Adjunct faculty are treated like part-time professional experts... because that is what they are. Read More
They are paid by the hour of contact time. It's also seasonal work: if a semester is fifteen weeks, then a school year is ~60% of a full year; someone teaching 6-7 hours, ~1/2 a full load has roughly 30% of a real job in the end.
As a public policy issue, the citizenry should be better informed that in much of higher ed some 70% or more of the Student Full Time Equivalent (SFTE's) credit/contact hours are taught by contract teachers. They get the large lower level courses while the faculty get the smaller upper level speciality courses with the better and more enthusiastic majors, the ones requiring real special expertise.
Truth in labelling would suggest education consumers should be informed of the relative SFTE ratio of institution X, as well as whether each course is being taught by the visible or the invisible faculty - as they were called by a book with that title.
Institutions seek flexible and easily replaceable labor that is convenient for them but not for the adjuncts they hire. Most institutions will set a limit to the number of classes any one adjunct can teach, which means adjuncts are forced to seek employment at various institutions that may be long distances apart (in Southern California where I taught that meant hours stuck in traffic to get from one class to another). Many young and able adjuncts will teach at least 4-5 classes a semester at different institutions to make ends meet. Each class has 30 students on average, that's 150 students total for whom adjuncts are offering support through email and office hours, grading papers, preparing lectures, etc -- if the adjunct lets the ball drop on any of these components due to being overworked, there's negative evaluations to worry about, which mean losing the possibility of getting a class the following semester.
You see many institutions now doing away with their full time positions to hire cheaper adjuncts. If institutions were not looking for easy, flexible labor and actually offered stable employment to these instructors with a steady salary and benefits, you would not be witnessing the outrage you do from adjuncts and their supporters. $50-$70 an hour sure sounds like fair compensation, but with the hours these instructors actually have to put in keeping a single course on track and its students satisfied, the entire set up makes very little sense. It may be doable for many young instructors, but the older you get the harder it is to keep up such a pace.
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I agree that the public should be better informed of this, but I'm not sure they would much care. As I pointed out in my last post ( http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fixing-psychology/201309/why-researc... ), I don't think people have a good understanding of why they would want it to be different.
I agree. You point to the deeper questions that I am still trying to put off until a later post. I hope to have some more satisfying discussion soon. Part of the problem will be to try to determine why people are willing to put up with such bad labor conditions. The whole apple cart could be easily upset, and the colleges could be easily put back on their heels, with one simple rule: If the conditions are that bad, find other work. Again, I'm not saying that is the answer, I'm just saying that the possibility of that answer is what makes the situation hard to evaluate.
Many thanks for the comments!
"The whole apple cart could be easily upset, and the colleges could be easily put back on their heels, with one simple rule: If the conditions are that bad, find other work. Again, I'm not saying that is the answer, I'm just saying that the possibility of that answer is what makes the situation hard to evaluate."
This answer isn't really even a possibility for many people who are teaching. There are people teaching in the humanities, for example, who have a passion for teaching and are not interested in (or even hirable in) industry. Yes, there may be more qualified people on the job market today with PhDs and MAs than ever before, but why are we even talking about what's wrong with the rhetoric surrounding adjuncts? Why aren't we instead examining institutional rhetoric and why institutions are attempting to justify changing their structure of employment to mirror corporations?
"This answer isn't really even a possibility for many people who are teaching."
Of course it is an answer! It is not a desirable option for many people, which is an important, but different point. There are many happy lives available to most people, and everyone should know they have options, so that they can be sure they are making a conscious choice.
"why are we even talking about what's wrong with the rhetoric surrounding adjuncts? Why aren't we instead examining institutional rhetoric and why institutions are attempting to justify changing their structure of employment to mirror corporations?"
No reason other than it being where I decided to start. You are quite right that the other topics must be covered as well! I hope that you continue with me as I try to do that, and that you find that it satisfies some of your concerns with this post.
Thank you for taking the time to respond here.
I do want to clarify, I am talking about those people who go through several rigorous years of graduate school to be able to teach. They are passionate about the work they do and about their students' intellectual growth, and the students also need teachers like this. However, because the academy is now changing to allow for a more enriched executive body rather than a more enriched student body, we are seeing many great instructors left in the dust.
I look forward to reading your future posts and continuing the discussion.
The problem you are presenting is one of logic. While universities are paying contingent faculty for contact hours, faculty in fact do much more. Or do you want us to teach and then be done with it? No grading, no prepping, no emails, no recommendations, no conferencing? Should I go on?
