Letters to the Editor
—Daniel T. O'Hara, Professor of English and First Mellon Term Professor of Humanities, CLA
February 15, 2009
Dear David Waldstreicher,
Prof. Steinberg's tone in his letter in The Faculty Herald about TAUP-AFT is not one I would choose. However, his pointed observations are right on target. For unless you assume that the TAUP-AFT leadership and negotiating team are completely incompetent, which is an assumption I would not make, the only other reasonable conclusion to reach as to why they did not accept Temple's original Novermber offer is that they wanted to appeal primarily to the NTT faculty. In doing so, however, they lost sight of the needs of the tenured faculty. Admittedly, NTT's are the core of any future faculty union at Temple (or elsewhere), but till that glorious future arrives the current majority of union members should not be forgotten.
This is especially the case for those of us who are facing, in the next few years, the many difficult financial issues of retirement made now even more difficult by the global economic crisis of the last half year. Many of the long-established professors at insitutions all across the country have lost, on average, it has been reported, a quarter of their TIAA-CREF retirement funds. However, settlement rather than strike back in November, as Prof. Steinberg suggests, would have been the wiser course by far, for everyone. Now, of course, we confront the prospect of having to accept a very bad deal from Temple; or, should the union somehow prevail, one only marginally better overall.
Of course, given how poorly the union has performed this time around, another prospect looms, the collapse of the union as tenured faculty withdraw their support for it in growing numbers.
Daniel T. O'Hara,
Professor of English and First Mellon Term Professor of Humanities
College of Liberal Arts