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June 2010, Week 2


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Jeremy Butler <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Wed, 9 Jun 2010 06:04:29 -0500
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Joe Berry, AAUP Committee on Contingent Faculty and the Profession <
[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 12:59 AM
Subject: AAUP Member Newsletter: Out of a Job? Here's How and Why to Apply
for Unemployment
To: "Jeremy G. Butler" <[log in to unmask]>

  [image: Newsletter banner]

Are you a full- or part-time faculty member on a short-term contract  or no
"contract" at all, with no guarantee of a job next term? Or are there
faculty like this in your department?  Are you unpaid when you are not

As you are probably aware, more than half of all college teachers work under
these tenuous conditions. Our  employment is tied to student enrollment,
budget allocations, institutional need, and other unpredictable events that
may occur to either create a class or cancel it. We are, in other words,
hired on a contingent basis: from year to year, semester to semester, or
class to class. We do not have, to use the language of federal unemployment
legislation, "reasonable assurance of re-employment." Thus, much of our
so-called free time is spent looking for other temporary work or worrying
about their next semester's income. During this time, we  should be
receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

Yet many part-time and other term faculty don't check to see whether they
are eligible. Others are denied on grounds of having "reasonable assurance
of re-employment," a phrase in federal law whose invocation by postsecondary
employers has been challenged, most successfully in California and
Washington, by arguing that employment which depends on variables like
enrollment, funding, and administrative prerogative cannot constitute
reasonable assurance.

That's why the AAUP supports the National Unemployment Compensation
Initiative. <> This
initiative is designed to help eligible contingent faculty obtain
unemployment compensation. The initiative offers information on applying and
suggestions for group activity to strengthen our claims and protect
claimants from employer retaliation. Plans are to collect statistics on
patterns of activity around unemployment claims, with one ultimate goal of
lobbying to change the problematic "reasonable assurance of re-employment"

The AAUP encourages all contingent faculty to apply for unemployment
insurance, or forward this e-mail to someone who should. We, like other
workers, are entitled to this benefit when unemployed.  The time between
teaching terms is unemployment for us, not a paid "vacation."  Higher
education employers must learn that they can't have it both ways. Either
they employ faculty (and other staff) with real assurance of continuing
employment or they must allow contingent and laid off employees access to
unemployment insurance benefits.

For more information, see the National Unemployment Compensation Initiative
Web site. <> You may also
find helpful Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Contingent
Faculty: A Manual for Applicants and a Strategy to Gain Full Rights to
Benefits, available for sale in the AAUP
store<>and as a free
download on the Web site of the Chicago
Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor. <>  This
guidebook was partially funded by the AAUP.

  *The AAUP Online* is an electronic newsletter of the American Association
of University Professors. The mission of the AAUP is to advance academic
freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and
standards for higher education , and to ensure higher education's
contribution to the common good. By joining, faculty members, academic
professionals, and graduate students help to shape the future of the
profession and proclaim their dedication to the education community. Visit
the AAUP Web site  <>and
Follow us on Twitter <>.

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