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Ian McColgin
09-20-2013, 09:14 AM
09.19.13 - 9:42 AM
Death of An Adjunct, Or Why We (Still) Need Unions

by Abby Zimet

Margaret Mary Vojtko, 83, died a few weeks ago. Almost destitute, she had been struggling to live on under $10,000 a year, undergoing cancer treatment without health insurance, working a night shift at Eat 'n Park as a second job, sometimes sleeping in an office because she couldn't afford to fix her furnace or pay for her electricity, distraught when her regular job's hours were cut with no severance or retirement and, finally, ignobly, buried in a cardboard casket without handles - that, despite having taught French for 25 years at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University, a Catholic school whose mission is to "serve God by serving students...through commitment to excellence in education...profound concern for moral and spiritual values and service to the Church (and) the community. Duquesne is also one of three Catholic schools now fighting a union battle - in its case, appealing last year's 50-9 vote by adjunct professors to join an Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers.

Adjunct - non-tenured and often part-time - professors make up over half of all university faculty nationwide. Those million or so "throwaway citizens," making Mcwages that equal about a third of their tenured colleagues, get no health care or other benefits, have no job security and often take second jobs - for one, stacking shelves at Trader Joe's - to make ends meet. Increasingly, they are looking to unionize, and being fought every step of the way by well-paid administrators of lush colleges charging inflated tuitions. Although Duquesne had initially agreed to abide by the results of their union election, they later appealed to the NLRB, arguing its status as a "religious" school should exempt it - thus arguing, notes one critic, that it's too Catholic for government rules but not Catholic enough to follow its own teachings.

After Vojtko died, responding to criticism of how the school had treated her, Duquesne's Chaplain said that the school had invited her to live in one of their communities, and priests regularly visited and prayed with her. In other words, notes a union lawyer who wrote an impassioned op-ed about her life and death, “In lieu of a living wage and benefits, they offered her intermittent charity and prayers as a salve to her impoverishment.”

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels... For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink...I was a stranger and you did not invite me in...Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ - Matthew 25:31-46

skuthorp
09-20-2013, 09:27 AM
It's fairly obvious that many do not actually believe what they preach.

bogdog
09-20-2013, 09:44 AM
I'm not a believer but I always set a plate for a stranger, old family tradition.

John Smith
09-20-2013, 09:59 AM
Sadly, this seems pretty typical of the "religiously inclined" people I've known.

CWSmith
09-20-2013, 10:01 AM
I'm not a believer but I always set a plate for a stranger, old family tradition.

Good tradition.

I can't excuse paying $10k for an adjunct professor, but to fix the problem we need to understand what is driving up the cost of education everywhere from the local schools to the best colleges and universities. As a society we have lost the ability to do things at a reasonable cost and without a bureaucracy that sucks the life out of everything.

Breakaway
09-20-2013, 10:08 AM
RE " No Insurance;" Would not this woman have been eligible for Medicaid?

Re:" Couldn't afford to fix her furnace" Could she have sold here home?

Just saying that there are other facets not being addressed here.

Kevin

Ian McColgin
09-20-2013, 10:15 AM
Breakaway is absolutely correct that Ms Vojtko made a series of bad life choices and is responsible for her sorry fate.

CWSmith
09-20-2013, 10:18 AM
Breakaway is absolutely correct that Ms Vojtko made a series of bad life choices and is responsible for her sorry fate.

A bit harsh. Some sort of intervention was probably needed, but the people around her could have done something.

Ian McColgin
09-20-2013, 10:23 AM
Oh well. I may have been a nudge sarcastic regarding Breakaway's utterly indefensible blame the victim remark.

ahp
09-20-2013, 10:26 AM
Good tradition.

I can't excuse paying $10k for an adjunct professor, but to fix the problem we need to understand what is driving up the cost of education everywhere from the local schools to the best colleges and universities. As a society we have lost the ability to do things at a reasonable cost and without a bureaucracy that sucks the life out of everything.

Exactly! I have been an adjunct professor, and was paid a pittance, $3000 to teach a three credit lab course in physical optics, in 1995. I don't see how an adjunct could teach more than about four courses in one semester.

When I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1955 no one had ever heard of an "adjunct professor". We did have grad student teaching fellows. My son has been one of these. Grad students are essentially slave labor.

Out of state tuition at U of M was $215 per semester, and instate $95. I don't know what tuition is now, but I bet that it has increased a lot faster than inflation.

bogdog
09-20-2013, 10:33 AM
Here's some more about Margaret Mary. http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/death-of-an-adjunct-703773/

bobbys
09-20-2013, 10:39 AM
ian has resumed his Bum of the month bad Catholic people. http://www.eastsideboxing.com/fotos/louis63434535.jpg.

bogdog
09-20-2013, 10:43 AM
ian has resumed his Bum of the month bad Catholic people. http://www.eastsideboxing.com/fotos/louis63434535.jpg.A good number of Catholics are discussing this themselves by the internet traffic I'm seeing. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2013/09/professional-and-poor-the-story-of-margaret-mary-vojtko/

Ian McColgin
09-20-2013, 10:52 AM
bogdog's post [#11] nicely fills out the human side and nicely establishes that some RCC institutions are a bit less materially callous. But I will continue to excoriate bad Catholics like the Duquesne administration and Justice Scalia and those folk who don't fancy women going to college et cetera.

bobbys
09-20-2013, 10:56 AM
bogdog's post [#11] nicely fills out the human side and nicely establishes that some RCC institutions are a bit less materially callous. But I will continue to excoriate bad Catholics like the Duquesne administration and Justice Scalia and those folk who don't fancy women going to college et cetera..

