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April 8, 2015

Professors in Poverty: New Report

April 8, 2015 | By |

Research by the University of California, Berkeley’s Labor Center and SEIU has found that poverty amongst faculty is often higher than Americans.  The research shows that part-time faculty are more likely to be in poverty than the average Americans, ranging from 9% in Nevada to 43% in Maine. All total, 22% of part-time faculty live below the poverty line, while 14.5% of Americans live in poverty (2013).

For the full data visit Faculty Forward. Also check out an NBC report on the figures here

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February 23, 2015

Wash U. Adjunct Nominees for Leadership Committees

February 23, 2015 | By |

Now that we’ve won our union at Washington University, we’re taking the first step to win a good contract. We are forming our bargaining team, contract action team and communications team to lead our campaign for better wages. Please take a moment to learn more about each candidate and decide who you want to represent you. There is still time to nominate yourself or a colleague by clicking here

Richard NewmanRichard Newman
University College
English/Writing 

I began teaching creative nonfiction in University College about a dozen years ago and now teach variously Introduction to Creative Writing, Short Fiction Writing, and Microfiction and Ten-Minute Plays. I have also adjuncted in UMSL’s Honors College, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, and St. Louis Community College. At all of these institutions, I have had classes offered then not offered according to the whims and politics of the institutions, departments, or faculty members. I started working with the organizing committee in the fall of 2014 with the primary goal of creating class consistency, though I am interested in other things this union can accomplish such as better pay and benefits. I am interested in working on the bargaining team and the communications team to help meet these goals and help end what is an unsustainable system of universities relying on low-paid adjust workers for 70% of the faculty.

In addition to my teaching, I am the author of the poetry collections All the Wasted Beauty of the World (Able Muse Press, 2014), Domestic Fugues (Steel Toe Books, 2009), and Borrowed Towns (Word Press, 2005). My poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Boulevard, Crab Orchard Review, New Letters, The Sun, and many other periodicals and anthologies, and have been featured many times on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. For 20 years I have served as editor of River Styx and co-director of the River Styx Reading Series.

Andrew RaimistAndrew Raimist
Sam Fox School of Design 
Architecture 

On the team, I would fight for higher wages, longer contracts and a choice of benefits.

 

Scott Granneman
University College
Communications & Journalism

I’ve been active with our union since day one, and I am committed to improving the working conditions for all adjuncts at Washington University. I’ll listen carefully to the concerns and desires of my fellow adjuncts, and I’ll fight hard during negotiations with the University.

Chris BoehmChris Boehm
Arts & Sciences
College Writing

I started graduate work in Comparative Literature at Washington University in the Fall of 2003. Before I finished my Ph.D. in Spring 2012, I started working as an adjunct periodically for Comp. Lit., but primarily in the College Writing Program; this is my fourth year as an adjunct. I have been involved as part of the Organizing Committee for unionization since early last fall, and have a long history with unions in my family. The importance of collective action and solidarity were stressed in my household growing up. When the opportunity came up at Washington University to change our working conditions through forming a union, I was excited to be involved. So many of my friends and colleagues are being underpaid and under appreciated for the considerable time and effort they put into teaching and mentoring. I want to be a part of the Bargaining Team to help insure that teaching labor at Washington University is being valued in tangible ways (salary, benefits, job security, input within our departments, etc.), and not simply in rhetoric.

Nicholas MillerNicholas Miller
Arts & Sciences
English/Writing

I’ve been at Wash U 7 1/2 years. This is my first semester adjuncting. Adjuncting is a huge labor issue. With my long-standing relationship with the school I bring a lot of experience to bear.

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February 13, 2015

Tufts Full Time Faculty Vote to Form a Union

February 13, 2015 | By |

Full-time faculty at Tufts University voted to form a union with SEIU Local 509 yesterday. They join their part-time colleagues at Tufts who voted to form a union last year. 

“We’re hoping to have job security, better pay, and more of a voice, and the union, because of collective bargaining, gives us a strong voice,” said Claire Schub, a French literature lecturer who has taught at Tufts as a full-time, nontenure-track professor for 22 years.

Read more in The Boston Globe and The Tufts Daily

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February 9, 2015

Inside Higher Ed Article on “Bold” New Campaign

February 9, 2015 | By |

“Most observers agree that adjunct instructors deserve better pay, but what about $15,000 per course? The Service Employees International Union shocked even some adjunct activists last week when it announced that figure as a centerpiece of its new faculty advocacy campaign. But while union leaders admit the number is bold, those involved in the campaign say adjuncts might as well aim big, since they have little to lose. They also say they hope the $15,000 figure will force a national conversation about just how colleges spend their money, if not on middle-class salaries for instructors.”

Read the full article here on Inside Higher Ed.

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February 4, 2015

Boston University Adjuncts Vote Yes to Union

February 4, 2015 | By |

Boston University Adjunct Faculty Vote “Union Yes” by a 2-to1 Margin

More than 2,600 Boston-area educators now united through FacultyForward/SEIU

Boston University adjunct professors voted to form their union by an overwhelming 2-to-1 margin today, casting ballots to joinFaculty Forward – a project of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509. The vote represents a significant victory for non-tenure-track faculty throughout the Greater Boston area, with more than 2,600 educators now engaged in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization.

“We started with a simple premise: If excellence in learning is the core mission of our university, then we need real investment in the classroom – in the equitable, sustainable treatment of all educators,” said Laurie LaPorte, a lecturer in Anthropology at the College of Arts & Sciences. “Today, with the support of our students, colleagues and community allies, we’ve taken a major step toward improving the learning experience at Boston University. Together we are stronger.”

