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Will Northern Michigan University Adjuncts Join the AAUP?

by Shaina James

The Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) will send out ballots to qualifying adjuncts to vote on gaining union representation on Monday, October 3, 2011.

One hundred adjuncts are qualified to vote in the election. In order to win representation, a majority of the total votes must be in favor of the accretion.

According to MERC, the ballots will have a place to vote “yes,” that NMU adjuncts should join the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) – NMU, or “no,” they should not be accreted into the chapter.

“All contingent faculty who have been employed to teach a minimum of eight credit hours over the previous three consecutive academic sessions defined as the fall session, the winter session or either of the two summer sessions will be qualified to vote,” said Jamie Kuehnl (pictured left), chair of Coalition for Contingent Faculty (CCF).

It has been a long process deciding if adjuncts should be accreted into the union and then how to go about making that happen.

NMU Coalition for Contingent Faculty (CCF), an organization of adjuncts concerned about the working conditions of contingent faculty has helped with the election process.

According to CCF, in the late winter 2008 after months of research CCF decided to move forward with pursuing adjunct membership in NMU’s chapter of AAUP.

They decided to go further with adjunct membership after doing continual research on the possibilities for improving working conditions for adjuncts at NMU.

In late winter 2009, AAUP voted to accept adjuncts as members and allows qualifying adjuncts to have full voting membership.

“If adjuncts vote to accrete into the existing local chapter of the AAUP, they will not automatically receive benefits, but they will become part of a legal bargaining unit and gain the ability to participate in regular contract negotiations,” said Heidi Stevenson, secretary of CCF.

CCF will be hosting a “Get Out the Vote Rally” from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, September 29 at the Presque Isle Pavilion.
The purpose of the event is for adjuncts and supporters to come together and discuss the election. There will be complimentary dinner and drinks funded by the Michigan Conference of AAUP.

Executive director of AAUP Michigan, Michael Bailey, along with chair of AAUP Collective Bargaining Council, Howard Bunsis (pictured right), and AAUP-NMU president Ron Sundell will be speaking at the rally.

They will discuss the unionizing of contingent faculty, the possible contract and much more.

Adjuncts will have until Thursday, October 20, 2011 to vote and return the secret ballots to MERC.

The votes will be counted and the results will be released by MERC the following day, Friday, October 21st.

“If the adjuncts vote in favor of joining the NMU-AAUP, the adjuncts who qualify for AAUP representation will have some immediate gains, such as access to a formal grievance process,” Kuehnl said.

Most of the other union benefits and procedural elements such a paying dues or potentially receiving medical benefits will be worked out in the next contract, Kuehnl said.

According to CCF if the NMU adjuncts vote to be accreted into the union, work on the contract will begin right away.

As union members it will be up to them to decide what they want in the contract. Adjuncts are being encouraged to attend any and all future CCF meetings.

Short URL: http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=3024

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  • AdjunctNation Editorial Team: @Jeffr thanks for pointing out the distinction.
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  • Freddi-Jo Bruschke: An excellent description of this editorial.