Union busting techniques at work!

Cynthia Brooke |

When I worked at a state university a few years ago I saw the raw deal that adjunct professors had. A majority of them didn't hold full-time jobs elsewhere. They weren't hired to teach a single course for one term. They had been at the university for years, performing the same duties as full professors without the same pay. At the university I was at, full professors often did no research. So the main difference between the adjunt and full professors was in pay and benefits.

Adjunct professors often aren't entitled to benefits such as health care and retirement plans, and they are usually not given offices. At the university I was at they had to share office space. I know of once case where five adjunct professors shared an office the size of my walk-in closet. On top of that, they often had to teach at several universities to cobble together a living.

So, this union busting strategy of East-West University is no surprise.

According to Higher Ed, a few days after the Illinois branch of the National Education Association filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a union election to represent adjuncts at East-West University, they all received a letter. It said that all of the adjuncts were no longer employed, and would not be employed for the summer, and that full-timers would teach classes to be offered.

That will be difficult, since the university has 1,200 students and only about 18 full-time faculty members. It is only able to function with the teaching of more than 50 adjuncts.

The university claims that this action has nothing to do with the union drive going on. It's all just a coincidence.

Sounds fishy to me.