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October 29, 2014

Boston University Adjunct Faculty Announce Union Election Filing

October 29, 2014 | By |

Adjunct faculty at Boston University announced that they have filed for a union election to join SEIU Local 509 as part of the regional and national Adjunct Action campaign to raise standards in higher education.

Boston University adjuncts are continuing to build support while taking an important step towards a vote to join colleagues at Tufts, Northeastern and Lesley universities who have joined SEIU in the last year. The filing comes days after Tufts University part-time faculty overwhelmingly approved a landmark first union contract that covers roughly 200 part-time instructional faculty.

Laurie LaPorte teaches in the Anthropology department at BU. She said, “I’m thrilled that my colleagues and I are a step closer to a union by filing for an election, adding to the momentum that we’re all building in the Boston area. The recent Tufts contract is a great accomplishment. It shows that adjuncts have the power to reverse the trend of ever-increasing contingency in higher education. It’s important to think about the real benefits from the reversal of this trend, particularly in regard to providing quality education and instruction to our students, which is the very purpose of higher education.”

Sixty-six percent of Boston University faculty are not on the tenure track and 41 percent of BU faculty are part-time. The trend at BU follows a national crisis in higher education that has led to broad concern over issues like the marginalization of teaching, academic isolation and job stability.

Dan Hunter teaches playwriting, politics and public policy at BU. He said, “As Boston University has grown in the national education ranking, so has the number of adjuncts and part-time faculty teaching at BU. We are critical to the success that BU has attained, yet adjuncts have no voice in the future of the university, low pay, no job security and no benefits. Adjuncts have the same credentials and are held to the same standards as tenured and full-time faculty.  Through our union, we are asking Boston University to support all its teachers and invest in the classroom experience.”

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October 27, 2014

Adjunct Faculty at Washington University in St. Louis File for Union Election

October 27, 2014 | By |

Adjunct and contingent faculty at Washington University announced today that they have filed for a union election as part of a national movement that is raising standards in higher education.

Forty-four percent of faculty in St. Louis area private, non-profit colleges and universities work part time and 73 percent of all faculty are not on the tenure track. While revenues and tuition have increased steadily over the last two decades, spending on instruction has declined – and it’s adjunct faculty and their deeply-in-debt students who are suffering as a result.

Rin Henderson teaches at Washington University. She said, “I’m proud to have received my doctorate from Washington University, and I love teaching the students there. But like many in my position, I often feel insecure about the future and struggle to give my students the full attention they deserve. Filing for a union election is a crucial step toward giving teachers like me a voice in the conversations that determine not only our own security, but the amount of time and consideration we can devote to the students in our care.”

Scott Granneman teaches in the Communications Department at Washington University. He said, “I support forming a union because it promotes fairness for everyone: workers and employers. It gives adjuncts a united voice, and it makes it easier for the administration to work together with adjuncts to create a better educational environment for everyone.”

Washington University contract faculty are following in the footsteps of non-tenure faculty at more than a dozen universities who have joined Adjunct Action in the past year, including Northeastern University and Tufts University in Boston, Howard University and Georgetown University in Washington, DC who have all voted for unionization in order to strengthen their voices and improve working conditions for all part-time faculty in America.

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October 27, 2014

Tufts University Part-time Lecturers Approve Landmark First Contract

October 27, 2014 | By |

***Learn more about the Tufts part-time lecturer contract at the 2014 Boston Symposium on November 15. RSVP here.***

Tufts University part-time faculty have overwhelmingly approved a landmark first union contract that covers roughly 200 part-time instructional faculty. The three-year agreement makes groundbreaking progress in job stability, includes a significant increase in per course pay and establishes new pathways for professional development.

In September 2013, Tufts part-time lecturers were the first Boston area faculty to form a union through the Adjunct Action campaign, a national project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). A year later, more than 2,000 adjunct faculty in Boston are united in SEIU. Lesley and Northeastern University are currently in the early stages of contract negotiations, while Boston University part-time faculty are building towards a union vote.