And when you say $50/60 an hour, that sounds fine, but when we say $2700/course, no healthcare, which is the national average today for contingent faculty, then the reality hits: this is not a living wage. While this job of "adjuncting" was supposed to be exactly what that word means--something extra, done by professionals adding to the academy, for their expertise or because they wanted to give back--this is no longer the case. The number of people working as adjuncts has flipped. While before it was 25% who were adjunct, now it is 25% who are tenured, if that. The overwhelming majority of the academic workforce in Higher Ed today is contingent faculty, and that helps no one, not the faculty, certainly, and not the students. It only helps the coffers of a few.
Lastly, you say who cares? Maybe not today, but soon someone will, I think. Because already you see headlines of hurting budgets, of declining students. And sooner or later, this lack of education, this worthless attitude that administrations have shown in the care for the plight of contingent faculty, will come through. But then it might be too late. All the good teachers are leaving. Remember, faculty working conditions are student learning conditions. Who is going to learn, and what, if all good faculty are starved out?
Ana M. Fores Tamayo
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AdjunctJustice
I think we are on the same side here. What I am trying to do at this point is simply to lay out the problem is in a more clear way, for an audience that doesn't really know what is going on. You are exactly right that "adjuncting" is not at all adjunct any more, which is the "hard problem" I have been putting off explicitly for the last two posts, but hope to get to in the next post.
Also, when I point out that most people do not care, I mean the point seriously, with the intention of causing reflection; it was not intended to be sarcastic. I agree with you that people SHOULD care, but we have failed to effectively convince them to. It is a problem, and we do indeed need Adjunct Justice!
Stay tuned... I don't know if you will like the next posts, but I think they will address many of your concerns with my presentation.
(1) According to Duquesne University's official spokesperson, we are paid $14 per hour (look it up). And that's them trying to make our pay levels look *high*. So neither the administration's calculations (nor those of any other informed observer of higher ed) even remotely resemble your $50 per hour figure.
(2) A university is not a business (unlike, for example, a motivational speaker or some other kind of "expert" consultant). In an advanced technological society, you need to have some entity that trains (genuine) experts, makes discoveries, and generates new ideas. All three of these things require the *disinterested* pursuit of truth (i.e., "academic freedom"), which means that we cannot rely on profit-making entites to do the job. (This should be an obvious point, but in case it isn't: if you're a pharmaceutical company, for example, you do *not* have a financial interest in making drugs that are as effective and cheap as possible, since, if you maximize those two things, your profit drops to zero; only if you are *not* in it for the money do you have any hope of making drugs that are as effective and cheap as possible.) Univerisites exist to perform that socially necessary role, and to do so they need to attract the brightest and best. But they won't be able to--and should not--offer exotically high salaries, since, again, they need people committed to the distinterested pursuit of truth, not people who are susceptible to the lure of financial interests (who are exactly what you want if, by contrast, you're running a profit-motivated organization). You have to give these brilliant people a reasonable salary so that they're not fretting about money all the time (since, yet again, that would interfere with their disinterestedness). But you'll need someting else to attract talent, something more than just an acceptable living. So here's the lure: (1) social prestige (people treating college professors with respect), (2) independence to pursue the truth wherever it leads without having to worry about whether it has an obvious payoff or whether it conforms to existing opinions, and (3) job security after a probationary period (i.e., "tenure," which, of course, does *not* mean "guaranteed lifetime employment" since tenured faculty can be fired for incompetence or because the university is short of cash or for a host of other reasons--it just means that the administration has to actually *have* a reason and can't just fire you because your research doesn't conform to popular opinion or because they don't like your necktie). Today's university administrators fail to offer these incentives, which is why universities cannot continue as they are and still continue to perform their social role (which they have an obligation to perform since even private universities--indeed even for-profit universities--are heavily dependent on revenue that ultimately comes from taxpayer dollars and only receive the various benefits of being non-profits because of the benevolence of a public trust). If you want to understand the basics of what a university is, I'd encourage you to read the AAUP's 1915 "Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure."
