Dear Vice-President Pringle and The Ithaca College Board of Trustees,
Workers across the U.S. are under attack. More and more are forced to work without job security, benefits, and adequate pay, while a tiny elite reaps enormous rewards from our labor. This is true in the political and the corporate sector as well as in academia. At Ithaca College, top administrators earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year while contingent professors are paid a pittance and treated as expendable commodities, to be hired and fired at will.
In Donald Trump’s America, it is more urgent than ever to stand up for rights and dignity in the workplace, for workers to have some degree of ownership and control over workplace conditions. This is why an overwhelming majority of contingent faculty at Ithaca College voted to create a contingent faculty union.
Contingent faculty at Ithaca College have been negotiating with the administration for over a year. Our aim is to have a contract which reflects the priorities that the majority of contingent faculty asked for: one that prioritizes a student-centered IC, creates more stability for contingent faculty and students, and provides a pathway to equal pay for equal work.
While some progress has been made, particularly on the issue of greater job security for part-time faculty who have taught at IC for three years or more, we remain worlds apart on compensation and providing greater security for all contingent faculty. You have made it clear how little you value contingent faculty’s hard work by refusing to engage in a serious path toward job security and pay parity for all contingent faculty. The administration has sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into the expensive union-busting law firm Bond, Schoeneck, and King, and has no qualms about spending millions per year on buffets and cocktail parties; yet you balk at the notion of paying contingent faculty a livable wage.
If the contingent faculty’s call for a fair contract continues to be ignored, we stand ready to take more drastic action. Depending on the progress of negotiations, we will be announcing a plan to hold a vote to authorize a strike.
Vice President Pringle and Ithaca College administration, don’t let it come to this. Settle a fair contract that respects students and faculty.
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