September 25, 2016

Adjunct calls for solidarity

A letter to the editor from Steve Findley, adjunct philosophy professor

I am a long-term adjunct at Webster, in philosophy, and I am working to help unionize the adjuncts.

Webster adjuncts who manage to make a living given Webster’s meager and unjust salary are the adjuncts who don’t depend on Webster’s wages to live. I mean the ones who have full-time jobs in the private sector, are retired and living on pensions or have spouses who work for employers that pay just and decent salaries.

Adjuncts who exclusively count on their adjunct wages have to cobble together courses from several universities in order to get by at a bare subsistence level. I know one adjunct who put it this way: “I work at Trader Joe’s so I can afford to teach at Webster.”

What does this mean? It means that Webster retains its adjuncts because someone else is picking up a large portion of our living expenses.

Webster operates the same way Walmart does: it passes on the cost of its personnel to others. It’s shameful, and conflicts with a basic principle of justice that you pay for what you get.

For these reasons and others, it is time for Webster adjuncts to unionize. Knowing our full-time faculty and staff colleagues and our students, we know we can count on their help and solidarity!

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