February 4, 2015 | By mquinn |
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.