Higher Education

To get involved on your campus, please visit the links below:

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 Lesley Button  Northeastern Button Tufts Button

Or fill out a union authorization card and join the fight!

About Faculty Forward
At most colleges and universities, contingent faculty are a majority of all teaching population, yet we 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 our union, we have the power to do something about this by building a market-wide movement to raise standards for faculty and students alike.

Faculty Forward is a projects of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509, and home to nearly 4,000 unionized faculty who have won improvements in pay, job security, evaluation processes, and access to retirement benefits. Together, the campaign has united non-tenure-stream faculty to address the crisis in higher education — and the troubling trend toward a marginalized teaching faculty that endangers our profession. SEIU Local 509 represents part- and full-time faculty at at Bentley, Boston University, Brandeis, Lesley, Northeastern and Tufts.

Read more about the The High Cost of Adjunct Living in Massachusetts.

Boston Faculty Welcome Graduate Employees in Movement to Improve Higher Education

Following federal decision to restore graduate workers’ rights, local educators highlight victories on pay, benefits and their voice in campus decisions through FacultyForward/SEIU Local 509

Tufts Lecturers Welcome Grad Employees 82316

Tufts University FacultyForward members gather to send a message of congratulations to their graduate employee colleagues.

BOSTON, MA – Unionized faculty throughout Greater Boston hailed today’s historic Columbia decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – a landmark ruling that asserts the rights and protections of graduate employees nationwide under the National Labor Relations Act. Educators at local private colleges and universities celebrated the prospect of graduate assistant colleagues joining the robust movement to improve teaching and learning conditions in higher education.

“Today marks an important milestone in a greater union movement that is fighting back against the corporatized reality of modern higher education,” stated Max White, an English lecturer and FacultyForward/SEIU member from Northeastern University. “We know first-hand how precarious the graduate employee situation can be, and we welcome all who choose to join us in the fight to steer higher education to invest more in the classroom.”

At Boston University, Writing Program lecturer Marie McDonough expressed enthusiasm for the decision: “We are excited to start off the school year knowing that graduate students who teach and do research in our universities now have a right to a join us in the fight to improve the learning environment for our students.”
Non-tenure-track faculty at Boston-area universities form the backbone of a robust, nationwide campaign to address the crisis in higher education – winning a series of impressive victories that have improved compensation and teaching conditions through unionization. Nearly 4,000 educators have now joined in the shared effort to raise standards and improve the overall quality of higher education through SEIU Local 509’s Faculty Forward initiative. Contingent faculty broke new ground earlier this year with strong first contracts at Bentley, Boston University and Northeastern, following landmark agreements at Tufts and Lesley in 2015. Negotiations are underway among non-tenure-track faculty at Brandeis University. Full-time lecturers and instructors have also entered the fray in recent months, netting landslide union victories at Tufts, BU and Lesley.

“We are thrilled to welcome graduate students into our movement for equitable wages and benefits, as well as course stability and security,” said, Tufts University Senior Lecturer and SEIU 509 member Elizabeth Lemons. “Graduate students with teaching and research assistantships likewise deserve fair treatment and respect for the crucial work that they do with students and as researchers. We look forward to their help building a hospitable academic community—one that values the contributions of all university workers. A respectful community with equitable working conditions is the best environment for student learning.”

The educator-led movement to improve teaching and learning conditions has resonated nationally as well. Just days ago, faculty from around the country convened with other underpaid workers in Richmond, Virginia at the first-ever Fight for $15 convention. Together, the delegation raised calls for better pay and union rights for all workers.

“Any opportunity for fellow instructors to have a say in shaping their working conditions is great news,” said Melissa Wolter-Gustafson, a lecturer from Northeastern’s English Department. “These new voices will strengthen our collective call for universities to begin reinvesting in teaching and in the learning conditions of their students.”

Graduate workers interested in the fight to raise standards in higher education can visit the Faculty Forward website to learn more and get involved.

 

**For interviews with faculty standing in solidarity with graduate employee colleagues, contact Gabriela Camargo Martins at (774) 326-0535 or gcmartins@seiu509.org.**

SEIU Local 509 represents more than 20,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including nearly 4,000 part- and full-time faculty in the Greater Boston area. 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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509News | Summer 2016

You should have already received your copy of the 509News in the mail, but you can also access and download here. Read more about some of our recent victories, the upcoming 509 Leadership elections and how to obtain new member benefits.

Click here to view the newsletter in full screen.

