Fresh from DC Successes SEIU Tries to Muscle Into AFT/NEA Territory in Pacific Northwest
by John Gillie
In a case that could set a national precedent, Pacific Lutheran University is taking legal steps this week to block the formation of a union to represent contingent faculty members at the Parkland university.
The university, which has held occasional conversations for months with representatives of those temporary faculty members, has filed objections with the National Labor Relations Board to an election that would determine whether the Service Employees International Union will represent 176 contingent faculty members in negotiations concerning wages, benefits and working conditions.
The SEIU says it already represents about 15,000 of those nontenure-track employees at universities on the East Coast and in California. PLU is the first university in the Northwest at which contingent faculty members are asking to decide whether the union will represent them. The union has brought an organizer from the East to help with the union efforts at PLU.
Contingent employees typically are hired on a course-by-course basis to augment the work of regular faculty members. At PLU, and many other higher education institutions, they are paid significantly less per course, and those who teach fewer than three courses a year receive no benefits.
Contingent faculty members, and some tenured
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