Sheesh, as Chunk might say.
That's a no brainer, as Red himself, lover of puns, might quip.
But UCI, Red's longtime employer, thinks otherwise.
Gabriel San Román of the OC Weekly offers this comprehensive overview of the situation:
PETITION: GIVE UCI LECTURER PAID MEDICAL LEAVE AFTER BRAIN SURGERY!
Andrew Tonkovich, a longtime Weekly contributing writer almost since this infernal rag’s hatching, is doing okay enough after emergency brain surgery. He kept a scheduled appearance at Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach last night despite feeling fatigued–talk about dedication! While the Tonk, who also hosts Bibliocracy Radio on KPFK-LA 90.7 FM, can still show up to take part at the college library’s distinguished author lecture series, complications from the procedure call for more recovery time away from work.
And the biggest post-op headache is coming courtesy of UC Irvine. That’s where Tonkovich lecturers at the Department of English and has taught for 22 years. But Peter the Anteater has denied him paid medical leave–not once, but twice–during his current health troubles.
Being a longtime activist alongside all his literary antics, Tonkovich has now become the cause. An online petition addressed to UCI administrators is demanding that he be given paid medical leave that the University Council-American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT) fought for workers like him to have for starters. The union that’s pushing the petition towards 5,000 signatures is also decrying the university’s attempt to clawback his salary and their contributions to his health insurance premiums from last summer since he can’t work this term.
That, friends, is called insult to injury.
It’s also the drain of neoliberalism that universities across the state are circling down while wanting to establish it as the new normal. Currently battling for a new contract, UC-AFT sees Tonkovich’s dilemma as part and parcel what they’re up against.
“Andrew’s story is just one part of the bigger picture of contingent faculty labor,” the petition states. “He represents the type of scholar-teacher who can make a difference in thousands of students’ lives if permitted to have a long-term career at the UC. And his story illustrates the crushing callousness and contempt with which UC admin treats many lecturers.”
Tonkovich: get well, soon! In the meantime, the Weekly will keep you in its thoughts, prayers and hell-raising!Yesterday UCI responded by saying they would gather up donated administrator paid vacation days to cover Red's time off, but as Rebel Girl and others pointed out, that's charity, not policy and fails address the situation in a meaningful way that protects others. She has encouraged Red to decline that offer (not that he needed much encouragement) and press for justice.
Stay tuned. And hey, if you want, sign the petition. As of this morning, 4621 others have.
Solidarity forever, baby.