Adjunct News

Taylor Fontes

‘Metro’ Unionizing Strategy Is Viewed as a Means to Empower Adjunct Faculty

Posted on: December 3rd, 2012 by Taylor Fontes 1 Comment

Officials of the SEIU Local 500 held a forum on Saturday at their headquarters to discuss the success of their adjunct organizing campaigns at two of the largest private universities in the Washing DC area.  They unionized George Washington University’s part-time faculty in 2005, American University this past year and they plan to organize adjuncts at Georgetown this year.  In 2008 they were also able to unionize the part time faculty at Montgomery College, a public university in the Maryland suburbs.

They attribute their success to their unique “metro” unionizing strategy.  By bringing the focus of their campaign beyond the campus to the communities which surround the institutions, they have essentially created a “market solution” whereby residents are made aware of the benefits to their cities if adjuncts have better pay and working conditions.  The strategy is empowering for adjuncts as it affords them leverage with administration during the hiring process since proliferation of part-time unions in the area gives the upper hand to adjuncts when negotiating the terms of employment. The organizers argue that they would not have achieved the same outcome had they confined their unionization efforts to the individual campuses.  Other union groups are optimistic about the effectiveness of the strategy and intend to follow suit.

To read the full article by Peter Schmidt go to:

Taylor Fontes

Union’s Bid to Organize Georgetown U. Adjuncts Is Part of an Innovative Regional Strategy

Posted on: October 2nd, 2012 by Taylor Fontes No Comments

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has undertaken the extraordinary task of unionizing a major portion of adjunct faculty members at Georgetown University and other universities in the metropolitan area.  After successful unionization campaigns at American University, George Washington University and Montgomery College, they began a campaign to unionize adjuncts at Georgetown in August.  Their theory is that by organizing en masse they create pressure to improve pay, benefits, working conditions and job security while at the same time creating a large enough pool of participants to potentially provide retirement benefits.  Because Virginia is a right to-work-state, organizers have they have focused on the D.C. and Maryland suburban areas, which Richard J. Boris, executive director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, said constitutes the first instance in which specific geographic areas have been targeted for unionization.

To read the full article by Peter Schmidt go to:

Taylor Fontes

Who is Professor “Staff”And how can this person teach so many classes?

Posted on: August 23rd, 2012 by Taylor Fontes No Comments

The New Faculty Majority has released a report today based on the findings of an on-line survey administered to contingent faculty across the United States.  Although there are a slew of issues that concern contingent faculty with regard to working conditions, two were most salient according to the results of the survey: “just-in-time” hiring practices and limited access to pedagogical resources.  The former refers to practices which give as little as two or three weeks notice to adjuncts that they have a class, giving them very little time to prepare and essentially forcing them to use unpaid time to do so.  The latter refers to a dearth of resources including library, clerical and technological, just to name a few, that make it nearly impossible to create a quality course and leaving the students to suffer an inferior educational experience.  The recommendations include encouraging institutions of higher education to engage in more data collecting and analysis of contingent working conditions and to follow up with mandates that administrators use the analyses to reform working conditions for contingent faculty, ultimately raising standards for their students.

To read the full report go to: