by P.D. Lesko
At Green River Community College, located in a suburb of Seattle, Washington, adjuncts (350) make up the majority of the 450 faculty who teach at the two-year college. Between 2004-2010, an adjunct faculty member headed the Green River Community College United Faculty, a joint AFT-NEA local—the only joint AFT-NEA local in the state. Phil Ray Jack was elected, for all intents and purposes, by the full-time faculty to lead the local. Washington State union leaders have referred to Jack’s election and long-time stint as leader of the unified local, a “resounding success.” A part-time faculty member who was represented by Jack and UF for the years during which he led the union summed up his leadership quite differently.
It’s easy for those who support collective bargaining rights to look at pieces such as this one as attacks on unions and unionism. Union leaders, who are criticized as having created a system in which it pays more to work for the union that to be represented by the union, if RiShawn Biddle’s facts in the American Spectator are to be believed, deflect criticism by labeling critics “anti-union.” Such tactics become more difficult to employ, however, when the criticisms are leveled by long-time union activists and union members.