October 03, 2018

NYSUT urges adjuncts to take online survey

Author: Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT Communications
higher ed
Caption: L-R: Higher Education Policy Council Chair Roberta Elins; Bethany Gizzi, Monroe County Community College; Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango; President Andy Pallotta. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.

Adjuncts in SUNY community college local unions are urged to take a NYSUT survey on their experiences with collecting unemployment insurance.

The online survey will close on Oct. 10.

NYSUT is conducting the survey to get a statewide picture after some members reported difficulties with collecting benefits. The results will be used to help inform and guide NYSUT’s future work on the issue. In December 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor issued revised guidance on unemployment insurance and, specifically, the interpretation of “reasonable assurance” of continued work. A similar survey was conducted in 2007, finding that adjunct faculty members had mixed success in collecting unemployment benefits.

The survey was one of several adjunct items discussed at NYSUT’s Higher Education Policy Council over the weekend. Council members also talked about intensive efforts to better communicate with members about why adjuncts need strong union representation. The council reviewed a new organizing leaflet available from NYSUT, while individual locals are personalizing the concept with on-on-one meetings and town halls.

NYSUT Policy Council leaders also heard a report on the state’s Excelsior Scholarship program from Tom Hilliard of the Center for an Urban Future. He said 83 percent of the students who were denied scholarships did not carry the 30 credits required.

NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango updated council members on the statewide union’s new “Take a Look at Teaching” initiative, noting that leaders are hoping to create more bridge experiences between K-12 and higher education to open more doors to the teaching profession.

Council Chair Roberta Elins, president of the United College Employees at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Picture 1 reminded members that October is the National Education Association’s first-ever National Higher Education month.

NEA is encouraging college and university faculty and staff to invite P-12 educators and students to visit campuses in October.

“Students who go on field trips have better grades and graduation rates, in general — but a trip to a college or university campus specifically can empower at-risk students … and fundamentally shatter their understanding that college is only accessible for certain people,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.

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