Sept. 29, 2014

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Contingent committee plans for activism

uupdate 9-29-14

Political allies are necessary for UUP to end the exploitation of contingent academic and professional faculty.

UUP President Fred Kowal, second from left, conveyed that message to members of the Contingent Employment Committee during the group’s Sept. 27-28 retreat in Albany. Also pictured are ESF Chapter member Dan Reeder, left, and Farmingdale Chapter member Doug Cody.

“We need to work to get supporters elected to the state Legislature and Congress,” Kowal told nearly two dozen committee members at the meeting. They also discussed ways to help contingent faculty achieve better job security and wages.

Kowal urged committee members to volunteer to help elect pro-labor, pro-education candidates in November, and to encourage their colleagues to do the same. As political activists, contingent employees can play a key role in helping to bring about a progressive majority in the state Senate.

UUP’s work with NYSUT to support key candidates in the September primaries made a difference in important races around the state. Now it’s time to focus on the November election, Kowal said.

Kowal told the group that all the UUP officers will continue volunteering side by side with other UUP members through Election Day. VPA Jamie Dangler, VPP Philippe Abraham, and Secretary Eileen Landy joined Kowal at the retreat.

Contingent employment issues

CEC co-chairs Carolyn Kube from Stony Brook HSC and J McDermott from Oneonta led the meeting. Committee members at the retreat came from all campus types - comprehensive colleges, technology sector and specialized campuses, university centers, and health sciences centers.

Committee members discussed a range of issues UUP is working on, including low pay, inadequate notice for non-renewals, a lack of office space for part-time employees on some campuses, and little or no advance notification of whether employees will be hired from one semester to the next.

Committee member Bill Giangarra of Stony Brook HSC (pictured with Cindy Reidi of Morrisville, left, and Cindy Fuller of Oswego) stressed that UUP should take its case for contingents to the public—and particularly to parents of SUNY students. Students are impacted because many contingent employees work at more than one campus to eke out a living; many lack the time and support services they need on campus to optimally serve students.

“We can show how the public is not getting the value they should, with SUNY students unable to get the courses they need and facing delayed graduations,” he said.

Dangler and Abraham told the committee about recent steps UUP has taken to work with University Faculty Senate leaders regarding contingents. The union will continue to press legislators to address the need for adequate SUNY funding to transition qualified part-time employees into more stable full-time positions.

Dangler summarized contract items pursued by UUP during the last round of negotiations and the committee reviewed possible contract proposals to address low pay, job security, and other items of importance to part-time and full-time contingent employees. Committee members also worked on a resolution and position statement that will be proposed to the UUP leadership in the near future and developed a schedule and division of labor to follow-up on these projects.

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