Posts Tagged ‘xchange wire’

Some of you may recall a couple of posts I wrote a ways back about the budget crisis myths that the Kutztown University administration had been circulating as truths. For years, President Javier Cevallos claimed that KU continued to face budget crises, even though the numbers didn’t quite add up (check out APSCUF-KU’s “Show Us the Money!” presentation from spring 2011).

KU managers have also continued to claim that they have not received any raises in years. Sure, we know President Cevallos got his nice increase, but the official line has been that managers as a whole didn’t receive raises. Welcome to the wonderful world of half-truth and myth.

At this past weeks’ meet and discuss, APSCUF-KU received a document showing managers salaries for the past several years. AND???  Well, turns out TECHNICALLY managers have not receive raises. TECHNICALLY managers from contract specialists to executive directors to chiefs of staff have received JOB RE-CLASSIFICATIONS that have given managers increases of nearly $17,000 in a single year. Some individual managers have received over $20,000 increases due to job reclassification since 2007.

So, you see? Managers didn’t received any raises. It was magic, magic I tell you! In the real world, we ask to see the proof. Here’s what reality shows us:

Manager RAISES since 2007

Got that warm and fuzzy feeling yet?


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This past Saturday, APSCUF posted the following negotiations update on its blog:

APSCUF and PASSHE negotiators met Friday, September 14, at the Dixon Center in Harrisburg.  The Chancellor’s team passed a proposal on retrenchment language and made suggestions for future bargaining sessions. APSCUF caucused and responded to their proposal in writing. The two sides reconvened and failed to come to agreement on the language, but agreed to session definitions for the next two times: on Oct. 5th APSCUF will present on curriculum, class size, and distance education and on Oct. 22nd the Chancellor’s team will discuss temporary workload and concessions on retiree health care.   There was neither discussion of nor progress made on the Chancellor’s team’s demand for concessions on distance education, active and retiree health care, and temporary faculty workload.

There is so much packed into this statement, but I want to focus on one issue in particular: temporary faculty workload. It seems that PASSHE negotiators have learned their lesson from our last contract fight. During our last round of contract negotiations, temporary faculty issues were front and center. The issue that got the most attention was the raising of the cap on part-time, temporary members from 7% to 25%. Pretty significant, no? I am sure that some members of our negotiating team that worked on that contract would take issue with my characterization. For example, our negotiators argued that our previous contract had NO CAP on the TOTAL number of temporary faculty members. So, for example, as long as a State System university kept the numbers of part-time temporary faculty members below 7%, that university theoretically could have a faculty that was 60% temporary – as long as 53% of that faculty were full-time temporary faculty. I concede the point. It’s true, the 25% would be the first time the total number of temporary faculty would be capped and 25% is still significantly below the national average, which is between 40 and 60% depending on the study and institution. However, by refusing to distinguish between part-time and full-time temporary faculty, a State university could now turn 25% of the faculty into part-time adjuncts – effectively stripping away any pretense to job security and effectively eliminating their health insurance.

When it came time to sign the final agreement, the State System threw in the fact that the one-time cash payment faculty would receive in year one of the contract (instead of a cost-of-living adjustment) would NOT be given to temporary faculty members. There are several versions of how that happened – and, frankly, I don’t know which version is the most accurate. Suffice it to say that, for many temporary faculty members, that felt like the second slap in the face for that contract. First, the university can now turn your job into piece-work. And, just to make sure you don’t think you are a crucial part of the work of the university, we’re not going to give you what your tenure-track or tenured colleagues are getting, no matter how long you’ve been here.

On my campus, temporary faculty were up in arms. Several were so disgusted, they wanted to leave the union. Many more just retreated to their offices feeling they are totally on their own – best to just “shut up and teach” (a phrase that a temporary faculty member expressed to me at the time) and hope they have a job next semester. From the perspective of the State System administration and Chancellor Cavanaugh: Mission Accomplished. Divide-and-Conquer.

Well, we’re now facing round two in Chancellor Cavanaugh’s Divide-and-Conquer strategy. This time around he’s leading his team to cement a two-tiered faculty system by going after temporary faculty workload. PASSHE already requires faculty to teach a 4-4 load – that is, four classes per semester. By any reasonable measure, we already have a heavy teaching load. The Chancellor is proposing that we up the load to 5-5 for temporary faculty members. He is attempting to hold out the carrot that in exchange for a heavier teaching load, temporary faculty will no longer be evaluated on their teaching, service, and scholarship – they will only be evaluated on their teaching. The Chancellor is trying to drive a permanent wedge between temporary faculty and their tenure-track and tenured colleagues. The Chancellor drove the first spike in during the last negotiations and now he is seeking to bring the hammer down once again, turning a crack into a fissure. The move is an attempt to get tenured and tenure-track to be narrowly self-interested and say, “well, at least don’t have to teach a 5-5 load.” The move seeks to play on the fear that if we don’t accept such a two-tier system, then everyone will suffer. The move holds tenure-track and tenured wages, medical insurance, and workload hostage, threatening to destroy them all if permanent faculty don’t offer up their temporary colleagues up for sacrifice. This is the world we are living in now folks.

