Minnesota Adjuncts Move Toward Unionizing
Adjunct faculty members at Macalester College have taken the first formal step to form a union, joining a national movement to organize the growing number of temporary instructors in college classrooms.
On Thursday, campus organizers filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election for temporary faculty members at the St. Paul college. At the same time, adjuncts at nearby Hamline University announced that they plan to file a similar petition Friday morning.
They’re the first two groups to sign on to an organizing drive, spreading across Twin Cities campuses, aimed at wringing higher pay and better working conditions from colleges under pressure to cut costs.
SooJin Pate, one of the organizers, said that part-time adjuncts are paid as little as $5,000 per course at Macalester, one of the most prestigious private colleges in Minnesota and where tuition alone costs $45,000.
By comparison, tenure-track professors, who typically teach five courses a year, start at $61,000 a year plus benefits, according to the college.
“There’s a huge disparity,” said Pate, 37, who has been teaching American studies at Macalester for three years. “We want equal pay for equal work.”
Most adjuncts, she added, are not disgruntled
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