Contingent faculty at Seattle University files for union election

Seattle University’s contingent faculty (i.e. adjuncts, postdocs, TAs, non-tenure-track faculty, clinical faculty, part-time teachers, lecturers, and instructors) have today filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to form a union with Service Employees International Union Local 925.

These instructors have stepped into a national movement of contingent faculty organizing, joining unions, and working to increase their job security — all with an aim towards improving the future of higher education.

“This is a step forward in addressing the inequities that adjunct and contingent faculty face each day,” said Nancy Burkhalter, a contingent professor in Languages and Culture Bridge at SU, in a press release this morning. “We’re part of the national movement to ensure quality education is a priority. I stand proudly with contingent colleagues, tenured colleagues, and our incredible students who have shown such wonderful support.”

More from Seattle U:

Seattle University relies on a large group of highly trained contingent faculty to teach at their campuses. These university faculty members typically face tenuous employment, little to no benefits, and low income – making it difficult to fulfill their mission of providing high quality education to students.

Adjunct and contingent faculty are coming together at universities across the country to address improving their education services. Today, contingent faculty account for almost half of the academic workforce across the United States. Forty years ago they accounted for only one-fifth of faculty jobs.

Now that SU adjuncts have filed, the NLRB will decide on a date to hold a secret ballot election in which contingent faculty decide whether to form a union for quality education.

Seattle University contingent faculty have urged administration officials to remain neutral regarding their freedom to choose a union.