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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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From the Archive

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  • The Lecturer’s Tale

    by Vicki Urquhart What British Lit instructor hasn’t given the assignment to create another Chaucerian tale? In The Lecturer’s Tale, James Hynes has a rollicking good time telling his own bawdy, fantastical, and mysterious tale. Alternately a satire and allegory, this bizarre portrayal of a dysfunctional English department will offend some academicians and amuse others. From […]

  • A Review of “The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy”

    The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber (University of Toronto Press, 2016; $26.95) Reviewed by Christina Turner Symbols of the neoliberal university in Canada are so common these days it’s hard not to feel inured to them sometimes. Stories of $1 million signs going up next […]

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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.