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Graduate Workers Are Uniting to Change Higher Education

Many colleges and universities rely on the labor of graduate student workers to educate undergraduates, support research projects and further the work of tenured and tenure-track faculty, all of which contribute to making an exceptional academic experience, improve student outcomes and increase college ratings. However, graduate student assistants’ work is often under-rewarded and under-appreciated. We teach and research without an adequate voice in pay and university fees when the cost of living keeps going up. We often lack flexibility in healthcare coverage and basic protections that would prevent workplace harassment and discrimination and prevent sudden changes to our contracts and work conditions.  Too many  of us are completing programs with crushing debt loads and less than rosy prospects for permanent, full time work in their chosen field of study.

Colleges are acting more and more like big corporations and leaving graduate students with impossible choices — choosing between their future degree and field, their students, and their families.  You can be a part of the growing movement to tackle the crisis in higher education.

Click here to join us!

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Contract Settlement Reached at Bentley University!

Averting Mass Faculty Protest, Administrators Reach Contract Settlement with Adjuncts at Bentley University

Bentley April 9 Action_580p

Faculty, students and alumni call for classroom investment on the Bentley Library steps April 9.

Tentative four-year agreement improves wages and teaching conditions for more than 200 faculty at the Waltham campus

WALTHAM, MA – Adjunct faculty at Bentley University reached a contract settlement late Friday evening with campus administrators – a four-year agreement that makes meaningful progress in compensation and course stability, professional development and the faculty role in decisions that affect their work. Facing an unprecedented faculty and alumni protest that was set to begin Monday, administrators came back to the table this week for negotiation sessions overseen by a federal mediator. The resulting settlement is subject to a ratification vote by affected Bentley faculty.

Among the gains in the four-year tentative agreement:

  • Meaningful increases in compensation: Adjunct faculty will receive across-the-board
    increases in per-course pay over the life of the contract.
  • Improved Course Stability: For the first time, Bentley has committed to promoting greater predictability and consistency in who teaches courses semester-to-semester.
  • Professional Development Fund: Bentley adjuncts will have access to funding to support research, scholarship, civic engagement and professional practice that contribute to the learning experience on campus.
  • A True Voice on Campus: Adjunct faculty have codified their academic freedoms and established a formal process to weigh in and address workplace conflicts and violations. 

“Negotiations like these are never easy, but both faculty and the administration remained committed to the process,” said Summar Sparks, a bargaining team leader and Adjunct Lecturer in Expository Writing. “After Friday’s marathon mediation session, I’m glad we were able to reach an agreement that we can bring back to our colleagues for a vote.”

The tentative agreement caps off a three-year effort by more than 200 professors at Bentley, who voted to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509’s Faculty Forward division in February of 2015. In the ensuing months, elected officials, community leaders, students and alumni joined part- and full-time faculty in an unprecedented public campaign to improve teaching and learning conditions at the Waltham campus.

“Thank you to all the students, alumni, community members and faculty from other institutions who took the time to write letters and keep the campus community informed,” said Joan Atlas, an Adjunct Professor in English and Media Studies who represents her colleagues in the Bentley Faculty Senate. “We know their support and activism made a big difference at the bargaining table.”

Friday’s settlement marked the latest milestone in the growing faculty union movement in Massachusetts – with nearly 4,000 instructors now joined in a shared effort to raise standards and improve the overall quality of higher education through SEIU Local 509. Contingent faculty broke new ground this spring with strong first contracts at Boston University and Northeastern, following landmark agreements at Tufts and Lesley last year. Negotiations are underway among non-tenure-stream faculty at Brandeis University. Full-time lecturers and instructors have also entered the fray in recent months, netting landslide union victories at Tufts, BU and Lesley.

For interviews with professors leading the bargaining process, contact Gabriela Camargo Martins at (774) 326-0535 or gcmartins@seiu509.org. 

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SEIU Local 509 represents nearly 20,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including nearly 4,000 part- and full-time faculty in the Greater Boston area. 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.

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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 Boston University set national precedent in compensation, job security and campus inclusion

BOSTON — 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:

  • Across-the-Board Pay Increases: The majority of adjuncts will see a per-course rate increase by 40 to 68 percent over the life of the contract. All will see improvements in per-course pay of at least 6 percent, with the lowest-paid educators receiving the most significant boost in compensation.
  • Near Pay Parity with Peers: Following the principle of “equal pay for equal work,” most adjuncts will achieve pay parity with their salaried peers by the end of this contract. For example, adjuncts teaching a full six-class courseload will earn approximately the same amount as non-tenured salaried faculty.
  • Improved Course Stability: For the first time, adjunct faculty will be compensated for courses cancelled on short notice before a semester begins – receiving between 20 to 30 percent of expected pay. Boston University has also committed to promote greater course predictability with longer appointments and improved consistency in scheduling for those who teach courses over several years.
  • Professional Development Fund: Part-time faculty now have access to funding to support research, scholarship and civic engagement – as well as 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 monitor workplace conflicts and violations.

