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Massachusetts Adjunct Professors Kick Off Union Organizing Drive

By: MassUniting Monday April 15, 2013 9:40 am
A crowded classroom

Adjunct professors teach most college courses for low wages and little job security.

In 2012, four-year tuition at the average public university cost more than $15,000 – not counting books, meals or housing. At the average private institution, that figure was even higher, clocking in at over $32,000. Even two-year and vocational programs ran nearly $9,000 per certificate.

With the cost of higher education skyrocketing, it’s easy to assume that professors – the men and women who educate our students – are doing quite well for themselves. In some cases, that’s true: tenured faculty members’ salaries at leading universities can top $160,000 a year. But the average adjunct professor makes just $2,700 per course, with no health care insurance or other benefits.

Here’s the kicker: 76 percent of university faculty in the United States are adjunct professors. Most have to work at multiple universities and still don’t make enough to stay above the poverty line. And considering the amount of time involved in preparing, teaching and grading each class, many adjuncts make less than minimum wage.

With statistics like these, it’s no surprise that adjunct professors nationwide are forming unions through Adjunct Action, a project of the Service Employees International Union. This past weekend, faculty from more than 20 Bay State campuses kicked off their own organizing drive with an ‘Adjunct Faculty Symposium’ in Boston.

More than 100 professors from across Eastern Massachusetts gathered at the JFK Presidential Library Saturday for the daylong conference – discussing everything from classroom challenges to coalition building. Participants also met in small breakout groups to develop campus-specific organizing strategies and plan next steps, joined by scores of student supporters who were ready to stand in solidarity with their professors.

By the end of the symposium, adjunct professors were well prepared to launch organizing drives on campuses throughout greater Boston. And soon, they’ll be standing arm-in-arm with 15,000 other faculty members who have already unionized through Adjunct Action at SEIU.

For more information on the fight to raise wages and improve working conditions for adjunct faculty, check out this great interview from WBUR’s All Things Considered – or visit Adjunct Action online at www.adjunctaction.org.

 

Boston residents to Erskine Bowles & Fix the Debt: “Stop the Baloney!”

By: MassUniting Thursday February 21, 2013 2:23 pm

Event attendees at Boston’s Symphony Hall were in for a different kind of entertainment this week, as more than 150 local seniors and unemployed workers staged a processed meat-themed demonstration outside the historic venue. Their target: self-proclaimed ‘deficit hawk’ Erskine Bowles and his baloney push to slash Social Security, Medicare and other vital programs in favor of new corporate tax breaks.

When Mr. Bowles made a Bay State stop on his speaking tour, affected residents braved below-freezing temperatures outside the venue, clad in baloney costumes and handing out “Stop the Baloney!” sandwiches – even singing a remixed “Oscar Mayer Balogna” song to drive their point home.

Click here to check out a video of the action (including the song)!

Despite their frequently-delivered platitudes on “shared sacrifice,” Erskine Bowles and his partner-in-crime, Alan Simpson, have used their Fix the Debt lobbying group to push hundreds of billions in corporate tax giveaways – all while balancing the budget on the backs of low-income workers and seniors. In short, the Simpson-Bowles/Fix the Debt blueprint demands $3.8 trillion (with a ‘T’) in cuts to the programs working families and retirees depend on…just so they can hand the proceeds over to major corporations like Bank of America, GE and Verizon.

Sound like a raw deal? We certainly think so – and plenty of community advocates across the country feel the same way. Sign up to help stop the Simpson-Bowles/Fix the Debt baloney here.

Corporate Gold Diggers: Looking for Love

By: MassUniting Thursday February 14, 2013 4:36 pm

It’s Valentine’s Day, and we at MassUniting couldn’t help taking a peek at the personal ads to see what lonely souls out there might be looking for love on this particularly romantic holiday. Imagine our surprise when we came across the “Gold Diggers Looking 4 Love” ad below:

Corporate Gold Diggers: Looking for Love

This personal ad may be a bit of a joke, but there’s nothing funny about Fix the Debt or their gold-digging agenda. While the corporate front group whispers sweet nothings in our ears about “shared sacrifice” and “debt reduction,” they’re hiding their true plan to break our hearts by cutting Social Security, raising the retirement age and taking more from our paychecks.

As it turns out, the corporate gold diggers at Fix the Debt don’t really care much about the national debt at all, let alone taxpayers – the targets of their alleged affection. These well-heeled gold diggers have their eyes on one thing and one thing only: our wallets. And they plan to use our tax dollars to bankroll corporate jets, CEO bonuses, and whatever else they can buy with their new handouts.

We get it’s hard to be alone on Valentine’s Day – we’ve all been there. But it’s clear that the corporate gold diggers behind Fix the Debt are just looking for susceptible singles to fund their massive tax giveaways. So don’t let these pigs break your heart today – or any other day for that matter. Click here to learn more and take action against corporate gold digging. Click here to learn more and take action against corporate gold digging.

Boston Flashmob Targets Bank of America, Fix the Debt With “Gold Diggers” Remix

By: MassUniting Wednesday January 30, 2013 4:41 pm

You may have seen their ads on TV or been accosted by a Fix the Debt canvasser on the street – they claim to be a grassroots effort promoting steps to reduce the national debt. But the truth is, Fix the Debt is just another corporate-financed DC lobbying group looking for taxpayer handouts.

That revelation prompted a flashmob-style demonstration today outside the New England headquarters of a major Fix the Debt funder and beneficiary, Bank of America. More than 75 workers and retirees, police in tow, descended on the financial giant’s Federal Street building to call Fix the Debt corporations out for what they really are: gold diggers.

Click here to check out the video and learn more.

The action comes on the heels of a report from the non-partisan Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), which reveals that Fix the Debt’s legislative agenda has little to do with the national debt at all. In fact, the bulk of the group’s lobbying activities have focused on securing billions in new corporate tax breaks at the expense of American workers and seniors.

Make no mistake, Fix the Debt does support cuts to Social Security and other vital programs – as well as raising the retirement age – as a way to reduce federal spending, But according to the IPS report, Fix the Debt plans to use those savings to fund more than $134 billion in tax giveaways for its 63 publicly-held member corporations — including Bank of America, Verizon and General Electric. Keep in mind, 24 of these Fix the Debt companies already pay their CEOs more than they paid in federal corporate income taxes. Twenty-two spent more on lobbying than they did on their tax bill.

So much for “fixing the debt.” As it turns out, the corporate-financed Fix the Debt campaign amounts to old school gold digging at its worst. Might want to mind your pocketbook.

Want to put a stop to Corporate America’s gold digging? Tired of your tax dollars paying for bank profits and CEO bonuses? Visit www.MassUniting.org/GoldDiggers to sign up and help expose Fix the Debt’s corporate greed!