Tuesday, August 27, 2013

adjuncts and fragmentation

So this is the first year when I’ve actually started to get more involved in adjunct organizing. And I’ve quickly realized that one of the major problems for us is fragmentation. For example, there are no less than 9+ adjunct organizations related to CUNY. There are also at least 2 nation-wide organizations I know of, and of course, there are countless smaller, school-based organizations.

Here’s a list:

CUNY-centered
Nation-Wide
I don’t think this fragmentation is an accident. The main reason for such fragmentation is the nature of an exploited labor force. Like all exploited labor, most of us are usually just struggling to survive on pennies (no exaggeration). These conditions result in folks who are usually too busy to put in the time and effort to galvanize and develop a unified movement— can you imagine building a large company where you and all the workers also work full time in other jobs?!


Additionally, those at the top (the ones doing the exploiting) are strongly vested in keeping us fragmented. Imagine what the Hunter Adjuncts movement would be like if we had space to meet regularly at Hunter (instead of having to fight for office space to meet with students!)! Or imagine if adjuncts who make up a large majority of the teaching faculty CUNY-wide had their own union (a pet wish of mine; after MANY years, no one has yet been able to fully convince me that being a part of CUNY’s full-time faculty union is really the best thing for CUNY’s part-time faculty!).