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.”