With today’s vote, more than 750 Boston University adjuncts join a robust, nationwide movement to address the crisis in higher education – where educators’ jobs are increasingly low-wage and part-time despite tuition increases and growing endowments. The groundbreaking effort seeks to reinvest in the classroom, raise standards and improve stability through the Faculty Forward and Adjunct Action initiatives.

In Massachusetts, part-time faculty at Tufts University recently signed their first union contract, marking significant gains around compensation, working conditions and educators’ role in decision-making. Contingent faculty on the Lesley and Northeastern campuses also began contract negotiations in recent months, and union votes are scheduled among Bentley University adjuncts and Tufts full-time faculty in the coming weeks.

“BU adjuncts have made a clear decision, overwhelmingly choosing unionization as the best way to make our university a better place to teach and to learn,” said Dan Hunter, an English lecturer in the College of Arts & Sciences. “I am proud to be part of a national movement working for better pay, improved stability and a real voice in the decisions that impact educators and our students.”

The Boston University faculty election was conducted by mail, with ballots counted at the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Boston.

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January 5, 2015

Adjunct Faculty at Washington University in St. Louis Form Union

January 5, 2015 | By |

Adjunct professors at Washington University in St. Louis have voted to join adjunct faculty at schools across the country in SEIU/Adjunct Action. Over 400 faculty members won their union today as ballots were counted at the National Labor Relations Board office in St. Louis. The victory is the first in St. Louis and a step forward to improve the working conditions of the increasing numbers of part-time and contingent faculty 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. Adjunct faculty, now the majority of teaching faculty across the country, typically have no job security, no benefits and low pay that forces adjuncts to string together jobs at multiple colleges and universities to make ends meet. At the same time, revenues and tuition have increased steadily over the last two decades while spending on instruction has declined – and it’s adjuncts and their deeply-in-debt students who are suffering as a result.

Michael O’Bryan teaches in the English Department at Washington University.  “This is a great day for faculty, students, and the entire community of higher education in St. Louis and throughout the region,” he said. “This victory is an important step toward improving the labor conditions of university faculty and, consequently, the learning experience of the students taught by those faculty. We look forward to enhancing Wash U’s already exemplary record of service to its students and to the St. Louis community.”

St. Louis adjunct faculty are following in the footsteps of adjuncts at nearly 20 universities who have joined Adjunct Action in the past two years, including Dominican University, St. Mary’s College and Otis College of Art and Design in California who voted to join SEIU in the last week. They join faculty at the Howard University and Georgetown University in Washington, DC, Tufts University and Northeastern University in Boston who have all voted for unionization in order to strengthen their voices and improving working conditions for all part-time faculty in America.

Darcie Star teaches dance at Washington University. “By uniting in solidarity to form our union we are part of building a positive future and creating sustainable change for those working in higher education,” she said. “This victory gives a voice to improved conditions for both faculty and students, as well as offering a platform for communication of needs and desires of those who provide service to the future generations.”

 

Katharine Bullard

By

December 31, 2014

California faculty from three campuses vote to join SEIU

December 31, 2014 | By |

Adjunct organizing finished 2014 on a high note in California, as more than 900 adjuncts voted to join SEIU at three campuses right before the new year. On Dec. 29, roughly 400 contingent faculty at St. Mary’s College in Moraga and almost 300 at Dominican University in San Rafael voted with sizable majorities to join Local 1021. The following day, faculty members at Otis College of Art and Design voted for their union, making approximately 250 instructors the newest members of SEIU Local 721. “This is an exciting day for the entire Otis community,” said instructor Andrea Bowers. “By forming a union at Otis, we’ll have the ability to advocate for students and our colleagues. We will all benefit from a supported and empowered faculty at all levels, and Otis will be able to maintain its standards of artistic and educational excellence.” 

Read more about the growing movement for education and economic justice in the Los Angeles Times.

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December 17, 2014

Activists Call on States to Take on For-Profit Colleges

December 17, 2014 | By |

“Activists have turned to state governors in a battle over the fate of students at Corinthian Colleges, the massive for-profit college chain that is in the process of being shuttered by the federal government.”

Adjunct Action/SEIU has partnered with Higher Ed Not Debt to bring greater accountability to the for-profit higher education industry, including delivering a petition today to ECMC in Minnesota calling for students to be protected during the sale of Corinthian College, a for-profit that was sanctioned by the Dept. of Education for major violations. 

Read more about the renewed focus on state-level change here

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December 15, 2014

Minnesotans Calling for Justice Re: For-Profit Corinthian

December 15, 2014 | By |

Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit company which operates 107 colleges under Everest, WyoTech, and Heald brands, is closing or selling their schools after the Department of Education found the company ripped off students by manipulating job placement rates.

One of Corinthian’s holdings, Everest College in Minnesota,  falsified job placement rates and tricked students into thousands of dollars of debt, while leaving them without a usable degree. Everest was just bought by ECMC Group, an entity that’s never run a school before and currently makes its money ensuring that students can’t declare bankruptcy on their student loans.

In conjunction with Higher Ed Not Debt and SEIU, on Wednesday Minnesotans will be delivering a petition to the ECMC group calling for justice for Minnesota students. 

Sign a petition calling for justice for those students and read more here.

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December 11, 2014

Adjunct Faculty Discuss Union, Future on VPR

December 11, 2014 | By |

Adjunct faculty at three colleges in Vermont, Burlington, St. Michael’s, and Champlain, voted in the past month to form a union with Adjunct Action/SEIU. Today, Genevieve Jacobs, an adjunct faculty member at Champlain College and  Sean Witters, a lecturer in the English Department at the University of Vermont, spoke to VPR about their experiences.

Click here to listen to the full interview. 

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