Andy Klatt teaches Spanish at Tufts. He said, “We are pleased that part-time faculty and the administration have come together in a positive and collaborative process to produce an agreement that will improve the working lives of faculty, advance the goals that we share as a learning community, and benefit our students. We hope that our non-confrontational process and the agreement that we reached will serve as positive models for other universities in the Boston area and around the country as we work together to address the national crisis of contingent academic labor.”

The Tufts contract is an important milestone in the national conversation on contingent faculty. Half of the nation’s faculty are now part-time with little or no job security from semester to semester. The Tufts part-time lecturer contract includes pay increases, in some cases up to 40 percent per course over the life of the agreement and multiyear teaching appointments with pay protections for cancelled courses.

Tufts part time lecturer Elizabeth Lemons said, “We made real progress toward equitable working conditions and full inclusion in the Tufts community. Our work, our contributions, our value are now more acknowledged. This is an important beginning, not only for us at Tufts, but also for our colleagues at other universities in Boston and nationally who are committed to raising standards in higher education.”

At a Glance: 2014 Tufts Part-time Lecturer Contract

For the first time, most part-time faculty will have the security of knowing that they have a job next year – reversing the trend towards contingency that has marginalized the profession.
• Everyone will have at least 1 year contracts.
• By the end of the contract period, lecturers with more than 4 years of service will be eligible for 2 year appointments and those with more than 8 years will be eligible for 3 year contracts.
• Part-time lecturers will get first notice and fair consideration for full-time positions including a guaranteed interview. If the part-time faculty member isn’t offered the position, the instructor can find out why in a meeting with the dean or head of the department.

All Tufts part-time Lecturers will receive a meaningful pay increase – as much as a 40 percent raise over the life of the contract in Romance Languages.
• By September 2016, all Tufts part-time faculty will make at least $7,300 a course. Minimum for someone with more than 8 years of service is $8,760.
• The contract clearly states that work outside the classroom (e.g., advising, mentoring and independent studies) will be compensated.
• Those with a 3-year contract will receive full compensation for a cancelled course.

Tufts part-time lecturers contract reflects how critically important part-time faculty are to the full life of the university.
• A revamped evaluation process will be used to improve performance, not punish.
• The contract sets up a professional development fund for scholarship and artistic practice that contributes to teaching excellence.

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October 14, 2014

SEIU/Tufts University Joint Statement on Tentative Contract Agreement for Tufts Part-Time Lecturers

October 14, 2014 | By |

Tufts University and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract for part-time lecturers in Tufts’ School of Arts and Sciences.

Details about the agreement will be made public upon ratification by all Tufts part-time lecturers in the School of Arts and Sciences. Negotiations began in January of this year, and the bargaining teams have met regularly since that time. There are about 200 lecturers in the bargaining unit and efforts are underway to complete the process by late October.

The university and the SEIU are pleased to have reached this accord through a process that reflected a mutual commitment to students and respect for the interests and concerns of both the part-time lecturers and the university administration.

“We recognize the valuable contributions our part-time Arts & Sciences faculty make to the vibrant academic environment at Tufts. We believe this contract reflects our commitment to recognizing those contributions within the overall context of the university’s priorities,” said James M. Glaser, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences ad interim.

Tufts Part-time Lecturer Andy Klatt said, “Our tentative agreement with Tufts University reflects the institution’s long tradition of an inclusive and collaborative environment. Our negotiations were not always easy, but were always conducted in a respectful, honest, and collegial manner with the Tufts administration’s committee. We will recommend this proposal to all the part-time lecturers who will vote to approve it later this month. We believe it sets a high standard and balances the University’s stated need for flexibility and our goal of winning greater stability and security as members of the Tufts faculty.”

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September 22, 2014

College of St Rose Adjuncts Vote Overwhelmingly to Join SEIU/Adjunct Action

September 22, 2014 | By |

Adjunct professors at The College of Saint Rose have voted overwhelmingly to join adjunct faculty at schools across the country in SEIU/Adjunct Action. The victory is a step forward for adjuncts in New York State working to improve the working conditions of the increasing numbers of part-time and contingent faculty in higher education.

Saint Rose adjuncts will join SEIU Local 200United as part of Adjunct Action, a project of the Service Employees International Union that includes over 21,000 adjuncts across the country. The final vote count was 175 yes to 61 no.

