Full Time, Salaried Faculty File for Union Election at Boston University

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

[For interviews with professors leading the movement to unionize, contact:  Jason A Stephany, (617) 286-4430, jstephany@seiu509.org]

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.”

The NLRB election will join more than 275 salaried lecturers and instructors with 800 adjunct colleagues at Boston University – along with unionized faculty on the Northeastern, Tufts, Lesley, Bentley and Brandeis campuses. Part-time lecturers at Tufts signed their first union contract in 2014, followed by a landmark agreement at Lesley University last year. In January, adjuncts at Northeastern reached a three-year agreement that made significant gains around compensation, working conditions and educators’ role in decision-making.

“My colleagues and I are on the front-lines, teaching a significant number of important classes and seminars at BU, with a focus on essential writing and communication skills,” said Bill Marx, a Senior Lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Writing Program. “This action comes down to recognizing the value of the job we do in educating our students, improving the conditions under which we work, and the active role we must play in the decision-making process.”

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 groundbreaking effort seeks to reinvest in the classroom, raise standards and improve stability through the Faculty Forward initiative.

Dates and balloting details for the BU faculty union vote will be determined by the National Labor Relations Board office in Boston in the coming weeks. 

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SEIU Local 509 represents nearly 19,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including more than 3,500 non-tenure track faculty in Greater Boston. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities — as well as educational opportunities from early learning to higher education. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. For more information, visit http://seiu509.org.

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