(3) The United Steelworkers (as you would know if you had bothered to do any research at all before you started opining) is not a union only for steel workers. The United Steelworkers has members that work in steel mills (where the union started) and mines and oil refineres. But it also has workers that are musicians and lawyers and nurses and flight attendants. The philosophy of the USW is grounded in "industrial unionism," which I realize is a confusing term if you don't know much about unions. It means that people who do different work in the same facility should work together; it means that people who work in different facilities should work together; it means that all working people ought to stick up for each other. The opposite of "industrial unionism" is "craft unionism," which means that people who do the same kind of work should stick together and protect the secrets of their craft. So industrial unionism as the USW carries it out has always (as long as the USW has existed) meant maximizing diversity, which is why it should be no surprise that the USW already has locals in several other universities (mostly in Canada). And the USW has also historically been a strong advocate of a cooperative conception of labor-management relations, grounded in the idea that it benefits everyone if the organization is as effective as possible. This conception of labor-management relations comes from our first president, Philip Murray, who was inspired in this respect by Catholic Social Teaching. I have no idea how the UAW does things; they're a different union and different unions are different (isn't that obvious?). But I find your description of the UAW hard to believe. It certainly bears no resemblance of any kind to how we do things, so, even if true, it's completely irrelevant.
(4) The real issue here is this: are students and their families getting the high-quality education they're paying for? They are paying huge sums of money for college--tuition has increased at three times the rate of inflation--and frequently taking out loans so onerous that they have astronomical default rates (and the 25% unemployment rate for new college grads hardly helps). But instead of taking all that tuition revenue and putting it into instruction, Duquense's administration (which is quite typical in this respect) puts only 43% of its revenue towards instruction. The administration refuses to hire full-time, tenure-stream faculty to carry out the University's mission--faculty who have the time to meet with students because they don't have to work multiple jobs to survive (I work three), who have offices in which they can meet privately with students (thus complying with FERPA), who have office telepheones at which students can reach them, who have access to computers provided by their employer to do their job, who have access to photocopiers, secretarial support, etc., etc. Instead, 50% of the faculty at Duqusne (about 500 people) are part-time, and another 500 graduate students also teach courses, while the Trustees pay the President a $700,000 salary. This is not because the tenure-stream faculty are too busy doing exotic research; they all teach either 3/2 or 3/3 loads (which is high--at Georgetown they'd be teaching 2/2 or less). All of my part-time faculty colleagues are so devoted to their students that they go way beyond what they are contractually obligated to do in order to mitigate the damage the administration is doing to the education students are getting; they pay for their own computers out of their tiny pay, they buy their own copies at Kinko's, they spend countless extra hours doing extra work for students who need help or are excited about the material, etc. But they should not have to do so, and, collectively, will not be able to continue doing so in the long term. The administration should not be making it as hard as possible for its employees to carry out the university's mission; if it's going to charge as much as Duquense does (upwards of $40K per year), it should be maximizing the value of the education students are getting. Students and parents should be very angry, and not at the union elected (in an 85% victory) by the adjunct faculty who demonstrate every day that *they* care profoundly about giving students their best.
(5) Since you're so fond of analogies, I'll give you one that's actually appropriate. Imagine that physicians were only employed by large hospitals (because, say, the government only gave its imprimatur to hospitals and not to small practices), and every time you go to see your physician you had a 70% chance of getting a part-time physician (due to a deliberate decision by the hospital's administration). She doesn't have an exam room, so you have to undress in the hall. She has to share a computer with 30 other physicians, so you have to wait a couple of hours for her to retrieve your records. A handful of rich people can go to fancy hospitals whose physicians are overwhelmingly full-timers who are given the things they need to do their job; those people end up quite healthy. But you and I can't go to those hospitals. Wouldn't that piss you off? We could stay home and hope we just heal, no doubt; but shouldn't health care be readily available to everyone? Wouldn't we say that the hospital managers, paying themselves astronomical salaries, where mismanaging someting that ought to be a public trust--indeed, something that claims to be a charity? Not all of this, I should add, is an imaginary scenario. The Pittsburgh health care giant UPMC has a CEO whose desk is so enormous that had to fly it to the top of the US Steel building with a helecopter because it wouldn't fit inside the building any other way; meanwhile, UPMC pays its employees so little that it has established food kitchens so that they don't simply starve to death (since they haven't yet figured out a way to extract labor from enslaved corpses, I guess). This state of affairs, not the highly anomalous circumstances of motivational speakers, is what the real world that most of us live in looks like. That's why our brothers and sisters who work at UPMC are organizing a union. If you think they shouldn't be doing so, then what do you think they should do? Just suck it up and starve? Just get a different job? Well, here in the real world there aren't many of those, and the economic "recovery" has mostly involved replacing what used to be full-time jobs with part-time jobs in almost every industry--so that more and more jobs look like ours in higher ed or theirs in health care. It will keep getting worse unless we do something about it.
