KPTFA January 2017 General Meeting
All part-time faculty are encouraged to and welcome to attend the Jan 14th General Meeting of the KPTFA on Jan 14th, 11:00-1:00, Kent State Student Center, room 316. If you haven’t been to the student center before, look for the elevators behind the central staircase, just west of the entrance to the bookstore to reach the 3rd floor. Let’s start the new year off with making the meeting and commiting to help build our movment. (The Organizing Committe along with USW’s Robin Sowards meets on Dec. 28th to prepare the plan for the new year, so come on Jan. 14th to see what you can do to reach our goals.)
See you there!
The KPTFA Organizing Committee
Thoughts on the Dec. 3rd Laobr Notes Detroit conference attended by three KPTFA activists
(Conference info listed below this article)
On Saturday Dec, 3rd, three of us part-timers drove up to the Labor Notes Troublemaker training in Detroit. What an inspiring and educational experience it was for what appeared to about 150 potential agents for change. Graduate students from the Michigan higher-education system, along with part-time faculty from three or four universities, teachers from Chicago, autoworkers, transit system workers, nurses, and array of workers from other industries participated in morning and afternoon workshops, each dealing with various subjects pertinent to organizing the unorganized or better organizing the already organized. The three of divided up and participated in the workshops that will best address the needs of KPTFA. We took notes so that we can better our efforts in organizing at Kent. Some of those who convened the conference offered to come speak to workers on their home turf, so we may have to take them up on that in the future.
I took away many tools and ideas from the conference, but three realizations stand out most for me. First, at the opening plenary session, three speakers, two of them educators, spoke about how out of a sense of injustice, and I’d say a sense of righteous anger, each individually decided to take that first step to make change in their respective workplaces. Out of that they helped spark and grew a movement that accomplished most all of what they set out to change. Through them, I saw the possibilities of what we of KPTFA can accomplish if we just say no to the status quo and decide to make the change we want to see. These inspiring women, both with no prior experience at organizing and when all seemed at to be at its bleakest, succeeded in changing the lives of workers and students for the better. We need to take that first step.
Second, I realized that though we as part-timers might feel isolated and alone, in some ways inherent aspects of being contingent workers and freeway flyers, we are not alone in the struggle. All those gathered at this conference, people from disparate workplaces and experiences, are feeling the pain and financial difficulty from the over 30 year assault on workers from work places that devalue their work (and ultimately their dignity) by refusing to provide a just and decent living. Many drove great distances to be there. They did so to see what they can learn and do to improve the lives of themselves and their fellow brothers and sisters in their workplace. We are not alone.
Third, I saw a common thread in the workshops I attended. I learned how we need to talk to one another, listen to others, ask them about what their thoughts are on the changes they’d like to see, the problems they encounter juggling the “Road Scholar” aspect of their lives on drives from campus to campus to make a living, or from job to job, and the juggling of daily family schedules to make ends meet and capture a modicum of dignity working at something you love but only offers a precarious existence. Out of this, we can bring others into the movement and address our just economic needs and reshape our professional lives from ones of insecurity to ones of dignity, respect, and the recognition we deserve as highly educated and dedicated professionals. We need to communicate with each other.
If Labor Notes has any future workshops, or if we can get one to come share their knowledge at a meeting in Kent, my hope is that we can fill the room with part-timers since I have no doubt that we will be able to overcome any of the inhibitions that keep us immobile and apathetic and become energized to build our movement.
Troublemakers Workshop on How to Organize, December 3, 2016
We are setting up carpools to this event. If you want to learn some valuable skills and ways to organize, particularly if you have not done organizing before, we have the workshop for you. We have three people going so far. Why don’t you join us! Message me if you want to go.
“Detroit-area Troublemakers are gathering for a day of skill-building workshops that will help union members and labor activists build power on the job. We have some great new workshops inspired by our new book, Secrets of a Successful Organizer, Labor Notes’ fastest-selling ever.”
When: December 3, 2016, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: UAW Local 22, 4300 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48210
Email us if you are interested in going. We will organize car pools and meet points.
Faculty Senate Schedule
The Faculty Senate schedule can be found at this website:
The next meeting is Monday, December 12th. All Faculty Senate meetings are held at 3:20 pm in the Governance Chambers of the Student Center.
We encourage any part-time faculty member who is interested to attend these meetings. If you go to the link, you will see a glaring omission. Though we represent over half of the teaching faculty, we do not have one representative on the senate. See the description at the link as to who it represents and its mission. Seems we exist in a gulag, ignored and not even considered as a vital part of the university. KPTFA is working to address that issue. Being a public university, meetings are open to us. We cannot speak unless recognized from the floor, but we encourage anyone able to go and see what subjects are discussed and how decisions affect us as part-timers. Though it might be effective, we do not suggest wearing a brown paper bag with eye and mouth cutouts, like the “Unknown Educators” we presently are. (Not at this time anyway.) We are looking to get representation, and though we know it will be no panacea to our plight we feel it will be a step in the right direction in providing a venue for our concerns to be heard.
January 14, 2017 General Meeting
After the work of the present Organizing Committee and the membership reached a historic vote to affiliate with the United Steel Workers (USW), we are in the process of gathering new people into a more robust Organizing Committee to better push our new goals: a super majority vote for a union, recognition by the university, and a fair contract. Due approaching finals and the holiday season, we will not have a December meeting. We encourage all of you to participate in our January meeting. When each of us do a little, we all gain a lot.
When: Saturday, January 14, 2017. 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Where: Email us for location details. firstname.lastname@example.org