Posts Tagged ‘job security’

Why Unions Still Matter in Adult Education

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

First in a series of profiles about the unionized ABE programs in Massachusetts

An interview with Jim Kaplan of the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences (SCALE)

by Steven DeMaio

Jim Kaplan

Jim Kaplan has been teaching in adult education since 1977. He became involved in union activities as soon as he started working at SCALE and has served as a leader of the SCALE union since 1979. In this interview, he reflects on his many years of experience and offers his perspective on the continuing importance of unions in the adult education field in Massachusetts.

Why is it still important for adult education teachers to organize, given that they are so widely dispersed across institutions with little central leadership?

Jim K: It’s precisely the same as for any other workers. When we‘re organized, we have better chances of protecting our working conditions and, within a narrower range, of protecting and improving our income and benefits. Any worker with his or her head glued on well ought to be concerned about collective strength.

Do you think that groups of adult education teachers are best organized within schools or across schools?

Jim K: To be effective in organizing, we have to be dealing with people we see face-to-face. That means we need building blocks within individual schools. (more…)