There’s a lot of academic labor activism/advocacy happening across the disciplinary organizations that represent Writing Studies as a field; much of it, but not all, aims at non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty equity/equality–which isn’t surprising. In the aftermath of a Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) annual meeting last week at which five resolutions regarding labor/NTT faculty issues (see Resolutions 3-7) passed at the Business Meeting, I was already thinking that it’s worth taking a quick time out to anchor those various projects (and a couple of others) in the groups/bodies/organizations that are responsible for them. Then I got this communiqué in my office this morning.
What makes the whole morass of work so confusing happening is the combination of two factors: (1) several different groups are doing things, and (2) many of the people in those groups are the same. Differentiating the work, as a result, is that much harder because it also involves remembering the names and faces of a bunch of people who don’t even all know each other, much less the organizational leadership to whom we’re appealing for much of it.
So, here’s a sketch of what work belongs to which group:
The Indianapolis Resolution is not a product of or housed within any official organization. Yes, it began in a CCCC pre-convention workshop hosted by the CCCC Labor Caucus, but neither CCCC nor the Labor Caucus is a sponsor of it. Those of us who have worked on, propagated, and organized around it are doing it freelance, asking disciplinary organizations to get involved in answering its calls.
Resolutions 4-7 (see link in the first paragraph) that passed at the CCCC 2016 Business Meeting came directly from the CCCC Task Force on Contingent Faculty Working Conditions, convened in November 2014. Our charge was to develop a Position Statement on Working Conditions, and along the way, we realized that CCCC could improve the organization’s responsiveness to NTT faculty concerns. These resolutions ask for help with those concerns. They have nothing to do with the Indy Resolution, or the Labor Caucus, or the Committee on Part-time, Adjunct, or Contingent Labor (which currently doesn’t actually exist and hasn’t for more than a year). Only the Task Force.
The Task Force submitted a revised Position Statement for consideration at the CCCC Executive Committee meeting in Houston. We are waiting for information from the CCCC Officers regarding approval, publication schedule, and so on. They have lots to sort out, so we’ll hear when they’ve finished their post-conference business.
The CCCC Labor Caucus met at CCCC and gave a Sponsored Panel, but wasn’t formally involved with any of the resolutions at the Business Meeting. Again, there are individual people who are Labor Caucus members, Task Force members, and people involved in the Indy Resolution–but those overlaps aren’t structural or formal.
Finally, the Council of Writing Program Administrators constituted a Labor Committee a couple of years ago, which is working on a couple of projects, one of which we’ve talked about on listservs and in meetings/conference sessions a little–establishing a Labor Resource Center that offers WPAs and faculty access to documents/resources that are ethically sound in labor terms–hiring/renewal policies, evaluation protocols, job descriptions, etc. The Committee has also officially asked to Council of Writing Program Administrators Executive Committee to take up the Indianapolis Resolution, which they have (taken up) but without making an endorsement or concrete decisions about what they’ll do with it.
Making all this even messier are sub-groups among and across these groups who are writing articles, working on books, doing conference presentations/proposals together, and so on. But in the same way that CCCC, NCTE, CWPA and other organizational leadership are rightly concerned to make sure everybody understand who’s responsible for what, I think it’s likewise important to understand where the initiatives are coming from.
If anybody who’s been involved in any of these wants to add, clarify, or correct anything here, please do.
[Update: This is also in addition to non-discipline-based efforts like New Faculty Majority, COCAL, etc and who knows how many informal groups of comrades/allies/accomplices who pop up in loose groups to respond to specific situations.]