But let me open the workload issue up a little more. While it’s true that full-time temporary faculty would see their workload increase by 25% (without any increase in compensation), the consequences of moving to a 5-5 load are much more serious. Take my department, for example. We have a total of 41 faculty members, eight (8) of which are temporary faculty members. Only one of those faculty members are part-time. If you turn those positions into full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions, we have 8.5 faculty positions teaching a total of 30 classes. If the State System turns a 4-4 FTE position into a 5-5 FTE position, our department will not have 6 FTE temporary faculty positions instead of 8.5. And since there is no such thing as a half-person in the real world, you are talking about two people losing their jobs – not exactly a model of job creation in a down economy.

But, it gets worse. Let’s say that a particular university takes a slightly different approach. Let’s say that a university administration – perhaps even at the direction of the Chancellor – tells all departments to keep all faculty schedules as they are and not increase the temporary faculty load to 5-5. Such a university president might even come out and try to sound all benevolent by saying “we don’t want our temporary faculty to be overburdened…we want them to be able to really focus on their classes.” Sound good? Well, guess what? While my department might be able to keep the number of temporary faculty constant (that is, to keep seven temporary faculty on a 4-4 load and one temporary faculty member on a 2-2 load), ALL of those faculty are NOW CONSIDERED PART-TIME. That is, they will lose their FULL-TIME status and with that, they will LOSE THEIR FULL HEALTH CARE BENEFITS. That’s right, instead of just cutting 1.5 FTE faculty positions, a university could cut health insurance for ALL TEMPORARY FACULTY MEMBERS by doing NOTHING. 

So, while Chancellor Cavanaugh may want us all to focus on different workloads for temporary and permanent faculty, his proposal is an attempt to pull the rug out from under ALL temporary faculty members and rip away even the smallest scrap of job security.

Frankly, the only reason we are able to keep the high-quality temporary faculty we have now is because they are paid on scale with tenure-track faculty (well, almost, they do not receive steps as they should) and they receive the same benefits. The temporary faculty members in my department, for example, can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their tenure-track and tenured colleagues. The only reason the vast majority of these highly qualified temporary faculty members do not have tenure-track jobs is because of the job market. And we all know that story. If you constrict the job market, the competition for any single job increases. That’s a pattern that has held steady for the past several decades. Competition for academic jobs is already intense. The Chancellor’s plan not only rips away job security for temporary faculty members, it further constricts the academic job market across the state for ALL higher education faculty. Earlier this year we saw the Chancellor call upon university presidents and faculty to unite and help stave of Governor Corbett’s 20% cut in higher education. He played the role of a PASSHE advocate, a uniter. Well, just a few short months later, we learn that same Chancellor is wielding his Divide-and-Conquer hammer, going after the same people who have helped deliver the high-quality education he touted before the Pennsylvania House and Senate.

The message I have for my APSCUF brothers and sisters comes from a sign that has been carried through the streets of Chicago this past week: “Enough is Enough.” Ya Basta! We have to see the Chancellor’s proposal for what it is: to divide us so he can weaken and conquer us all. We have to begin to think of our current contract fight in the same terms the striking Chicago teachers see theirs: as a fight for the future of public education. If you think of this contract fight only in terms of “getting mine,” we will all lose in the long-term. We cannot afford to lop off limb after limb and think we can be effective for the long haul. I for one will not sell out my temporary faculty colleagues for the same reason I will not sell out my tenured colleagues: we are in this together. This is a fight for the integrity Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. And it is a fight for our futures and our children’s future.

Enough is enough!

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With the increasing numbers of submissions to Raging Chicken Press, we’ve been thinking of expanding our publishing schedule from once a month to twice a month. If you’ve been following the going-ons in our little corner of activist media, you know that I’ve been batting around the idea of doing an “Early Edition” at the beginning of each month. Well, here’s our first crack at it. As you’ll see, this “Early Edition” has fewer contributions, but if we continue to get the kind of submissions we’ve been getting, we might just try publishing full editions twice a month. Frankly, the only thing that is holding us back from doing so at this point is the work load. And, yes, that sentence is a segue to a call for aspiring activist journalists, videographers, editors, podcasters, and social network enthusiasts to c’mon out and join us Raging Chickens. At this point, we’re all volunteers and we can use whatever skills you bring to the table. Interested? Drop me a line at ragingchickenpress@gmail.com.

