To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports that public unionism is dead have been greatly exaggerated. Consider what’s happening in Utica.
Nearly 400-adjunct faculty and professional part-time employees at Mohawk Valley Community College are seeking union certification after an overwhelming majority of those employees returned union cards in favor of organizing and affiliating with New York State United Teachers.
The decision to petition the state Public Employment Relations Board follows the refusal of the MVCC Board of Trustees to recognize the 391-member Adjunct and Professional Part-Time Association as a bargaining unit.
“The nearly 400 adjuncts and part-time professionals who work at MVCC bring expertise and professionalism to their jobs, and add diversity, energy and broad work experience to the college environment,” said Kay Chester, a member of the organizing committee. “The college administration often praises us for these very qualities and tells us how much we are valued. Why, then, has our petition to be recognized and to be treated as professionals been ignored? To me, this act is insulting and disrespectful, and renders meaningless the administration’s claims as to our value.”
The adjuncts and professional part-time employees want their voices heard on a number of issues confronting their professions and livelihood, including: job security, opportunities for professional development and advancement, low pay, and having the opportunity to teach additional courses and work more hours if they choose.
The Mohawk Valley Community College Professional Association, which represents more than 200 full-time faculty at the school, is affiliated with NYSUT. The fledgling Adjuncts and Professional Part-Time Association said a significant factor in their decision to affiliate with NYSUT is the respect and strength full-time faculty receives through their affiliation with the statewide union.