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May 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Anxious students, invisible faculty at state's community and technical colleges

Be cautious about separate unions

Professors Keith Hoeller and Jack Longmate should be careful about their desire to create separate unions for tenure/tenure-track faculty and adjunct faculty. [“Anxious students, invisible faculty,” Opinion, May 30.]

Nothing would please administration more than playing off one faculty union against another. Rather, they should fight for two things: better representation in their present union and an increase in the state tax base to support higher education.

I have served many years as a campus and statewide leader in the California Faculty Association (CFA), the union of faculty of the California State University System. The CFA represents all faculty, including full-time and part-time lecturers. I know from personal experience that the CFA spends as much time and effort on lecturer issues as on tenure/tenure track issues.

— Michael Hassul, Seattle

Need more access to tenured jobs, not separate unions

The situation described by Keith Hoeller and Jack Longmate of poorly paid faculty in Washington state community colleges and technical colleges is indeed dire.

However, the problem is not limited to those campuses but extends nationally throughout higher education into the four-year colleges and universities, both public and private.

The teacher unions, NEA, AFT and AAUP, struggle to better faculty pay and benefits in those schools that can be unionized. I doubt if the authors meant to say that unions are the problem, rather that separate unions should represent those teaching without the protection of tenure in public classrooms.

The authors’ effort is to increase the number of low-paying classes available to part-time faculty. This may temporarily increase pay by increasing individual workloads, but I am mystified how that would better the pay per class or get badly needed health benefits to our faculty. These are benefits I gained as a part-timer thanks to a union that represented both full-time and part-time faculty. We need access to tenured jobs with benefits, not more poorly paid work.

— Lila Harper, Ellensburg

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