"Revenge of the Part-Time Professors" [December 12] forgot to mention one source of resistance to improving the working conditions of part-time and other "adjunct" faculty: the full-time professors themselves along with the unions that represent them.
I am a tenured full professor at Northeastern Illinois University and presently one of only a handful of full-time professors who have spoken out for greater benefits for our local exploited laborers. While a few of my colleagues have spoken privately in support of such measures, I and others have met mostly with objections from faculty and union representatives: responses like, "We don't owe them anything," "We can't tell the majority of union members they should give up benefits for a minority," "It wouldn't look good for the president of the university if we pushed for increased wages for them."
Some of us had hoped that the recent UPS agreement would mark a resurgence of union solidarity in the United States. But presently at colleges and elsewhere round the country unions serve to insure that those who are comfortably taken care of will be comfortanly taken care of. What we need is not union recognition, but for unions to recognize those whom they used to represent and what they used to stand for.
Professor of English
Northeastern Illinois University