RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Union NO!

For six unhappy years, your devoted correspondent RWP was a member of a labor union, specifically, the American Association of University Professors. It was not entirely his fault. He was recruited by SUNY Stony Brook in 1986, for the princely sum of $29,000/nine months. What Stony Brook did not tell him until he was on campus and signing up for benefits was that he would be required to give 1% of his pre-tax income to said AAUP. He was told there was no choice in the matter (there was a certain amount of choice, but this was pre-internet, and he really needed the job). This was $290 he really needed,having a young family and trying to live on the north shore of Long Island.

By the time he had left Stony Brook 6 years later, he was earning $44,500 a year, after tenure and promotion. Not much of an increase, you might say. No indeed, and a large part of the reason was that the union was actively working to keep his salary down. Stony Brook had two pools of money, a cost-of-living pool, and a merit pool. The merit pool was small, and the union, which hated merit pay, was constantly trying to negotiate it down. But almost all of RWP's raises came through the merit pool. Profs on $100 K a year would generally not bother to send in the documentation to get a $1k or $2k merit raise, whereas RWP, who was publishing well, getting grants, etc., did so diligently. $1k is a lot when you're making $30k a year. The cost-of-living raises were not great either, because New York in the late 80s/early 90s was not in good budgetary shape. Had RWP relied on COL, he would undoubtedly have gone bankrupt (he nearly did, anyway).

The people who ran the union were everything you might expect. When RWP got there, the boss was one Nuala McGann Drescher, who used her copious dues income to sent out comical Wobbly-style newsletters 'Solidarity, Comrades, we have the Bosses on their knees...'. Except, when you thought about it, the 'Boss' was a Democrat governor running a very liberal state. She was succeeded by his own Department's librarian, a complete incompetent. When she tried to dock RWP's meager salary for a book he had returned six months previously, he walked to the place where it was correctly shelved, brought it to her office, and slammed it on her desk. She then wrote to his chair asking to be protected from his 'male rage'.

A large part of his decision to leave Stony Brook was an intense desire to be rid of these leeches. He was careful to check that UNL is not only not unionized but in a right-to-work state.

And this is why he raises a glass to the people of Michigan, who have rid themselves of the foul stain of compulsory union dues, and the fat goons who collect them. Solidarity, Brothers. Rise up and overthrow the (union) Bosses!

And no more writing in the third person for RWP. It's tiring!


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  2. JTK:

    You are clearly a moron with a lot of time on his hands. Have you thought of taking up suicide as a hobby?

  3. As someone who got fired, I mean, "let go", for refusing to sign up with a particularly militant bunch of posturing rhetoric manglers who had muscled in on my workplace, screw the unions!