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Boston Adjuncts Divided On Whether To Unionize

The Service Employees International Union saw both a win and loss in the Boston-area this week. Adjunct faculty at Bentley University narrowly voted against joining a union within days of Lesley University’s part-time professors filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to try and form one.

Lesley’s adjunct and part-time professors are looking to Tufts for inspiration. Faculty at the nearby university unionized in September, asking for cost of living increases, longer contracts and continued health coverage.

Stella Johnson, a photography instructor at Lesley, shared in a release that adjuncts are “excited and encouraged” by Tufts’ outcome. “By strengthening the support for part-time faculty, we will improve the educational experience,” she said. “And, as a result, advance enrollment and retention. We look forward to working together with the administration to solving the issues that confront our campus and profession and give higher education a brighter future.”

Tenure-track salaries average $66,000, according to the American Association of University Professors. Adjunct faculty are pocketing roughly $2,700 per three-credit course, however. At four courses per semester, their salary is ringing in at $21,600 annually in comparison. Beyond less pay, part-time professors also aren’t guaranteed employment.

“The problem for me

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Recently Commented

  • AdjunctNation Editorial Team: @Jeffr thanks for pointing out the distinction.
  • Jeffr: Note that adjunct faculty are considered to be on a “term” basis and receives no protection except...
  • Scott: I believe Sami is correct in that this no reasonable assurance language will allow adjuncts continuing access...
  • Nancy West-Diangelo: It’s as if we’ve lost the ability to listen critically. If the point of the work we...
  • Freddi-Jo Bruschke: An excellent description of this editorial.