Unions woo adjunct faculty

Tim Goral's picture
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thousands of part-time college professors are joining labor unions, a growing trend in higher education that's boosting the ranks of organized labor and giving voice to teachers who complain about low pay and a lack of job security at some of the nation's top universities.

The move to unionize at campuses such as Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and Tufts University near Boston follows a shift in hiring practices at colleges that rely more than ever on adjunct faculty to teach classes.

Last month, adjuncts at Tufts became the latest to join the 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union, which has been aggressively targeting college instructors. Adjuncts at Georgetown formed a union with SEIU in May, and part-time instructors at nearby American University joined the union last year.

SEIU now represents more than 18,000 members at 10 colleges and universities, compared with 14,000 five years ago. The union is preparing to file for elections at more colleges.

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