured “teaching” is relegated to graduate teaching assistants who try their best to explain difficult material that is often over their heads.

Once tenured, it is nearly impossible to get rid of a teacher or a professor

As a former teacher, I can attest that most union members of the high school or collegiate lot are actually very poor teachers. Once tenured, it is nearly impossible to get rid of a teacher or a professor, no matter how dismal his/her performance is in the classroom. That is if they are in the classroom at all. They are busy making the lecture circuit, the conference circuit, and research for research’s sake circuit. They are the advertised professor for the course but a lowly graduate teaching assistant with little supervision is the de facto teacher. Often they do not speak English very well because they come from China, India, Pakistan, or other such far-away places. They have no training but try very hard. The department head is obligated to give them classes to teach because the deans have already hired them and cannot rescind the assistantship because it comes hand in hand with their graduate school attendance in fields that most Americans eschew like mathematics, chemistry, and physics.

American students who pay very high tuition for top-notch education are frustrated by their inability to understand the lectures and their instructor’s thick accents. How is that a better college?
Lehrman believes that Adjunct Professors are treated unfairly as they have no offices, no benefits, few perks, and are fired at a moment’s notice. “They need a union.”

I have been an adjunct for 25 years and never understood that it was anything else but a temporary, part-time job that I chose to do in addition to my full load at a different university. I did not need benefits, I did not expect them, and I did not demand them.  I do not think any private sector part-time jobs offer any perks or special treatment. I signed my contract each semester, agreed to the pay, and joyfully taught my adjunct classes.

I never had a union represent me when I signed my yearly contract for my full-time teaching job. I knew my expertise and the outstanding teaching job and excellent results were enough reflection of my ability and a passport to a new contract every year. We accepted the negotiated contract by the state according to our years of experience and education. I was an indispensable part of the organization. When I retired, four part-time teachers were hired to replace me because none of them could do alone what I did and was educated to do.

Bob Lehrman thinks that a “unionized workforce can make teachers better.” This statement is laughable on its face value because standardized tests reveal that unionized teachers perform in the bottom 50th percentile on National Teacher Exams. There are special rooms in the school districts in New York where truly bad teachers are paid outrageous salaries to spend all day playing solitaire because unions prevent administrators from firing them.

Salaries and benefits of over $100,000 for nine months of below average work for a bachelor’s degree

“Collective Bargaining is fair,” says Bob. Really? Salaries and benefits of over $100,000 for nine months of below average work for a bachelor’s degree is fair when the private sector pays $40,000 for twelve months of work.

“Collective bargaining gives adjuncts a better deal,…it creates an advantage even Scott Walker might like.” I noticed that Lehrman says nothing about what is good and important for students who pay the tuition and sometimes have to suffer the socialist indoctrination presented to them on a daily basis. The typical leftist view of egotistical self-interest is coached in doing it for the children. The same children were kept out of school for weeks during the strike in Wisconsin.

Striking in academia should be against the law and it is in some states because it places the self-interest of teachers driven by union membership against the public interest of students’ education.

We all watched in dismay as teachers in Wisconsin abandoned their classrooms, dragged their students for weeks on end to protests that they did not understand, taught them that lying is acceptable as long as it is for a good cause, while accepting and presenting bogus sick excuses from bogus doctors.

Mr. Lehrman, I have sound advice for adjunct professors who make it a career of “adjuncting” in various places in order to have a full time job – perhaps they should move to an area that hires people full-time instead of accepting part-time work and demanding full-time benefits with the help of the thuggish SEIU union bosses. We do not need any more unions telling us how to educate our children and what venues their education should take.


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Comment by Sandra on June 30, 2011 at 8:12pm
Of course they do, they want that FREE stuff too!






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