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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 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.”

 

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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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December 1, 2014

St. Michael’s Adjuncts Vote to Form a Union

December 1, 2014 | By |

Adjunct professors at St. Michael’s College in Vermont today voted strongly in favor of forming a union with SEIU/Adjunct Action. By a margin of 64% in favor (46 yes to 26 no), the adjuncts at St. Michael’s join their colleagues at Champlain College and Burlington College, who voted overwhelmingly to form adjunct unions at their respective colleges last week.

The adjuncts at St. Michael’s join their colleagues at Champlain College and Burlington College who last week voted overwhelmingly to form adjunct unions. Taken together, the three votes represent a significant step forward for adjuncts in Vermont who are working to improve the working conditions of the increasing numbers of part-time and contingent faculty in higher education in the state and across the country.

“We join all of our colleagues around country in raising standards, in knowing each other and being able to work towards a better life for all of us,” said Sharyn Layfield, an adjunct faculty member at St. Michael’s College. “I’m 65 and started in teachings in my 20s, and for me this is a culmination of a life’s work. I’ve always been an adjunct. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be doing this, but it means a future for other people who do what I’ve been doing all this time. It’s important to me to see this go on. It’s a movement forward.”

Throughout the campaign, adjunct faculty at St. Michael’s received an outpouring of support from Vermonters. Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter of support to the faculty at the college, as did a number of city council members, state legislators, and the AFT/AAUP-led union representing faculty at the University of Vermont. Hundreds of students and community members signed a petition supporting the organizing efforts, which was delivered to school administrators.

“With the victory today, adjuncts at St. Michael’s can be more focused as a group, as we join together and move forward,” said Anne Tewksbury-Frye, an adjunct faculty member at St. Michael’s College and Champlain College. “The union will serve to improve best practices, and help us learn as educators and teachers in a way that will benefit our students directly. And that’s our goal — to improve education for our students at these very fine colleges and universities.”

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November 24, 2014

Vermont Adjunct Faculty Vote to Form a Union

November 24, 2014 | By |

Adjunct professors at Burlington and Champlain colleges have voted overwhelmingly to join adjunct faculty at schools across the country in SEIU/Adjunct Action, with 80% at Champlain College (118 to 30) and 85% at Burlington College (23 to 4) adjunct faculty voting yes to a union. The vote was a significant step forward for adjuncts in Vermont who are working to improve the working conditions of the increasing numbers of part-time and contingent faculty in higher education in the state and across the country.

Over 40 percent of faculty at Vermont’s private, non-profit colleges and universities work part time and 72 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.

Throughout the campaign, adjunct faculty at both schools received an outpouring of support from Vermonters. Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter of support, as did a number of city council members, state legislators, and the AFT/AAUP-led union representing faculty at the University of Vermont. Hundreds of students and community members signed a petition supporting the organizing efforts, which was delivered to school administrators.

“Ever since we started the process of forming our union, I’ve been feeling more and more empowered. I’m already noticing that we adjuncts are talking to each other a lot more, and we have a much greater sense of collegiality. I no longer feel marginalized on campus,” said Betsy Allen-Pennebaker, who teaches at Champlain College. “I think that this victory today is a wonderful thing for adjuncts, not only in terms of pay and job security, but also in how we feel about ourselves and our profession. Throughout this election, we’ve been talking about all the positive things that will come out of having a union, and that’s what we’ll continue to focus on as we move forward. I really believe that this union is a win-win for everyone. What’s good for adjuncts will also be good for Champlain College as an institution – and improving adjuncts’ working conditions is going to create an even better classroom experience for our students.”

Vermont adjunct faculty are following in the footsteps of adjuncts at more than a dozen universities who have joined Adjunct Action in the past year, including The College of St. Rose in Albany, New York where adjuncts voted to join SEIU Local 200United this summer. They join faculty at the Howard University and Georgetown University in Washington, DC, Antioch University in Seattle 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.

“I am thrilled by the results of the vote and I am looking forward to what is to come for Burlington College and the wider teaching community in Vermont,” said Jonathan Auyer, who teaches at Burlington College. “The campaign aimed at highlighting the need for sustainable pay, access to benefits and stable working conditions for the adjunct faculty, and this vote is one step on the path to making these things happen. I really am excited to work with the administration, my fellow adjuncts and the full-time faculty in the hopes of continuing to better Burlington College by bettering the teaching conditions, which will undoubtedly result in bettering the learning conditions for our students.”

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