Alyssa Colton, an adjunct instructor of English, said: “We would not have been able to do this so quickly and thoroughly without the hard work of the St. Rose adjuncts, full-time faculty, and alumni, students, and community leaders like Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Councilmembers Judd Krasher and Leah Golby, and Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, who have been supporting us the entire time. The students and the surrounding community stand to gain as much as adjuncts from improved conditions for part-timers and we are excited to get to work making these vital improvements.”

Throughout the Capital District and across the country, adjunct faculty continue to fight to address the crisis in higher education: a marginalized teaching faculty, quickly rising tuition, and record levels of student debt.

Bradley Russell, an adjunct instructor of Anthropology and member of the organizing committee, reflected on the victory: “This vote is historic for the College of Saint Rose. It is extremely gratifying to see how many of our fellow adjuncts stood up and made it clear that they want a decisive voice on campus. For the first time, adjunct faculty members will now have a well-earned say in our own futures. I look forward to working with the administration to improve teaching conditions, the student experience and the college as a whole. We trust that this is the beginning of a collective bargaining process that will move us into a positive new day for the college. It is time to come together for real and lasting change. Today Saint Rose took an important step to live up to its well-known commitment to social justice. I could not be more pleased with the results to date and anticipate great things ahead.”

St. Rose faculty are following in the footsteps of adjuncts across the country. The University of the District of Columbia, Antioch University in Seattle, Hamline University, San Francisco Art Institute, and Northeastern University have all recently voted to join SEIU/Adjunct Action. Supporters of the St. Rose vote for unionization see this as vital first step to strengthening voices and improving working conditions for all part-time faculty in the Capital District.

“This vote is a heartening reminder that change is possible when enough people decide the time has come,” said Jazmine Gabriel, an adjunct instructor of philosophy who has taught at the Sage Colleges and Siena College along with St Rose. “Speaking up takes courage, and the adjunct faculty members at St. Rose have demonstrated true courage by participating in this process and committing to envisioning and designing a better future. May this vote serve as an inspiration and example to the many of us who face similar challenges at other colleges in the Capital District. St. Rose now has the opportunity to be a leader in the community by helping to set the standards for fair working conditions through trust and collaboration with the bargaining unit.”

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September 3, 2014

St. Louis Post Dispatch Editorial: Adjuncts unite for better education

September 3, 2014 | By |

Following up on last week’s feature story in the Post-Dispatch, the newspaper’s editorial board took a stand with adjunct faculty in the Labor Day edition. They wrote:

Despite lip service to the importance of attaining a college education, the critical need to compete with highly educated students from other countries, the value added to a life when educational goals are attained, the corporatization of higher ed demands the second-class citizenship of adjunct professors.
Many of these second-tier teachers are first-class educators being forced to teach without tools. They don’t have offices so can’t meet with students, unless they want to gather behind the trunks of their cars, which generally serve as their filing cabinets.
Adjuncts are fighting back. On this Labor Day, their efforts should be heralded as they take a page from the annals of the working poor of earlier generations and other industries. The adjuncts are organizing.
Part-time and contingent faculty are working together in St. Louis to reverse trends that have lead to a marginalized workforce by forming unions. Stay tuned for more on campaigns in the St. Louis metro area this fall.
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August 26, 2014

University of the District of Columbia Part-Time Faculty Vote to Join Majority of DC Adjuncts in SEIU

August 26, 2014 | By |

Adjunct faculty at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) have voted to join their colleagues at Georgetown, Howard, George Washington and American universities and form a union in SEIU Local 500. A vast majority voted in favor of forming a union, joining a rapidly growing national union movement to address the crisis in higher education and the troubling trend toward a marginalized teaching faculty.

Seventy-five percent of adjunct faculty in Washington, DC are now united in SEIU Local 500. Professor Juan Laster, a UDC adjunct, said, “We worked very hard for this victory, but this is only the first step. I am looking forward to working with the administration on a first contract that respects our work as educators and faculty and as a key part of the UDC community. I am also proud to be joining Howard University as the second HBCU to have a union for part-time faculty.”

