Adjunct Faculty Threatened with Jail for Protesting — Solidarity with World Teachers

A strike is illegal for public employees under the Taylor Law. Adjuncts are fined two days’ pay for every day they strike.

Yeah, we have it all here at DV, “School Yard Fights,” around busting up lower, middle, higher education. You know, the project on a new dumber- than-dumb America, where dogs eat dogs and we work our fingers to the bone and enjoy the you-know-what-in-the-rear-end around accepting slave wages and shut the eff up, thank you very MUCH! Or else . . . . We see the smiles of the One Percent and 19 Percent raking in 95 percent of all profits and rebounding (sic) after the great Banking Collapse (sic). And golly, we make how much in 1960-equivalent wages? Well, surprise-surprise — they say $5 an hour, but they are idiots. Ever see how much it costs just to have a phone and stay quasi-lobotomized by watching even basic cable? The more people means more money managing our poverty, our indebtedness, our poor health, broken cars, evictions, time in jail, job-job-job coaching, all of it that the One Percent and Nineteen Percent do to make money in our sacrifice zones and disaster capitalism and free market bombing of communities. We are the Consumopithecus Anthropocene, but also the “Fee Species.” Who pay-pay-pay fees for every living and sleeping twitch of the face, tremor of the hand, swallowing of the spit. And those fees just didn’t pop up over night. They popped up because WE HAVE failed as educators, leaders of education, and administrators of education. Oh, for, hmm, 3 decades, the wrecking crew has done its deed.

“School Yard Fights” also highlights the massive exploitation of adjunct faculty, graduate workers, post-doc researchers, custodial staff, groundskeepers — again, the lower 80 percent on campuses where the super-star faculty and the money grubbing administrators rule the roost and take education down the proverbial crapper.  The higher education scam — throwing dollars by the billions at Admin Class and Deanlets and all those leaches at the top. Can’t forget about the pork barrel trough, all those localities and statewide privateers who profit BIG TIME delivering all the goods, services and construction projects to the universities. Get rid of universities and colleges and PK12, and, magic wand, entire large businesses go down. They love to attack teachers and students, but live off the thing called Higher Education.

Just what we need, luxury dorms, athletic centers that would shame those of the NFL, and a constant drumbeat of state legislators and chamber of commerce craps who have positioned themselves at the front of the line — all the profits, zero taxes, and reaping ALL that a college education or campus give to their master-slave working relationship with us, the people.

As you will see below, this is rare, a strike, by precarious faculty in the USA (oh, other countries’ DNA is more inclinded to protest and revolutionary motion, to be sure, as witnessed in all sorts of countries where the teachers and students STRIKE). Precarious faculty, Part-time, not-on-the-tenure-track,  AKA adjuncts. We aren’t making much, really, in toto — think pennies on the dollar compared to ADMIN class, and certainly less than 40 percent of what full-time faculty on tenure get paid. Never shall we see equal pay for equal work.

This is in New York, Nassau Community College, adjuncts, downtrodden, many long in the tooth, and, alas, just see how righteous their fight is and then see the spin-out-of-common-sense crap coming from Newsday  and the Newsday comments section. Disgusting. We’ve seen the pitting of American worker against American worker.

Thanks for your support. We are in this for the long haul. I am about to defy an injunction. You might have to communicate with me at the local jail. Until then, we need bodies on the picket line and any other support the adjuncts in our country can give us.

Stay in touch.  “Everyone, let’s go,” Charles Loiacono said. “Let’s pick up the signs. We’re on strike.”

From Newsday:

The 3,000-member union of adjuncts — part-time faculty — has been working without a contract since 2010. Loiacono said the membership voted in May to authorize a strike.

The Nassau Community College adjunct faculty union went on strike Monday for the first time since 1982 after the school’s board of trustees voted down a proposed contract settlement.

Some trustees said they had not helped to negotiate the proposed pact — pointing to County Executive Edward Mangano’s office as doing that — and said it would take too heavy a toll on the 24,000-student college’s financial resources.

Be aware that teachers worldwide are being hit in the head with US-made tear-gas (okay, Israeli- and EU-manufactured, too) and sprays from water cannons, and rubber bullets, batons and live ammunition. Think Mexico City. And, try and read anything impartial about the strike there on mainstream mush news, even mainstream faux liberal news, Huffington Post. It’s all about how traffic is snarled and the engines of economic exploitation are coming to a screeching halt. The liberals and neoliberals and conservatives and business class think those Mexican teachers should be locked up, fired, and, well, in their heart of hearts, DISAPPEARED.

Wimps we are as a nation here, to have teachers in Chicago and nurses in California make the biggest noise, and sickness prevails to allow the pundits in America to rail against teachers who are paid diddly-squat. They are the first line of many defenses for Mexico or any country, duh — think educator, mentor, social worker, psychologist, nutritionist, jobs coach, inspiration, motivator, and, well, on and on and on, including parent! So we deserve what from the neoliberal pigs and the asleep at the wheel masses? Defamation? Insults? Slugs coming from US-made semi-automatics?

mexico city teacher protests

Teachers—whose unprecedented strikes and massive, militant protests by the tens of thousands have shaken Mexico over the past week—may be headed for a violent confrontation with the government as they call for a general strike tomorrow.

