Newly Unionized College Adjunct Professors Cashing In with New Collective Bargaining Agreements

Over the past few years, we have seen a flurry of college adjunct professors across the country join unions. Most appear to be joining the Service Employees Industrial Union (SEIU). According to the propaganda released by researchers at the SEIU, the adjuncts are joining their union in droves:

  • In Boston, 20% of adjunct faculty at traditional private colleges were represented by a union in 2012. Now 48% have a union and 4,100 have united with SEIU alone.
  • In San Francisco Bay area, union density grew from 21% in 2012 to 71% today.
  • Nearly 40% of Chicago adjuncts are unionized, up from 25% in 2012.
  • In Minneapolis/St. Paul, there were 0 unions at private colleges in 2012. Today, 27% have a union.

And those who have joined their union are much better off for having done so. For example:

  • 63% of the SEIU Faculty Forward first contracts include pay raises of at least 20% for the lowest paid faculty.
  • 43% of contracts have pay raises of 30% or more for the lowest paid.
  • Over 70% of new SEIU Faculty Forward contracts include a professional development program worth over $550,000.

Per the SEIU researchers, “this is all just to illustrate, with numbers, a fact that has always been true, whether you are a college professor or a janitor: if you unionize, your workplace will get more than you have now, and the reason your boss does not want you to do so is because they don’t want to give you more.”

Up to you if you believe that rhetoric. But one thing is certain, the cost of a college education just skyrocketed.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 285-5342 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.

 

SEIU Continues to Win Adjunct Professor Elections Across the U.S.

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 maustin@ralaw.com.

NLRB Changes Rules to Ease Ability of Faculty at Religious Universities to Organize

The National Labor Relations Board recently overturned nearly 40 years of legal precedent prohibiting faculty members at religious universities from forming or joining a union because doing so could violate the religion clauses of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In another example of dramatically expanding the scope of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, the Board granted itself jurisdiction over university faculty members unless the institution first provides appropriate evidence to show it offers a religious educational environment and then shows that it holds its faculty members out as performing a specific religious function. According to the Board, faculty members who are not expected to perform a specific role in creating or maintaining a school’s religious educational environment are no different from faculty at nonreligious colleges who are subject to the NLRB’s jurisdiction.

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 maustin@ralaw.com.

New Test to Determine Managerial Status of University Professors

The Service Employees Union International (SEIU) has led the way over the past few years in organizing adjunct university professors. Though many other unions have followed in its footsteps, the SEIU has aggressively organized adjunct, part-time, non-tenured, and contingent university faculty members. In response, universities have argued that professors are managerial employees are excluded from coverage of the National Labor Relations Act and therefore unable to join or form a union. In mid-December, the Board “refined” its test for determining the managerial status of university faculty members. It will now examine the faculty’s participation in the decision-making process for academic programs, enrollment, management policies, finances, academic policies, as well as personnel policies and decisions. The greatest weight will be given to the first three areas.

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 maustin@ralaw.com.