Adjunct faculty at UDC are already working on issues to discuss during first contract negotiations. Workplace conditions in higher education have quickly and dramatically changed for the people responsible for the core mission of instruction in our colleges and universities. Contingent faculty are now a majority of college and university faculty, and through their union contracts, adjunct faculty are already winning better pay, job security and access to professional development.

Throughout the Washington, DC area and across the country adjunct faculty continue to fight to address the crisis in higher education: a marginalized teaching faculty, administrative bloat, quickly rising tuition, and record levels of student debt. Thousands of adjunct and contingent workers have joined SEIU/Adjunct Action in the last year.

Workers at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York and the California College of the Arts are set to vote to form their union in early September, following in the footsteps of faculty at a dozen other schools, including the Maryland Institute College of Art, Northeastern University, Hamline University, San Francisco Art Institute, Georgetown, Howard University and Mills College, all of whom have joined SEIU/Adjunct Action since May 2013.

In addition to five schools in Washington, SEIU Local 500 represents adjunct faculty at Montgomery College and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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August 25, 2014

St. Louis Adjunct Organizing Featured in STL Post Dispatch

August 25, 2014 | By |

Adjunct faculty are ramping up efforts to form unions and solve the crisis in higher education this semester. And on Sunday, was front page news In the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

In the feature story, Andrew Nelson and Gail Brody share their story and why they are forming unions at campuses in the St. Louis area.

‘Nelson gets paid about $2,500 a semester for every three-credit course he teaches. So he picks up as many courses as he can, splitting his time between two universities to make ends meet.
But, he said, it’s not just about money.
“’The most important thing is that we have no input into the departments we work in. We have no say on textbooks, either,” he said. “So other people determine what we are going to teach and how we are going to teach it.’”
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July 24, 2014

Landslide victory for Antioch University Seattle faculty

July 24, 2014 | By |

In a resounding victory, Antioch University Seattle faculty have voted to form a union, joining a rapidly growing national movement to address the crisis in higher education and the troubling trend toward a marginalized teaching faculty.

All faculty stood together to overwhelmingly support a union by voting 85 to 14 to join SEIU Local 925. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) counted the votes for the all-mail ballot election on Wednesday.

The win is a 86 percent vote in favor of forming a union – a landslide victory for the faculty and the entire Antioch Seattle community.

“Time for celebration!” said core faculty member Alex Suarez. “Congratulations to the faculty and to everyone at Antioch University Seattle. We have taken an important step towards a more balanced dialogue. The faculty voices now have a better chance of being heard and given the respect and authority our experience merits. In a world where balance and dialogue are so necessary, we are better able to foster them. Where else can wisdom come from?”

Read the rest of the story at ACT Washington

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July 23, 2014

The House of Representatives Sheds Light on Adjunct Working Conditions

July 23, 2014 | By |

On July 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act,” marking an important step toward bringing transparency to our higher education system. The bill will help millions of prospective and current college students make well-informed decisions about enrolling and attending college. It will also require universities to reveal important information about the working conditions of adjunct faculty, who are now the majority of faculty in higher education.

 “This important legislation gives students, faculty, lawmakers and the public more information about what’s happening in higher education,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “Over the past year, adjunct faculty have joined together to raise standards in our profession and it’s good to see Congress is interested in shining a spotlight on trends in higher education that have marginalized contingent and part-time faculty.”

SEIU helped to make sure that the “Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act” will also allow students and families to gain better information about academic working conditions. It requires institutions of higher education to report the ratio of the number of courses taught by part-time instructors and full-time instructors as well as the mean and median years of employment of their part-time instructors.

Andrew Nelson teaches English at Lindenwood University and East Central College in the St. Louis area. He said,“As an adjunct professor who has taught six years at the university and community college level, I have always placed student success at the top of my education philosophy; accordingly, I am pleased to see that HR 4983 is designed to assist students in pursuit of realizing their educational goals. I am also happy to see legislation that acknowledges the troubling trends in faculty working conditions nationally.Hopefully this bill is a step toward improving the working conditions of millions of adjuncts like myself.”

Read more about the bill and implications for part-time faculty at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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