Here’s the contents for the May Early Edition:

If you’re still thinking about contributing to the May issue of Raging Chicken Press, remember the deadline for submissions is this Thursday, May 10th. It looks like we’re in good shape to go ahead and publish the May issue on the 15th.

The Never-Ending Fundraising Drive

There are 52 days left in this round of our fundraising drive. The good news is that as of this writing we’ve raised $515.00! A little side-note to all of you who contributed so far, you’re thank you gifts will be on their way very soon. After several unexpected setbacks, I got a package this week with stickers, mugs, t-shirts, and more to send out to all of you awesome Raging Chicken supporters.

The less good news is that we’ve only raised about 2% of our goal. It’s been a learning experience for sure. I could not be happier with the amazing work we’ve been able to do with next to no resources (other than those that come out of my pocket). However, we’re growing fast and are hitting the limits of what we can afford to do. For example, one of our writers is doing some pretty amazing investigative research on fracking out in Western Pennsylvania. He’s been able to do some great work over the phone and email, but we’d like to be able to send him out there for a few days with a video camera and recorder to talk to the affected families. Imagine if Raging Chicken Press had the resources to cover some of the costs of this kind of investigative research. Pretty cool. My goal from the beginning of this project was to appeal first to the progressive community directly for support. The idea was that the more that this project is funded by individual members of the progressive community, the more we can ensure it will always be for the progressive community in a very concrete way. We recognize that not every progressive out there has the time or ability do the kind of work we are doing here. But we can build a networked community of contributors and donors to help strengthen our movements.

It’s clear that I’m going to have to rethink how to best fund this project for the long haul. I am wide open for ideas and help! Let me know if you’ve got some ideas for raising funds. I’ve been looking at some grants, starting a membership program, and approaching some regional, progressive organizations directly. We’ll see what comes of it all.

Shop Progressive and Support Raging Chicken Press

Another very easy AND FREE way you can help support what we do is to use the links on the right-hand sidebar to do all your Amazon.com, fair-trade coffee, and book shopping. Use the search boxes or click through and shop as your normally would. You will have the same experience as if you went to the sites directly. The only difference is that part of your purchase, generally 4-8%, will go directly to Raging Chicken Press. Even better, bookmark the links and use that bookmark every time you shop.

Here’s three links that you can start using right now to help support what we do:

I want to put in a special plug for the Shop Indie Bookstores link. Here at Raging Chicken Press, we are now using this site for buying all of our subscriber give-away books. The Shop Indie Bookstores link not only allows you to buy from Independent, non-chain bookstores, you can choose to shop local. That’s key. For example, we’ve bought several books directly from the Doylestown Bookstore using the Shop Indie Bookstores link. Why does that matter? Well, here’s the persuasive case made by Indiebound.org:

When you shop at an independently owned business, your entire community benefits:

The Economy

  • Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
  • Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
  • More of your taxes are reinvested in your community–where they belong.

The Environment

  • Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

The Community

  • Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
  • Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
  • More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

We’re certainly convinced. So, next time you’re thinking about ordering a book online, picking up a good read for a gift, ordering textbooks for school, or downloading an eBook (yes, Indies do eBooks too!), consider going Indie and going local. And, to ge the most bang for your buck, use our Shop Indie Bookstores link and support Raging Chicken Press while you support your local community.

A Note on the May Issue

I think you’re going to really dig the full May issue. We’ve got some great interviews and articles that remind us that the month of May begins with May Day–International Workers’ Day. The Occupy Movement organized actions around the country, which seemed to be the opening shots of an American Summer. We plan on being there as actions over the summer heat up. Let us know what you will be doing to fight back.

Bread and Roses,

Kevin Mahoney
Editor Zero, Raging Chicken Press

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On St. Patrick’s Day the March issue of Raging Chicken Press hit the networks. If you missed the release, you can still check it out! As you’ll see, the March issue is fracking heavy (pun intended).

So, check it out; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And while you’re checking out the issue, why don’t you consider to contributing to the April issue? The deadline for the April issue is Wednesday, April 11th. I want to make a special call for articles on the PA budget. While the March issue is pretty packed with great stuff, I feel there is a notable lack of coverage of the budget. PA Governor Corbett has proposed a budget that will bring many long-standing public institutions in PA to the brink of destruction. So, you’ve got about a month! I hope you’ll consider submitting. Got something to get off your chest? Peace to speak? Ax to grind? You might just have found an ally.

Bread and Roses,

Kevin Mahoney
Editor Zero, Raging Chicken Press

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Wow. It has been quite an amazing month and the December issue of Raging Chicken Press reflects the kind of month it has been. It’s also pretty clear that we are already bursting at the seams, ready to expand our site into new areas. I am going to spare you my end of  year reflections until next week sometime. Suffice it to say that we’ve got big plans for 2012!