Odd you never find good Catholics, Why i am almost starting to think you have catholicaphopia..

O by the way those people that said Dont send the woman folk do not represent the Catholic view.

looks like BrianYs thread did its propaganda work...

Ian McColgin
09-20-2013, 11:04 AM
Perhaps the "good Catholics" are just less newsworthy?

That's not it. It's that Righties make an irrelevant defensive attack as a great substitute for noticing a simple truth. For this thread, the evil among many colleges and universities of exploited instructors, here poignantly exemplified by a lovely old lady and an institution affiliated with another institution that teaches higher values. If it were the privately owned for profit Snidely Whiplash College of Wealth Accumulation, we might note the injustice but we'd not see any hypocrisy.

CWSmith
09-20-2013, 11:24 AM
Oh well. I may have been a nudge sarcastic regarding Breakaway's utterly indefensible blame the victim remark.

Sorry. I recognized it didn't seem like you. I don't get sarcasm on the written page. It must be a short in my brain.

CWSmith
09-20-2013, 11:26 AM
bogdog's post [#11] nicely fills out the human side and nicely establishes that some RCC institutions are a bit less materially callous. But I will continue to excoriate bad Catholics like the Duquesne administration and Justice Scalia and those folk who don't fancy women going to college et cetera.

And you have a lot of Catholics with you on those issues.

What does it say about Scalia that he speaks of himself in third person?

CWSmith
09-20-2013, 11:32 AM
My son has been one of these. Grad students are essentially slave labor.

Not so much slave labor. At least in the sciences grad students tend to get tuition waivers and a stipend to live on (not live HIGH, just live). Teaching is part of the obligation for that support and it does build a better professional. They need to learn to communicate and to teach. The real inequity is to the student learning from a fresh grad student, but there is a real effort in most places to watch for that problem (inexperience, poor language skills, etc.). It's not a perfect system.

Also, many adjuncts are high school teachers making a little extra cash at night. I don't like it, but what was described in the first posting is extreme.

Breakaway
09-20-2013, 11:52 AM
http://forum.woodenboat.com/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by Ian McColgin http://forum.woodenboat.com/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?p=3910687#post3910687)

Oh well. I may have been a nudge sarcastic regarding Breakaway's utterly indefensible blame the victim remark.


Nice of you to acknowledge that.

I wasn't blaming the victim. I was stating that it takes two to tango.She had some options that, for whatever reason or reasons as of yet undisclosedf, were not excercised.

In fact, until we know the full story, I would not even call her a "victim" yet.

Kevin

bobbys
09-20-2013, 12:13 PM
Perhaps the "good Catholics" are just less newsworthy?

That's not it. It's that Righties make an irrelevant defensive attack as a great substitute for noticing a simple truth. For this thread, the evil among many colleges and universities of exploited instructors, here poignantly exemplified by a lovely old lady and an institution affiliated with another institution that teaches higher values. If it were the privately owned for profit Snidely Whiplash College of Wealth Accumulation, we might note the injustice but we'd not see any hypocrisy..

I see so one has morphed into many?

So i can use this logic for lets say Muslims?

CWSmith
09-20-2013, 12:17 PM
.

I see so one has morphed into many?

So i can use this logic for lets say Muslims?

Careful. I got called out and edited by "Scot on High" for less on that very topic not 2 weeks ago.

Ian McColgin
09-20-2013, 12:27 PM
Since the analogy of "one has morphed into many" is false, you have no such logic to apply to Muslims. There are Muslim terrorists. Like our own anti-abortion terrorists, they tend to be religious fundamentalists. Yet most fundamentalists of any of the religious are actually law-abiding and even righteous (in the best sense of the word) people. To notice the evil or hateful ones does not mean that one has any basis for prejudice. Rather, prejudice is evidenced by raising such diversionary attacks rather than addressing the issue.

For this thread, that issue is that higher education has become quite exploitive of its basic labor force while presidents, other administrators and big league coaches grow rich. It's also exploiting the basic consumer population, foisting debt and limiting the freedom of opportunity on students, which has been mentioned in other threads. Ms Vojtko is simply a poignant example. One story among many.

bobbys
09-20-2013, 12:27 PM
Careful. I got called out and edited by "Scot on High" for less on that very topic not 2 weeks ago..

Yes sorry i forgot thats really their religion and any thing anti M will not be tolerated..


Catholics, Christians.. fair game

Ian McColgin
09-20-2013, 12:31 PM
Anything that prejudicially and falsly tars Muslims with the terrorism of their fundamentalist right should be treated the same way as claiming that all Christians are like the Westboro family church or the lunitic fringe who have killed abortion physicians. False is false.

bobbys
09-20-2013, 01:18 PM
Anything that prejudicially and falsly tars Muslims with the terrorism of their fundamentalist right should be treated the same way as claiming that all Christians are like the Westboro family church or the lunitic fringe who have killed abortion physicians. False is false..

Actually fred phelps is a democrat so your sentence should read ... Not all democrats are like the westboro church..

Peerie Maa
09-20-2013, 01:31 PM
.

Actually fred phelps is a democrat so your sentence should read ... Not all democrats are like the westboro church..

You could be right there. He is no Christian.

CWSmith
09-20-2013, 02:29 PM
.Yes sorry i forgot thats really their religion and any thing anti M will not be tolerated..

Actually, all I said to someone apparently Muslem who was criticizing America for being the world's arms merchant was "Do you agree that flying planes into buildings is also wrong?", or something to that effect. I also said I agreed with him regarding the US. I never accused him, but I was edited and roundly criticized. I don't believe the people who criticized me ever read carefully what I said.