Finally a group of adjuncts have managed to form a working union! Pretty amazing. How recently was it that I was complaining about how non-insurrectionist downtrodden PhDs were? I’m happy to be proved wrong.
I have mixed feelings about unions. My father worked in a unionized college, and hated the union because it limited the number of hours he could teach. None of us sympathized. But when he retired and the contract kept him from working part-time at the college, I did sympathize. On the other hand, it was that union intransigence that made sure that I had full-time, tenure track instructors. It was full-time or nothing in every department. In fact, through four college degrees I never took a course from an adjunct. Was this good or bad?
Now I work at a non-unionized college, with lots of adjuncts and fewer full-time lines every year. Would it be better with a union? I can’t say I feel the need for one, but I’d be surprised if the adjuncts didn’t. So I’m watching the news with interest, especially articles about Catholic colleges and adjuncts.
I’ve tried to work out my conflicted feelings about unions in fiction. The Royal Academy is not unionized, and the only people there who show any interest in forming one are the demons. The only unionized institution of higher magic, The University of Kasidora, is racked by faculty infighting and an adversarial relationship between faculty and administration. Union membership saves the day in A Lovesome Thing and sends someone to hell in Unite and Conquer. In fiction, as well as real life, I just can’t make up my mind.
I am, however, working on a plot thread in which Osyth hires a demon as an adjunct. So adjuncts and unions are on a collision course in my fiction as well as in real life. I’m just not sure how many votes a union member who’s eaten seven other faculty should have…