Here’s a breakdown of the December issue:

As you can see, it’s quite an issue. A great way to close out 2011. Raging Chicken Press will be taking a little break over the holidays. Our next issue will be published the first week of February. While we will not be publishing a full issue until then, I will be using the opportunity to fill you in on our plans for 2012.

One reminder: it’s still possible to be eligible to be selected from our subscriber list to receive this months “Must Read.” This month’s book takes its inspiration from our Chomsky interview: Noam Chomsky’s, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order as well as Hopes and Prospects (that’s right, another double give-away). To be eligible, all you need to do is enter your email address in the subscription box on the right-hand side of our main page and click “Subscribe” by Monday, December 19th. That’s it and it’s free. I’ll announce our lucky subscriber next week.

That’s it for now. Hope you dig the issue!

Bread and Roses,

Editor Zero, Kevin Mahoney

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Yes, the long wait is over. The November issue of Raging Chicken Press is up. I am hoping that you will think it was worth the wait. As you might imagine, the Occupy/99% movement takes the lion-share of the space this month. In fact, so much has happened and happened so quickly, that we had to drop a one article that had become outdated and we added in a “part two” to Dustin Slaughter’s piece on Occupy Philly because events moved fast this past week.

As a testament to how fast events are moving, we have not had a chance to begin to digest last night’s forcible eviction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in NYC, the court order that allowed OWS activists to return to their encampment, and the hundreds of arrests that seemed to continue into the night. In addition, the Mayor of Oakland let it slip that she had a conference call with mayors from 18 U.S. cities with Occupy encampments to coordinate crackdowns and evictions. There is now doubt that we’re entering a new stage of the Occupy/99% movement…what that stage is, however, is undecided at this time. Raging Chicken Press looks forward to covering the continual development of this amazing movement.

This months issue features the following contributions:

We’d also like to remind you that you have to the end of this week for your chance to win Raging Chicken Press’s “Must Read” book of the month. All you need to do is subscribe to Raging Chicken Press by entering your email address in the box to the right and click “subscribe.”
Finally, for all you musicians and singer-songwriters out there, check out our first ever song contest for your chance to win Raging Chicken Press gear and our “Must Read” book of the month.
That’s it for now. Happy reading!
Kevin Mahoney
Editor Zero, Raging Chicken Press

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Like to write music? Progressive? This might be for you:

The November issue of Raging Chicken Press will be out soon (hopefully by Monday–we’ve been a bit sick here).  I know, the waiting game sucks.  Well, Raging Chicken Press has got something for at least some of you to do while you are waiting for the next issue.

Raging Chicken Press announces its first ever song contest! More specifically, song parody contest. Frankly, if I had the musical talent, I would have been on this over the summer. But, we all have to accept our short-comings. So, I thought this would be a cool project to push out to fans and friends of Raging Chicken Press.

Have you ever seen Disney’s version of Robin Hood? Well, I loved it as a kid and now my three-year old son loves it too. As I was watching it over the summer, I began to see the possibility of repurposing some of the songs on the soundtrack for our current struggles against right-wing attacks on collective bargaining, public education, social services, and our democracy. I began to think about casting our “beloved” governor, Tom Corbett as “Prince John” the “phony King of England.”  In particular, I was thinking about the song “The Phony King of England.” Listen to this song and replace “John” and “England” with “Tom” and “Pennsylvania” and you’ll get the idea:

Got it? If you check out Chris Priest’s repurposing of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” (see below) you’ll get the sense of what we’re thinking about here at Raging Chicken Press.

So, we’re going to try a little experiment: We are calling on readers and friends of Raging Chicken Press to submit parodies of the song “Phony King of England” to Raging Chicken Press. All entries will be posted to Raging Chicken Press and readers will have a chance to vote on the best version. The top three entries (if we get that many) will receive their choice of t-shirt from the Raging Chicken Press store.  The winning song will also receive Raging Chicken Press’s “Must Read” book of the month.

Here’s the rules:

  • Song must be a rewritten version of the “Phony King of England” that appears in the video above
  • Song should replace “John” with “Tom” and Tom should refer to PA Governor, Tom Corbett. Likewise, “England” should be replaced with “Pennsylvania”
  • All entries must be recorded in MP3 or .wav format.
  • All final recordings must be loaded up to YouTube. Ideally, the final video should include images to political protest against Tom Corbett and the PA Republican’s austerity budget and other attacks upon working families and the Commons.
  • Once songs are uploaded to YouTube, an email should be sent to ragingchickenpress@gmail.com including a link to the video, the name(s) of the song writer(s), and contact information including email and mailing address.
  • All entries should be submitted by November 29th.
Entries will be posted to Raging Chicken Press as they are received. Voting for best parody song will begin on November 30, 2011 and the winner(s) will be announced in December issue.
Any questions? Send email inquiries to Kevin Mahoney, Editor Zero, Raging Chicken Press @ ragingchickenpress@gmail.com. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

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