So, please, let's start talking about reality instead of some invented fantasy world. Next time you want to publish your views, I would encourage you to do what I'm sure you were taught to do in college: do the research, so that you know what you're talking about, and cite your sources, so that we know that you know what you're talking about. You might find that things are different than you imagined.
I greatly appreciate your reply, and hope that my next few posts do something to address your concerns with this post's presentation. As I made explicit in my last two posts, I have been intentionally avoiding many of the harder parts of this discussion, some of which you allude to. Blog posts are not books, so thoughts are necessarily broken into small pieces that cannot fully take apart a complex problem.
To give some reply here, I'll focus on your 5th point:
First, yes, I love that analogy. This is exactly the problem! For some reason, we would never put up with this this regarding a physician, but we do with faculty. I understand that you want to focus your efforts on stopping colleges from letting that happen. Such efforts strike me as important. Because of my background, I want to spend some of my effort trying to determine exactly why people will put up with such things in this context. I hope you do not mind that we approach this problem from different directions.
Also, I am not anti-union, by any means. However, the normal (not exclusive) context for a union is to mediate between "labor" and "management". The UPMC case, from what little you described, seems a clear case of that. I am not convinced (though I could be wrong) that faculty, of any kind, should be considered "labor" within that tradition scheme. I hope you do not mind that I explore other ways of trying to understand how academia should operate.
I was not lying when I said I appreciate your feedback and the amount of time it must have taken to write it. Please stay with me, and see if you are not more satisfied with where I end up.
Thank you for your gracious reply, but I fail to see how any follow-up blog posts could make your false statements any less false. In your reply, you've just added yet further errors.
For example, a union does *not* "mediate between 'labor' and 'management.'" That is "anti-union" propaganda. The union *is* "labor." I am not "mediat[ing] between" myself and my employer. The difference between having a union and not having one is the difference between a contract between the employer and a *group* of employees and a contract between the employer and a *single* employee. That's why it's called "collective bargaining." You do not become a third party to yourself just by working with others.
"Labor" refers to the employees, and "management" refers to the employer. The idea that some employees don't count as "labor" is "anti-union" propaganda. If you're doing work of any kind in exchange for compensation of any kind, you have a natural right to form a union, if you wish. US labor law has all kinds of completely irrational restrictions on what kinds of employees can form unions, of course, but those restrictions came about as a result of the deliberate efforts of individuals trying to undermine collective bargaining rights. If you want a more sensible conception of these matters, you should look at the discussion of labor rights in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (which is available from the Vatican's website), or, if you'd prefer to keep it secular, you might have a look at the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (article 8).
Thank you for your reply. I guess I have two questions, that might be just out of ignorance.
In my limited experience (and limited knowledge of labor history), most unions start out with their staff composed of employees who band together, and these small, company-specific unions seem to well match your description. However, pretty quickly, as unions become larger, and band with other unions, at some point it seems as if the union requires its own independent staff and administration. For example, from what I know of Leo Gerard, he seems like a really great guy, who at one point was indeed a steelworker, but is no longer. He certainly isn't a university employee. If he was, miraculously, to show up in Pennsylvania to help with your efforts, that would be a good thing. However, I am unsure how to view it as anything other than an outside force coming in to mediate. How am I thinking about this wrong?
You say ... " 'Labor' refers to the employees, and 'management' refers to the employer. The idea that some employees don't count as "labor" is "anti-union" propaganda." ... But there is no sense in which a department head, dean, or even provost is the "employer"! To make things more muddled, most department heads, a large number of deans, and even some presidents and provosts, rotate in and out of being regular faculty members. There is no "owner", no "capitalist" in the classic sense. The closest you have to an employer, legally, is usually the board of trustees, who, at most colleges, know little about what is going on, and don't control day to day decisions. Further, one of the main perks of being a full-time faculty member is that no one tells you what to do with most of your day or how to do it. Even in the case of adjuncts, the amount of flexibly most enjoy in terms of what they teach in their class and how they teach it is huge. I do not think it is impossible for unions to be helpful in such contexts, but isn't this a VERY different situation than most that involve unions?
Also, not a question, just a statement: I completely agree with you about how bad US labor laws are on this point. I don't understand why anyone should ever be legally restricted from forming a union. (I don't always think it is a good idea, but I absolutely think anyone should have the right to do it.)
Sorry for the delay in replying, Eric. It's Campus Equity Week, so we've been busy.
