The results are in! With all votes tallied, SEIU Local 509 members have elected our next leadership team. Peter MacKinnon will serve as president of our union, alongside Israel Pierre as our treasurer and Ivette Hernandez as our recording secretary. (See below for more details about our many election results.)
Local 509 takes pride in our long-held reputation as a thoroughly democratic union. All members are encouraged to participate by supporting candidates of your choice, submitting amendment proposals, nominating colleagues for leadership positions or running for office yourself.
Nominations for these leadership positions were accepted on October 15 as a record number of human service workers and educators gathered in Westborough for the Local 509 Annual Meeting. In that gathering, we learned more about how we’re building our strength across Massachusetts, met with some of the Commonwealth’s leading elected officials. Dozens of us also stepped up to take action in support of the Fair Share Amendment, Fight for $15, and a host of other important causes.
It has been an exciting year for our union, with a promising string of victories in our new organizing efforts, contract negotiations and on the broader public policy front. We look forward to seeing how these leaders will build on recent organizing and contract victories to set a future course for our union and the communities we serve.
Congratulations to our newly elected leadership team!
Candidates will officially be sworn into office at our December 13th JEB meeting held at our union headquarters.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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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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.
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.
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.
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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