The American Federation of Teachers, one of MEA-MFT's two national affiliates, has created a new e-newsletter dedicated to the AFT’s Faculty and College Excellence (FACE) campaign and other issues related to academic staffing in higher education.
In this edition: AFT introduces the FACE Collective Bargaining Toolkit; new accreditation resources available; what's happening in the states?; AFT President Randi Weingarten suggests U.S. News & World Report re-examine how it ranks colleges; and AFT urges TIAA-CREF to promote fair labor standards.
Introducing the FACE Collective Bargaining Toolkit
Looking to put academic staffing issues front and center at the bargaining table? From assessing your local's structure to saying thank you, the FACE Collective Bargaining Toolkit covers all of the basics for designing a powerful campaign that can help your members achieve a more equitable academic staffing structure through negotiations, lay the groundwork for taking FACE beyond the bargaining table, and in the process, strengthen your union.
New accreditation resources available
We have spent a serious amount of time reading through accreditation manuals, policies and standards to see what the regional accrediting bodies had to say about academic staffing. All of that work is now available to you here on the FACE site under the FACE Toolkit tab with summaries of each agency's standards and links to their sites or documents that the information comes from.
We are hoping that you will look it over and give us some feedback about what is helpful, what is not, what we missed and especially what your experience is with the accrediting agencies around the issue of academic staffing.
What's happening in the states?
A lot, actually! In Ohio, faculty, graduate employees, administrators, legislators, and other stakeholders came together for a day-long summit on academic staffing that explored the current trends and lived experiences of the contemporary academic workforce. Among the recommendations coming out of the summit - hold similar summits on individual campuses in Ohio, mobilize on behalf of legislation granting graduate employees and contingent faculty collective bargaining rights, form a working group composed of faculty, administrators, and policy makers to further the dialogue, and urge the state to provide transparent and regular data reports on college staffing.
In Kentucky, following a decision by the state Attorney General that the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Board of Regents overstepped their legal authority in eliminating tenure for faculty in March 2009, the Board of Regents unanimously reversed that decision, restoring the tenure process for hundreds of faculty members in the system. AFT President Randi Weingarten weighed in to praise the decision, as did the AFT in conjunction with the AAUP.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts has joined the growing list of states who are attempting to address the academic staffing crisis through legislation. In late September, H1110, "An Act to Maintain Faculty and College Excellence in the Commonwealth," received a hearing in front of Massachusetts Joint Committee on Higher Education.
Just over the border in Rhode Island, the Rhode Island College/AFT Adjunct Faculty Union ratified a first contract that took giant steps forward in terms of job security, seniority, academic freedom, and scheduled pay raises.
Finally, it looks like the Wall Street Journal finally got around to noticing that Wisconsin granted faculty members in the state's university system collective bargaining rights this past summer, providing them with an excellent opportunity to recycle their standard re-heated union-bashing talking points.
AFT President Randi Weingarten on USN&WR college rankings
After we discovered that some of the data used by U.S. News and World Report were a little off, AFT President Randi Weingarten offered assistance in helping them craft criteria on academic staffing that might be a little more useful for their readers. As of this writing, we're still waiting on them to take President Weingarten up on her generous offer.
AFT urges TIAA-CREF to promote fair labor standards
As an organization, the AFT is concerned not only with the working conditions of faculty and staff in higher education, but also with promoting fair labor standards for all workers.
The AFT Executive Council recently continued that commitment by urging TIAA-CREF to promote better corporate governance and social responsibility among the companies in which it invests. A significant number of AFT members in higher education have their pensions invested in TIAA-CREF.
In response to concerns raised by those members, the Council unanimously passed a resolution entitled "Aligning TIAA-CREF Investment Policies with Participant Ethical Standards."
To share your stories, ideas and suggestions, be sure to send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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