On your first question about unions as an "outside force coming in to mediate": Leo Gerard began as a miner (not a steel worker), and he was elected to the contract bargaining team for his union by his coworkers. In that role, he acted as an *agent* of that group of workers collectively. But he did not become an "ouside force" by virtue of being elected to that position. When a group of local unions join together into a larger affiliate, they are doing the same thing that individual workers do when they join together in their workplace: they are choosing to act collectively. Once joined together, they do not become alien to themselves; the United Steelworkers just is its local unions. Leo Gerard was elected International President by a vote of every member of every local union of the United Steelworkers, just like he was elected to the bargaining team in his local years ago. The process doesn't magically change when you scale it up.
Now it's true that the USW International employs, for example, attorneys, who are not employed by any USW local. So there is, in that sense, something over and above the locals. But the International (just like a local's elected bargaining team) is just an agent of the locals, which does not make it a third party. As an analogy, suppose you decide to enter into a pre-nuptual agreement with a prospective spouse; both of you would hire attorneys for that purpose, but the attorneys are just your *agents*. They do not become parties to the contract, and when you're married, the attorneys aren't also married to either of you or to one another. By contrast, a judge *is* an "outside force coming into mediate," since she is not an agent of either party. (The corresponding "outside force" in a labor context would an arbitrator from FMCS or the like, the NLRB, or a state labor relations board.)
On your second question: Suppose our friend Dale makes shoes and sells them. If Dale hires Pete to help him out (entering into an employment contract), then Dale is the employer and Pete is the employee. But suppose Dale is impressed by Pete and proposes a partnership, and suppose they then incorporate the business so that it becomes Dale & Pete's Shoes Inc. At that point, Dale is no longer the employer. Both Dale and Pete are employees of Dale & Pete's Shoes Inc. Now there are all sorts of reasons to think that there's something unreasonable about creating these corporate persons, since their main purpose is to limit the liability of the humans involved; but that's how state-corporate capitalism does things. And a university is just such an entity--in fact, the main legal precdent for the modern business corporation in the US is an 1811 federal case, Dartmouth v. Woodward. In other words, universities in the US are in some sense the original corporations. So if you work for a university, the university itself is your employer. Its employees include a President, Provost, Deans, Chairs, Faculty, Staff, Student workers, etc. All of those people are employees, so under international law and Catholic Social Teaching, they have a right to form a union if they want one. Trustees are a bit different because (depending on how the university is structured), the Board of Trustees often techincally owns the University and individual Trustees are sometimes not compensated for their activities. So Trustees would not be employees, since they do not have an employment contract wih the University. They are analogous to the shareholders in a publicly-traded corporation or the investors in a start-up. Administrators act as their agents (i.e., as agents for the University as a corporate person). So when a union negotiates with management, the people it is negotiating with are (as individual persons) fellow employees, however supervisory, but they are also (as agents of the corporation) represetnatives of the employer itself. This is true of all labor negotiations, and there is no way at all in which universities are different.
You say (in an apparently unrelated note) that the autonomy that faculty have in performing their job somehow makes them different from other workers. But all job descriptions differ, and all sorts of jobs (both "professional" and non-"professional") involve varying degress of autonomy. So what? Your level of autonomy is a condition of employment that you can negotiate in a collective bargaining agreement. In the absence of such an agreement (as in the case of most adjunct faculty), you have no real autonomy at all--if the administration wants to fire you, they can fire you for any reason at all, including what you say or don't say in your classroom or what you say or don't say in your research. Not having a contractual remedy (or a remedy at law) for academic freedom violations means that you have no real academic freedom. That's why it's a good idea to have a contact. An individual contract will almost certainly not have favorable terms, since, as an individual, the power differential between you and the employer is huge. That's why we bargain collectively.
Anyway, your idea that the professional autonomy of faculty makes their situation categorically different looks especially absurd from the standpoint of the United Steelworkers because (as I said before) we already represent countless different kinds of "professionals"--from nurses to lawyers to pharmacists to faculty. Again, I refer you back to my discussion of industrial unionism. I would hasten to add that the discourse of higher education faculty as "professionals" is a relatively recent (early 20th-century) invention, and its main purpose was to assert a specific class status. To put it very bluntly, this discourse about our "professional" status is elitist class snobbery whose structural function is to discourage faculty from recognizing their shared interests with other workers on campus--thus maintaining a situation in which administrators have absolute power and can continue running higher education into the ground. If we're going to save higher education, we're going to need to *do* something, and if you don't want to do it through unions I'd be curious to know how you do want to do it. Shall we form a committee? Produce a report? Vote on a resolution in the faculty senate? Go to the President's office and ask nicely? Maybe you've noticed, but these have been done--and haven't done much.
