In Near-Unanimous Vote, Adjunct Faculty Ratify First Union Contract at Boston University

Alongside faculty victories at Tufts, Lesley and Northeastern, major contract gains at BU set national precedent in compensation, job security and campus inclusion


BU_Feature580pBOSTON — In a near-unanimous vote, participating adjunct faculty at Boston University have ratified their first union contract — a three-year agreement that makes significant progress in job and income stability, professional development, and the faculty role in university decisions. The vote caps off a 15-month effort by more than 800 contingent educators at BU, who voted to join Faculty Forward — a project of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509 — in a landslide election in February 2015.

The contract ratification vote marks the latest milestone in the growing faculty union movement, with nearly 4,000 Boston-area educators now joined in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization. In addition to achievements in the BU contract, adjunct and part-time faculty in “America’s College Town” have racked up an impressive series of victories in recent years, netting major gains around compensation and working conditions at Tufts, Lesley and Northeastern. Contract negotiations among full-time faculty on the BU, Tufts and Lesley campuses are ongoing.

Among the major gains in the three-year Boston University contract:  Continue Reading…

Adjunct Faculty Reach Tentative Contract Settlement at Boston University

Amid escalating campus protests, university administrators agree to improve wages, reduce classroom instability for more than 800 instructors

BOSTON, MA – Adjunct faculty at Boston University reached a contract settlement early this morning with campus administrators – a three-year agreement that makes significant progress in compensation course stability, professional development and the faculty role in decisions that affect their work. Facing escalating protests among students and alumni, administrators came back to the table this week for a series of end-of-semester negotiation sessions. The resulting settlement is subject to a ratification vote by affected part-time faculty.

Among the major gains in the three-year tentative agreement:

  • Improved Pay that Values Teaching: Minimum rates paid to adjunct faculty will increase considerably over the next three years. All faculty will see improvements in per-course pay – varied by department and college – including significant raises for the lowest-paid instructors.
  • Improved Course Stability: For the first time, adjunct faculty will be compensated for courses cancelled on short notice before a semester begins. Boston University has also committed to promoting greater predictability with longer appointments – and improved consistency in scheduling for those who teach courses over several years.
  • Professional Development Fund: Boston University adjunct faculty will have access to funding to support research, scholarship, civic engagement, and professional and artistic practice that contribute to the learning experience on campus.
  • Inclusion in the BU Community: Adjunct faculty will have an elevated voice in decisions that impact their teaching and their students – including a formal process to deal with workplace conflicts and violations.

“Our effort began with a simple but clear demand: Boston University should value teaching,” said Laurie LaPorte, a lecturer in Anthropology at the College of Arts & Sciences. “Corporatization in higher education is a growing concern here in Boston and across the country. With the support of our campus community, we’ve secured an agreement that begins to return the focus to what matters most – what happens in the classroom.”

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Full-Time and Salaried Faculty Vote ‘Union Yes’ by 4-to-1 Margin

Non-tenure-track educators join 3,500 Boston-area colleagues in FacultyForward/SEIU 

BU Full-Time Faculty Victory 4616_580pBOSTON – Full-time and salaried faculty at Boston University voted “Union Yes” by a 4-to-1 margin today, casting their ballots to join Faculty Forward – a division of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509. The vote marks the tenth straight union victory for Boston-area faculty, with more than 3,500 educators now joined in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization.

“This is tremendous day for faculty, our students and the entire Boston University community,” said Bill Marx, a Senior Lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Writing Program. “Today’s vote gives full-time and salaried lecturers and instructors the proactive voice we need to improve the teaching and learning conditions on campus.”

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BU Full Time, Salaried Faculty File for Union Election

Join BU adjunct colleagues, 3,500 other Boston-area educators in FacultyForward/SEIU

BOSTON, MA – Full-time and salaried faculty at Boston University filed a formal petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Friday, seeking to join Faculty Forward – a division of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509. The election petition marks the latest milestone in the growing faculty union movement, with more than 3,500 Boston-area educators united in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization.

“Like so many of my colleagues, I love teaching at Boston University and I want to do everything I can to improve the learning experience for my students,” said Somy Kim, a Lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Today’s filing marks an important first step in securing a real voice in the decisions that affect teaching and learning conditions on campus.”

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Full-time & Salaried Lecturers: We’re Forming a Union!

Full-time and salaried lecturers from across the university are coming together to form a union in order to gain a voice on the terms of our employment at Boston University.

Following the path forged by our full-time colleagues at Tufts who formed their union last year and who are currently negotiating for longer appointments, more equitable pay, and over issues related to workload and faculty governance. We are also joining thousands of organized employees already at BU—from librarians to emeritus members of the faculty—who engage in collaborative negotiations with the administration to help make Boston University a great place to work and learn.

