July 26, 2017

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UUP backs reinstatement of Barnard College adjunct

uupdate 7-6-17

UUP supports the reinstatement of Georgette Fleischer, the Barnard College adjunct professor and labor activist who claims she lost her job because of her work to unionize adjuncts at the college.

"This action has been received with alarm across the academic community of adjuncts and their full-time colleagues within and outside of New York State," UUP President Fred Kowal said in a July 5 letter to Barnard College President Sian Beilock. "The appearance of retaliation for union activity may undermine the strong standing of Barnard as a distinguished leader of higher education."

He continued: “UUP members across the state… are part of the academic community of adjuncts and tenure-track faculty who stand in solidarity with Dr. Fleischer and UAW Local 2110. We hope you will consider reappointing Dr. Fleischer to her teaching position. That would send a strong message of support for employees’ right to participate in union work without risking job loss or any other form of retaliation.”

UUP members can express their support for Fleischer by posting a comment on the Facebook page for Barnard Contingent Faculty, UAW Local 2110. You will need a Facebook account to post a comment.

On July 14, Barnard Contingent Faculty leaders sent a letter to Beilock that highlighted a “set of facts that call into serious question” the administration’s decision to non-renew Fleischer. The letter cites Kowal's letter to Beilock.

Last month, Fleischer, a longtime Barnard adjunct who formed Barnard Contingent Faculty in 2015, told Inside Higher Ed that Barnard administrators decided not to rehire her for the fall in retaliation for her union activism. The college denies those claims.

“This is one of the worst betrayals of my life,” she told Inside Higher Ed. “I wanted to unionize to create conditions that would strengthen and preserve jobs. Now Barnard’s administration has finally realized its long-held dream of getting rid of me.”

In a statement to Inside Higher Ed, the college said there is “no basis for the claim that we make appointment decisions based on union activism. To be clear, union activism was not and will never be a consideration in staffing our courses.”

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