Given the talks happening all over about how we can best implement the English Department of the Future and hearing from friends of friends about tenured people being let go because of financial exigency, I'm not sanguine about the possibility of change. Not sanguine? That's putting it mildly. Actually, TR's post depressed the living daylights out of me for a few days because it revealed just how low my salary is by comparison.
TR suggests forming a union or joining AAUP, but as Dr. Crazy says,
And I’ll tell you: I get irritable when people talk about unionizing as if it’s the answer to any of the above problems, because that’s not a model that is likely to have any traction in my state, and so when people hold up unions as the answer, I feel like they are closing their eyes to my working conditions and the realities of my location, applying a solution that would work for them in a one-size-fits-all sort of way that certainly isn’t going to fit where I live and work.
In the present economic climate at my university, taking steps toward a higher salary would be like saying "I'm going to hold my breath until I turn blue unless you give me a unicorn." See, nobody's got a unicorn right now, and increasingly they don't have jobs, either. You're welcome to turn blue all you want; it's not going to change the budget numbers.
I don't have any answers, but a little Judy Garland might help to lift our collective spirits: