Monday, June 28, 2010

NFM press release re EWU Adjuncts

Have you written on behalf of the EWU adjuncts yet? Whether or not you have, feel free to make use of the following NFM press release addressing East-West University's recent mass abrogation of adjunct summer contracts. Join us in denouncing and deploring) ~ blog, tweet, forward, distribute to mailing lists, send to college press and local newspapers, social media, etc.

So far, EWU vs adjuncts has not picked up much traction in mainstream or local media. We'd like to see that change. Do whatever you can think of to get the word out. Don't forget to cc For your convience, EWU contact information page with email, snail, telephone and fax, and another with links to Chicago newspapers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2010 (download pdf)

Akron, Ohio – New Faculty Majority: The National Coalition for Adjunct & Contingent Equity faxed a letter today to East-West University Chancellor, Dr. Mohammad Wasiullah Kahn, condemning the Chicago area university's mass firing of its adjunct faculty and urging him to restore their contracts. This letter was also copied to U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

East-West University is a private university which this month faced the prospect of faculty unionization after the Illinois Education Association (IEA) filed a petition seeking an election to represent part-time faculty. In an unprecedented act of union-busting, East-West University announced that it would not hire any contingent faculty for the summer term, effectively making them ineligible to participate in the election. The university also announced that prior to being rehired in the fall, contingent faculty members would be required to interview with the Chancellor. New Faculty Majority calls this abominable action for what it is: a clear attempt to squelch free speech and to retaliate against those who contributed to the unionization effort.

The University's claims that its decisions are based on factors unrelated to the union drive are disingenuous at best and a clear pretext for union-busting at worst. On even the most casual review they suggest the possibility of illegal activity. NFM calls on Illinois lawmakers and the Departments of Labor and Education to investigate the University's actions in order to protect the rights of its faculty and to send a strong message to other higher education institutions that such actions will not be tolerated.

In its letter, NFM reminds the Chancellor that efforts to secure collective bargaining efforts are fully protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act as "concerted activity for mutual aid and protection" (29 U.S.C. 157). NFM also points out that this principle is recognized universally, including by the Unitied Nations in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests" (Article 23.4).

Over seventy percent of the faculty at East-West University are on contingent appointments. This classification means that they are part-time or adjunct faculty whose employment depends entirely upon such factors as enrollment, funding, and, in the absence of collective bargaining, arbitrary decisions by administrators, thus jeopardizing their academic freedom and making them particularly vulnerable to this sort of retaliatory action. This is a growing trend on American college and university campuses, where institutions of higher education have become increasingly reliant on overworked and underpaid contingent faculty.

New Faculty Majority has emerged as an advocacy group working on behalf of adjunct and contingent faculty on American college and university campuses with membership in nearly every state in the country. As a coalition that includes union members and nonmembers, NFM is working with all organizations and individuals committed to improving the quality of American higher education by treating all of its faculty with dignity and fairness.


Maria Maisto, President

Matt Williams, Vice President

Ph: (202) 580-8341

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