Averting Strike, Boston University Lecturers win contract settlement with BU administration

Three-year agreement between lecturers’ union and BU improves wages and teaching conditions for more than 250 Lecturers
Attention shifts to Tufts University, where adjunct faculty will walk out October 11 for a fair contract

BOSTON, MA – Days before a massive faculty walkout, lecturers and instructors at Boston University (BU) reached a historic tentative agreement on their first contract with the BU administration. Over 250 lecturers at the university are members of SEIU Local 509, having won their union in April 2016. After a year of negotiations between the administration and the lecturers’ union, the proposed three-year contract achieves fairer pay, better job security, paid professional development opportunities, and other major benefits.

The tentative agreement is hard won after a year of bargaining, and after the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against BU for an Unfair Labor Practice. Today’s settlement was achieved amid building public pressure on the BU administration to reach a fair contract. Lecturers announced their intention to walk out in an Unfair Labor Practice strike on October 11, with the support of other BU faculty, students, alums, and community allies.

Among the historic gains in the contract, highlights include:

  • Significant pay increases: All lecturers will see pay increases in every year of the contract. The lowest-paid lecturers will see the greatest increases. On average, union members will receive a 15% pay increase in the first year.

  • Income Security: Lecturers will have their across-the-board raises guaranteed every year.

  • Professional Development: BU will create a fund for paid professional development opportunities for lecturers. BU will also create a significant fund to recognize lecturers with distinguished service, in conjunction with the union, beginning in September 2018.

“Lecturers and instructors are the heart of teaching and learning at Boston University, and our compensation and treatment directly impact the student experience here,” said Jessica Bozek, senior lecturer in the writing program at BU. “Today’s win is the result of years of work to make sure BU values its teaching faculty.”

“By coming together as a union, we have built a better understanding of our colleagues’ working conditions across departments and disciplines. This contract is a clear way to make sure all of us are compensated and treated fairly,” added Seaghan McKay, Lecturer in BU’s School of Theatre.

Though a strike was averted at Boston University, plans for a massive faculty walk out at Tufts University on October 11 continue. Adjunct faculty at Tufts are renegotiating their agreement with the administration, in an effort to secure fair pay and job security. Today, during contract bargaining, Tufts students rallied in support of adjunct faculty and to demand that the administration come to the table with a fair contract proposal.


The tentative agreement at Boston University is subject to a ratification vote by members of the union. To arrange interviews with faculty involved in contract bargaining, contact Christie Stephenson at (413) 374-6370 or cstephenson@seiu509.org.


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