 

Anthropology Lecturer Laurie LaPorte, a leader on the adjunct bargaining committee, welcomed the agreement as a major victory for faculty and students at Boston University.

“Adjunct and part-time faculty teach over 1,800 courses at BU, and we are incredibly committed to the university and our students. This contract marks an important first step toward having that strong commitment reciprocated by the administration,” said LaPorte. “The agreement also reflects our contribution to the growing movement to challenge administrators in higher education to reinvest in the classroom.”

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.

 

 

SEIU Local 509 represents nearly 20,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including 4,000 part- and full-time faculty in the Greater Boston area. 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 seiu509.org.

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WGBH News | Boston University Adjunct Faculty Reach Contract Settlement

NPR’s Morning Edition takes on the landmark faculty contract settlement at Boston University — New England’s largest private institution of higher education. Kirk Carapezza of WGBH News’ Higher Education Desk reports on higher wages, improved job security and other key victories in the agreement, followed by an in-studio discussion with host Bob Seay and BU Faculty Union member Dan Hunter. Aired April 29, 2016.

Click here to read the full interview on WGBHnews.org.

 

 

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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

 

BU_Feature580pBOSTON, 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.”

The tentative agreement caps off a yearlong effort by more than 800 educators at Boston University,
who voted to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509’s Faculty Forward division in February of 2015. In the ensuing months, elected officials, community leaders, students and alumni joined part- and full-time faculty in an aggressive public campaign to improve teaching and learning conditions at the Boston campus.

“Students, faculty and community allies joined together to call on BU to prioritize education again, and we won,” said Eric Betancourt, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. “This is a true community victory, and I’m thrilled that our part-time professors have gained a stronger voice and more respect on campus.”

Wednesday’s settlement marks the latest milestone in the growing faculty union movement in Massachusetts – with more than 3,800 educators now joined in a shared effort to raise standards and improve the overall quality of higher education through SEIU Local 509. Contract negotiations are underway among contingent faculty at Bentley and Brandeis Universities. Part-time faculty reached landmark agreements at Tufts and Lesley last year – followed by a significant settlement at Northeastern in January. Earlier this month, full-time faculty at BU also joined the fray, winning their own union election by a four-to-one margin.

“This contract sets a new standard of professional compensation and development for adjunct faculty, one that every college and university in Boston must now hold themselves to,” said David Kociemba, who teaches television aesthetics and history at in the College of Communication. “We are excited to build on this strong foundation of solidarity with other faculty to improve our teaching conditions, which are our students’ learning conditions.”

 

SEIU Local 509 represents nearly 20,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including 3,800 part- and full-time faculty in the Greater Boston area. 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.

 

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Full-Time, Salaried Faculty Vote ‘Union Yes’ at Boston University by 4-to-1 Margin

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

BU Full-Time Faculty Victory 4616_580pFor interviews with professors leading the movement to unionize, contact:
Jason A Stephany(617) 286-4430,

BOSTON – 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.”

With today’s 135 to 36 vote, more than 275 salaried lecturers and instructors join 800 unionized adjunct colleagues at Boston University – along with 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 University reached a three-year agreement that made significant gains around compensation, working conditions and educators’ role in decision-making.

“Through a strong union contract, faculty will have real seat at the table to push for investments in classroom education, professional development and research,” said Katherine Lakin-Schultz, a lecturer in the Department of Romance Studies. “By standing together, we can make real progress in addressing the challenges faculty and students face at BU.”

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.

The Boston University full-time faculty union vote was conducted by mail, with ballots tabulated at the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Boston.

SEIU Local 509 represents more than 19,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including 3,800 part- and full-time faculty in the Greater Boston area. 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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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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Brandeis Contract Input Session Calendar

To complement the input shared through our bargaining survey, the Brandeis Faculty Union plans to host a series of contract input sessions in the coming weeks. These informal conversations across departments and programs will address questions on the collective bargaining process and help to establish priorities for our first union contract.

Sessions are open to all bargaining unit members (Part-Time Contract and Adjunct Faculty). Tentative details are included below, with some buildings and rooms TBD. Additional sessions maybe scheduled beyond March 2, if needed

Faculty Union Bargaining Input Sessions

CLICK HERE TO RSVP. 

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