Adjunct faculty at Tufts University have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a forming union with Adjunct Action/SEIU. Ballots were counted today at the National Labor Relations Board, and the victory was announced this afternoon. The win sets the table for contract negotiations at Tufts.
“This victory is exciting and important for the entire Tufts University community. I’m happy that my part-time colleagues and I will have a greater say in making Tufts an even better place to work and to learn,” said Carol Wilkinson, a part-time lecturer who has taught at Tufts since 1986.
Instructors at Tufts, Bentley, Northeastern University, and other Boston area colleges and universities are part of a growing movement of adjunct and contingent faculty coming together for a voice in their profession and in the future of higher education.
The victory comes after adjuncts in Georgetown University in formed a union with SEIU in May, joining DC faculty who formed unions at American University, George Washington University, and Montgomery College. In addition to adjunct organizing efforts in Boston, campaigns are underway in Los Angeles, Washington, DC and Seattle.
“Now that we’ve won our union at Tufts, we’ll be preparing for the collective bargaining process that is the only hope for achieving a measure of democracy, balance, and fairness in the academic workplace,” said Tufts part-time faculty member Andy Klatt. This is an important victory for part-time faculty at Tufts and an encouraging step in the movement to organize contingent faculty across the country.”
Voting is currently underway at Bentley University, where ballots will be counted on October 4th. Jack Dempsey, an adjunct professor at Bentley and a member of the organizing committee there, expressed his support for Tufts.
“We want to congratulate the part-time faculty at Tufts University on their campaign to unionize and stand up for the value that they contribute to their school and students,” he said. “When we win our vote to unionize on October 4th, we’ll be thinking of you and thinking ahead to a regional and national effort with our sisters and brothers at Tufts and other schools. The day of our second-rate status is ending, and a new one is on the horizon.”
For more information on SEIU’s Adjunct Action campaign, visit www.adjunctaction.org.
Since October 2010’s Annual Meeting, the Local 509 Organizing Department, working in conjunction with the Organizing Committee, has been on a roll. On December 14, 2010, workers from Sullivan & Associates (now renamed Guidewire) had their ballots counted. They won their union election in a landslide victory and are getting close to completing their first contract. When bargaining is done and their contract is ratified, we will be welcoming over 450 sisters and brothers who work in Mental Health and Developmentally Disabled programs in the Worcester, Springfield and Pittsfield areas. Local 509 NOC-trained members were key in talking to workers throughout the organizing campaign as bosses tried to dissuade them from forming a union and 509 members were invaluable in the “Get Out The Vote” or “GOTV” efforts. Thanks to all of you who worked on this campaign.
In addition to Guidewire, Local 509 also had a huge success in winning the Bridgewell campaign, with nearly 700 workers voting Union YES! See the separate article in the Private Sector Human Chapter report on page 15.
In addition to the ten NOC (National Organizing Corps) trainings held in 2010, we also had two in 2011 that were tied to specific campaigns. Newly trained NOC members, as well as 2010 “NOC veterans,” have helped immeasurably with campaigns that, at press time, are not yet complete: the NLRB (National Labor Relation Board) found 34 violations in last year’s MHA (Mental Health Association) election so we are currently in the midst of trying to win a new election, by using a fairer system of voting, the mail ballot. A campaign at Alternatives Unlimited, an agency that cuts a wide swath through Central Massachusetts, from the Rhode Island to New Hampshire, is in full swing; their GOTV is supposed to be timed with the Annual Meeting.
We invite anyone who is interested in helping the union grow to attend a meeting, and see what we do. We meet every month, and the time/location of the meeting is on an alternating schedule. Contact Dennis MacDonald for more information. This is an opportunity to help others achieve what we may take for granted, e.g. “Just Cause” and rights to the grievance and arbitration procedures. Officers of Local 509 take a pledge, “to organize the unorganized workers.”