We are heartened by last year’s victory for our part-time and adjunct colleagues when they won their own union election by a 2-to-1 margin. Although the Boston University administration initially resisted this organizing, the process has created a space for open and respectful exchange of ideas, plans and, eventually, shared goals. We are looking forward to winning a seat at the negotiating table to similarly engage in these meaningful and important discussions.

Are you a full-time salaried lecturer at Boston University in support of coming together to form a union? Take the first step ➞ Fill out the form to help authorize our election!

When a majority of lecturers have authorized the election, we will petition the National Labor Relations Board to schedule a vote. Signing on to authorize an election and committing to vote YES is confidential. The information will not be shared with Boston University.

We urge you to add your name today and join us in organizing to improve teaching and learning conditions at Boston University!

We also welcome the support of all members of the Boston University community. If you are a student, alumnus, faculty, or staff and wish to get involved with our effort, please email our Organizing Committee at

_The Boston University Lecturer Organizing Committee

Massachusetts Contingent Faculty Now Eligible for Earned Sick Time Benefits

Following overwhelming support at the ballot box, new regulations account for educators’ time spent both in and outside the classroom.

BOSTON, MA – For the first time in the Commonwealth’s history, thousands of faculty members at institutions of higher education will be able to care for themselves or a sick loved one without fear of repercussions from their employer. According to new regulations issued by Attorney General Maura Healey, [see Section 33.03(7)(a), final regs], educators will join workers throughout Massachusetts in gaining access to earned sick time beginning today.

“On multiple occasions, I’ve been forced to take my sick child to work with me when she was too ill to be at her own school. I didn’t feel I could cancel my class,” said Bayla Ostrach, PhD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston University. “I am relieved to think that I can now stay home, with no repercussions, when my child or I are contagious.”

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Daily Free Press: CELOP lecturers unionize, join BU adjuncts

Lecturers unionize with Service Employees International Union, Local 509

By Amanda Burke & J.D. Capelouto, Daily Free Press | April 24, 2015

Part-time lecturers at Boston University’s Center for English Language and Orientation Programs, a center for English learners, voted 23-2 to join the Faculty Forward project of the Service Employees International Union Local 509, SEIU announced in a Wednesday press release.

“More than 3,000 Boston-area educators now [join] in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education,” the release stated. “Greater Boston’s contingent faculty form the core of a robust, nationwide movement to address the crisis in higher education — where the role of educators is increasingly low-wage and marginalized, despite tuition increases and growing endowments.”

The CELOP adjuncts join more than 750 other part-time faculty members at BU, who in February voted to unionize through SEIU Local 509 by a 319-158 vote, The Daily Free Press reported on Feb. 5.

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By 2-to-1 Margin, Full-Time Faculty at Tufts University Vote “Union Yes”

More than 2,700 Boston-area educators now united through FacultyForward/SEIU


By a two-to-one margin, full-time faculty at Tufts University voted overwhelmingly to form their union today, casting ballots to join Faculty Forward – a project of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509. The victory caps off a string of faculty union victories in recent months, as more than 2,700 non-tenure-track educators throughout the Greater Boston area have come together to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization.

“We believed that a union would help us build a real community – one where all faculty can more effectively contribute to our shared mission of educating students,” said Penn Loh, a lecturer in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning. “Coupled with the progress made by our part-time colleagues, today’s victory will no doubt raise the Tufts learning experience to new heights.”

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Boston University Adjuncts Vote Overwhelmingly to Unionize

Vote comes as campaign announces it will seek new minimum of $15,000 per course

By Kevin Solari, In These Times | February 9, 2015

Boston University adjunct faculty voted to organize on February 4, continuing a string of victories for contingent faculty across the country and in Boston. The vote, part of the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Adjunct Action and Faculty Forward actions, saw overwhelming support from the adjuncts, with 319 votes for and 158 against—a margin of almost 2-to-1 in favor. The vote will affect a total of more than 750 instructors.

The campaigns have focused on creating a better learning environment for students. With over 50 percent of faculty nationwide working as contingent faculty, according to the American Association of University Professors, their impact on students and higher education is immense. Ensuring instructors have the resources to both make a living and do their jobs is at the forefront of the campaigns.

“Every adjunct I’ve spoken with, our number-one priority is being able to focus on our students and focus on our teaching,” Bayla Ostrach, a member of the BU organizing committee, told the Boston Globe. “And it’s really hard to do that when you don’t know until the first week whether you’re going to have class.”

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Boston Globe: BU adjunct professors vote to join union

Part-time faculty seek workplace rights

By Jeremy C. Fox & Andy Rosen, Boston Globe | February 4, 2015

Adjunct professors at Boston University voted Wednesday to unionize, joining part-time faculty at other Boston-area schools in a nationwide push to increase workplace rights for the instructors who play a growing role in higher education.

More than 750 BU adjuncts will join Faculty Forward, a part of the Service Employees International Union Local 509, as a result of the vote, the union said. The action passed by a 2-to-1 ratio.

BU spokesman Colin Riley said the school respects the decision. “We’re looking forward to working with the union,” he said.

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