Several months ago, Boston University adjuncts began the process of bargaining our first union contract – following landslide ‘Union Yes’ votes that offered a clear mandate for change. Hundreds of adjuncts completed the bargaining survey, highlighting four major priorities at the table: fair pay, job security, health and retirement benefits, and inclusion in the BU community. While negotiations have been productive to date, issues such as contract terms, course assignments and compensation are still outstanding.
With a goal of improving the overall learning experience at BU, we have also pushed for full representation in assemblies and committees that review curriculum and student recruitment.
Faculty Forward and Adjunct Action are campaigns that unite non-tenure track professors at campuses across the country to address the crisis in higher education – and the troubling trend toward a marginalized teaching faculty that endangers our profession.
At most colleges and universities, contingent faculty are a majority of all teaching population, yet they still face low levels of compensation, no benefits, lack of institutional support for research and scholarship, and exclusion from the governance of our institutions. At the same time, our institutions have shifted resources from instruction to administration, funded by quickly rising tuition, resulting in record levels of student debt. By coming together to form a union, faculty have the power to do something about this by building a market-wide movement to raise standards for faculty and students alike.
Faculty Forward and Adjunct Action are projects of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and home to over 23,000 unionized faculty. Together, we have won improvements in pay, job security, evaluation processes and access to retirement benefits. In Massachusetts, more than 3,200 part- and full-time faculty are represented by SEIU Local 509 at Boston University, Bentley, Tufts, Northeastern and Lesley – and we are growing with each passing day.