Since I cannot just put LIKE on your comment, I will reply that I love your comment. I cannot answer to all you say about unions because I do not know them per se, but from a contingent faculty point of view, you have hit the nail on the head: "To put it very bluntly, this discourse about our "professional" status is elitist class snobbery whose structural function is to discourage faculty from recognizing their shared interests with other workers on campus--thus maintaining a situation in which administrators have absolute power and can continue running higher education into the ground."
AS long as the administration wants to do this, as long as they are not willing to listen --and you have noted such in the end, when you state that we have done all these things and more, indeed!-- we will have the right to form a union, even in places where no such rights exist. There will be a way, because the situation, as it exists presently, is doomed for failure, and in the end, not only is faculty suffering, but students, the future of society, are the ones who will lose in the end.
Ana M. Fores Tamayo
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AdjunctJustice
October 28 - November 2 is Campus Equity Week. Learn more at www.campusequityweek.org/2013
No. Adjuncts do not romanticize and the rhetoric they are tormented by is administrations and tenured faculty. We did not come up with the term "adjunct professors." We did not expect to go to graduate school to become part-time slave-labor. We are unionized in most states through the AFL-CIO's AFT and through the NEA (American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association not to be confused with the National Endowment for the Arts. The author of the Adjunct Rhetoric article would be wise to further research the dilemma in higher academic and professional education that adjuncts have been forced (yes, forced. This is not an existential problem either philosophically or psychologically. This is mismanagement, degradation of higher education and educators. This is a politically mastered effort to deform education as much as possible because an educated population is a dangerous population against politicians, policymakers and other psychopathic types or other greedy thoughtless corrupt types. Blame the adjuncts? Blame the victims. Next time I hope the author will talk to a lot of adjuncts from different states and different colleges and universities to discover the truth behind adjunct "rhetoric." And consider the consequences of not being at least philosophically supportive of reforming and recovering higher education and education across the board from nursery school to post-graduate school and beyond. Nothing is more important for human development than education because knowledge is power and power complemented by careful thinking, understanding, insight and wisdom must never be threatened to death in a country that is still free (at least, somewhat even if still debatable.) My name is Margins aka Fringe. Ah, yes, we must exist just so the main stream and ruling class can continue to encourage more hunger, anger, frustration, rebellion, revolution, oppression, hate, love, and well, so on and on and on and on. . . . .ad nauseum. Oh, by the way, I and many other educators of any and all strata have gone through hell and back and hell and back again and again just to get wherever we are now. Compassion would be appreciated and reserving judgement gives in return much thanks. Adjunctivitist is a term we adjuncts do use. It's not romanticized, it's not pity-talk, it's the truth, the damn freaking truth. Tragic.
A very belated follow up post: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fixing-psychology/201312/adjunct-professors-and-unions
I don't know if the decision that came down is at all applicable to the situation of adjuncts, but... you know those Fed-Ex delivery guys? The ones with the Fed-Ex trucks, and the Fed-Ex uniforms, and the Fed-Ex scanners? Turns out they weren't really Fed-Ex employees after all, like everyone would naturally assume. They were independent contractors! (they had to buy their uniforms, rent the scanners, etc., etc.)
Well, the court ruled under the "if it quacks like a duck..." principle that they were in fact employees, and all that goes along with that.
The suit had been in the pipeline for so long that Fed-Ex had already seen the light and changed their course of conduct so now they only contract with corporations who have employees.
No matter what you do the swindlers and lawyers (same thing) win.
No good deed goes unpunished. Where there is a way, there is the will to twist. When there are the means, there is the will to turn. Twist and turn with enough power, something will emerge distorted, disabled, and deformed Or
No good deed goes unpunished. Where there is a will, there is a way to twist. When there is the will, there are the means to turn. Twist and turn with enough power, something will emerge distorted, disabled, and deformed OR something will ascend that may transcend willpower with conscientious awareness for what is fair, yet, unfortunately, all too rare. So, instead of becoming discouraged or hopelessly indifferent we continue to care, share and dare with the spirit of becoming more humanely human and more deeply focused and committed to a real interweaving complement of individual freedom and social compassion that may enhance our raison d'etre. And please understand, I never say it's going to be easy--only extraordinarily necessary. And that is self-evident--no matter what we assume to be real. We construct, destruct, create, relate and refine. . . "There is a season turn, turn, turn. . . ."
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Eric Charles, Ph.D., runs the research lab at CTRL, the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning, at American University.
When and how should we open up to loved ones?