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March 20, 2015

Report on the Adjunct Hearing

Dear colleagues,

I want to give you an update from the perspective of those who were actually at the PLRB hearing in Harrisburg. The hearing was on the adjuncts' petition to have TAUP represent them. Nobody from Temple's academic administration attended, so yesterday's update from the Deputy Provost didn't report on the evidence that TAUP presented.

You should hear also from the adjuncts themselves. At the hearing yesterday, six brave individuals took a day out of their lives to give their stories, answer questions, and say why they want to join TAUP's bargaining unit. They were, in order of testimony:

Chris Rabb (FoxSBM – Strategic Management)
Don Deeley (CLA – English)
David White (TFMA – Theater)
Carrie Young (Social Work)
Maggie Avener (CST – Mathematics)
Jennie Shanker (Tyler – Foundations).

Each of them spoke about their impressive educational credentials, their teaching, their interaction and collaboration with full-time faculty, and the activities outside of the classroom that they involve students in to enhance educational goals. Such dedication to Temple students and this great institution deserve high praise. But the adjuncts didn't receive the recognition they deserved from the lawyers representing Temple administration. Let's hear directly from Maggie:

Dear Colleague,

My name is Maggie Avener and I'm an adjunct professor in the Math department. I was one of the six adjunct professors who testified about the similarities between full-time and part-time faculty in Harrisburg yesterday. I waited five hours, as my colleagues were grilled not about teaching experiences and qualifications for our jobs at Temple University but about union Facebook postings by Temple University's counsel.

All of Temple's concerns could be alleviated by allowing the 1300 adjunct faculty to vote quickly and fairly about unionization. I call on Provost Dai to direct Temple's legal team to agree to a quick and fair election. Tens of thousands of dollars can be spared if Temple agreed to an election.

I was dismayed at the demeaning way I and my colleagues were spoken to by Temple's representatives yesterday. I did not feel valued or appreciated by my employer, regardless of what they try to tell us on campus. In Harrisburg, Temple made it clear they view our service and devotion to our students and to Temple as "voluntary" and we could "just go home".

As this hearing progresses, you will continue to hear from the witnesses who were there with updates. In the meantime, Provost Dai needs to let us vote!

Let us vote,

Maggie Avener,
Adjunct professor, Math

PS. For a live account of the hearing, check this out.


Art Hochner
TAUP President


March 17, 2015

PLRB Hearing on Adjunct Petition Thursday, March 19  

What is happening with the adjunct campaign for unionization?  Some full-time faculty have indicated a degree of uncertainty about the process and what success for the union effort will mean.

  • This Thursday, March 19, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) will convene a hearing in Harrisburg concerning the objections Temple University has to adjunct faculty voting for union representation by TAUP.  The administration has mentioned a number of issues, but we will wait until the hearing to hear what they will argue.
  • At the hearing, TAUP will present our case first.  Along with other evidence, there will be testimony from a number of adjuncts about their jobs, pay, and working conditions at Temple.  The hearing examiner will take into account their testimony, both TAUP’s and Temple’s legal arguments, and whatever evidence Temple puts forward.  He will then render a written decision, most likely ordering and setting the date for an election that will allow the adjuncts to vote on whether or not they want to be represented by TAUP. 
  • Let’s assume the election takes place and the majority votes “yes.”  Then TAUP will call on Temple administration to sit down with our new adjunct colleagues and us, so we can negotiate the terms of a collective bargaining agreement for adjuncts. 
  • TAUP has not yet developed proposals to put on the bargaining table, and no one knows what provisions would end up in the first adjunct contract. Any suggestion about what would occur in the wake of adjunct unionization is just speculation or the product of someone’s imagination. 

TAUP is confident that we meet the legal thresholds for an election, both legally and in the number of adjuncts signing the petition for unionization.  This week’s hearing is not obligatory.  At any time, Temple could honor the wishes of hundreds of adjunct faculty, drop the University’s objections, agree to an election, and let adjunct faculty vote. 

More than 1,000 alumni, students, faculty, and Temple community members have called upon Provost Dai to direct the University’s legal team to agree to a quick, fair, and transparent election.  Will you join the adjuncts’ advocates and sign the petition? 

Why would Temple spend tens of thousands of dollars litigating issues rather than negotiating fair solutions?  We feel this money can be better used to improve conditions for adjuncts and for our students. 

Temple University is using the PLRB to litigate issues rather than work with the union to problem solve.  A majority of adjunct faculty have indicated they want to join with the full-time faculty in TAUP.  But Temple administration does not want this to happen, despite the long-established practice in Pennsylvania of combining part-time faculty and full-time faculty in the same union.  

Tell Temple administration to stop standing in the way of adjunct self-determination. Tell them to sit down with the union and negotiate.  On March 19, they should meet with us to set an election rather than litigate which bargaining unit adjunct faculty should join. 

Let adjunct faculty vote!


February 25, 2015


Can We Get Tuition Benefits for Dependent Children to Attend Other Colleges & Universities?

Are you interested in working with TAUP and the Faculty Senate to develop a proposal for expanding tuition benefits for dependents to attend other higher ed institutions? Here is your chance to get involved and help to shape a possible initiative.  If you are interested, please contact TAUP (taupaft@aol.com - 1-7641; or ahochner@gmail.com - 215-704-6990) or the Faculty Senate office (senate@temple.edu - 1-8698).

Last year, TAUP’s negotiating team and Temple administrators agreed to the following language in the new 2014-2018 collective bargaining agreement:

Tuition Benefits at Other College/Universities: The University understands that TAUP and the Faculty Senate may work to formulate proposals for tuition benefits for children of bargaining unit members who attend other colleges and universities.  The University shall review, consider, and respond to any proposals in a timely fashion.

This invites TAUP and the Senate to put together a group of interested individuals to research the mechanisms and financing of tuition exchanges at other universities and to write up an informed proposal for the administration to consider.

Not everyone has children of college age, but this is something we know many faculty, librarians and academic professionals would like to see.

Click here for: TAUP/TU Tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement 2014-2018

American Federation of Teachers Local # 4531 AFL-CIO
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