Adjunct professors and other contingent faculty at three California colleges recently voted in favor of joining the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In its campaign to garner support, the SEIU cited the workers’ low wages, lack of benefits, and poor job security. Now the SEIU, through its “Adjunct Action” campaign has successfully organized adjunct professors at several schools in 11 metropolitan areas across the United States. Its membership, already over 25,000 strong, shows no signs of slowing down, and as we mentioned in a previous Roetzel Recap: Labor Relations (click to link to the Jan. 27, 2015 issue), the National Labor Relations Board is aiding the union’s efforts. The SEIU’s growing effort to organize adjuncts comes at a time when colleges and universities are increasingly relying on contingent staff – hired on a semester by semester basis – to teach courses because of budgetary concerns associated with keeping tuition low in the face of rising benefits and healthcare costs.
Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.