Number 2 – April 20, 2020

A publication for faculty, campus staff, and students by the independent
Rank-and-File Temple (RAFT) Caucus

The administration’s plan is austerity

Is this the right time to fight for better working conditions at Temple? RAFT says Yes! We believe that now is the time to defend ourselves against intensifying exploitation and to demand necessary changes. In the face of the current crisis, the administration has a plan: austerity. Besides sacrificing our lives and livelihoods for “the bottom line,” the ruling class would use this crisis to seize more power. Do we have to accept that? Can we refuse together the logic of austerity? We can—so long as we stand in solidarity with one another and with workers everywhere.

We won’t let them use this crisis to exploit us further. We demand:

  • no wage cuts, no layoffs, no furloughs;
  • job security, sick leave, and health benefits;
  • extra pay for extra work (compensation for online transition);
  • smaller classes (which will help us to teach effectively online);
  • honor the contract (vote No on any changes to the current contract);
  • any cuts must affect administrative salaries and expenditures only.

We’re pleased that TAUP leaders seem to agree with most of these demands. You may ask: “But RAFT, what can I do to make everyone agree with your demands?” Great question! Join us!

The most vulnerable have been hit the hardest by this crisis. This is no accident. When the market demands a sacrifice, the ruling class offers up those who can afford least to resist. Universities are no different. In the coming months, we expect assaults on all workers but especially on the most precariously-employed amongst us: maintenance staff, adjunct faculty, administrative workers. We cannot let this happen. Together, we can fight for better working conditions for all.

As we approach summer session and the fall semester, we expect the administration to try to negotiate with our union. They will demand that we give up something to help everyone “weather the storm.” Having expressed appreciation for the “great job” transitioning online (read: free labor), the administration will give us the “choice” between forgoing long-overdue raises or accepting outright wage-cuts and lay-offs. How generous!

RAFT says: “This is a false choice; we reject these premises.” The university has enough money not only to continue to employ us all but to pay us what we deserve—no more poverty wages for “contingent” faculty. RAFT opposes concessions of any kind. No to all forms of blackmail! We will not “choose” between wage-cuts for full-time faculty or layoffs for adjunct faculty.

Our new contract must remain binding. We must not only defend the extremely modest gains made but continue to fight for all the members of our union, especially, of course, for part-time faculty whose deplorable treatment at this school was not helped in any way by the new contract. Future bulletins will detail our ideas about what can be done. Come share your own ideas with us, and help us make Temple University a place where learning and workers come first!

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