As the strikes and demonstrations led by the National Coordinating Committee (la CNTE), a rank-and-file caucus within the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE), have become more extensive and militant, the government of Enrique Peña Nieto has become more intransigent.

Some fear the government may strike out against the teachers now, others think it will act after Congress passes the president’s agenda. Everyone fears that Mexican history could be about to repeat itself.

It is a history in which the police and army have been used over and over to crush militant unions, peasant organizations, student protesters, and other movements for democracy. But if Peña Nieto decides to use force to put down the teachers’ movement, it will come at great political cost—removing the veneer of democracy from what he has called his “new” Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

– See more at: Labor Notes.

Finally, Part One of Four Parts —  The Inheritance:  

Harold Mayer’s much honored documentary film (1964) shows what life was really like for immigrants and working Americans from the turn of the century on.  Their struggle to put down roots, form labor unions, survive wars, and demand their rights ultimately created a new and better life for themselves and our nation.

THE INHERITANCE was a first prize winner at festivals around the world. The London Financial Times wrote: “It must become one of the films of our time. Anyone who failed to be moved by it is spiritually dead.” The NY Times: “Memorable—with shattering pictorial effects.”

THE INHERITANCE explores a landscape largely unknown to the present generation—the dim sweatshops, coal mines and textile mills filled with children; the anxious years of the depression and labor’s bloody struggle for the right to organize, including the seldom seen newsreel footage of the massacre at the Republic Steel strike in Chicago.

The innovative use of still photos and rare stock footage broke new ground that influenced filmaking for years to come. Dialogued stills and footage feature the voices of many great actors. Music sung by Judy Collins, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton and others are a joy to hear.  The original theme song says:

“Freedom doesn’t come like a bird on the wing,

Doesn’t come down like the summer rain,

Freedom, Freedom, is a hard won thing

And every generation has to win it again.”

Narrated by Robert Ryan, written by Millard Lampel, produced and directed by Harold Mayer for ACWA.

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.

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  1. Paul Haeder said on September 13th, 2013 at 10:25am #

    Badddd Asss Teacherssss

    Bad Ass Teachers —

    This association is for every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality, and refuses to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning…

    Note —

    from Diane Ravitch’s blog:

    Mark Naison is one of the founders of BAT, the Badass Teachers Association. He says that what is happening to public education today is nothing less than a coup d’état, a stealthy takeover of public education by elites who know little or nothing about education. Some do it for the power; some for greed; some for ideology. Whatever their reason, it is time to resist.

    Naison writes:

    “There Has Been an Education Coup D’Etat In the US- Time to Organize Resistance”

    “When a country has suffered a Coup D’Etat, as Chile did in the 1970?s, or a foreign invasion, as France did during the start of World War II, it takes a while for the population to figure out how to resist. Some collaborate, some passively conform, some pretend compliance and grimly go about their business, some move into active resistance, even at the risk of their lives

    “While it would be foolish to pretend that what has happened to education in the US in the last ten years has had the same life threatening consequences, it does have many of the elements of a Coup D’Etat. A well financed and highly motivated elite with little or no background in teaching or school administration has seized control of Education Policy in the US, excluding teachers and parents voices, and has imposed a grim test regimen on the nation’s public schools that has driven joy and creativity out of our classrooms and made teachers hate their jobs. The Common Core Standards, imposed with lightning speed across the country through bribery and intimidation is but the latest example of how School Reformers borrow the ethos and strategy of dictators to impose their policies. Teachers, parents, and students who have had no chance to discuss the standards, much less see them in operation before deciding whether to support them, are presented with a fate d’accompli and told they are undermining national progress if they dare to ask questions, and if they are teachers or principals, told that opposition can cost them their jobs

    “Well, despite the intimidation, a resistance has emerged, composed of parent opt out groups, anti- testing and anti-Common Core Coalitions, and this group, the Badass Teachers Association. With Common Core now part of professional development for teachers in most school districts, it is time to help the resistance spread. Just letting teachers know there is a group like BATS which thinks current policies are crazy is an important step. We now have a one page document in the files that you can print out and distribute to colleagues.

    “Please discretely hand this out to your colleagues and friends. Most will probably not want to join, but knowing there is a resistance of this size and militancy will give them courage and make them feel empowered to resist covertly, in their own classrooms. And who knows, over time, they may join us

    “But the important thing is to spread the word. Let people know that 26,000 teachers across the country have said “enough is enough” to top down Education Reform and are determined to fight back.

    “It’s not only our jobs that are at stake, it is our students and our children’s education, and the future of democracy in this country that are on the line.”