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SEIU Wins Vote of Loyola’s 326 Adjunct Faculty—College Officials “Disappointed”

by Linze Rice

Adjunct professors at Loyola University “overwhelmingly” voted in favor to unionize Wednesday at a meeting with the National Labor Relations Board.

Of 326 faculty members eligible to vote, 224 did — and 63 percent of those voters agreed to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73.

“Our victory today represents a win for our students, faculty and the entire Loyola University community. Now all faculty will have a say in our working conditions and I’m encouraged [by] the gains at other schools across the country,” said Alyson Paige Warren, a writing and literature instructor at Loyola. “Having a union will not only empower us, but our tenure-track colleagues, our students and the university as a whole.”

Loyola is the latest to join a growing list of private institutions unionizing.

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Thomas Kelly, senior vice president for administrative services, said in the statement that he was “disappointed” that “44 percent of the voting group determined the outcome for so many others.”

In December, non-tenured faculty at the University of Chicago unionized, and similar efforts have been underway at places like DePaul and others.

There are more than 6,500 adjunct teachers represented in a union within private universities in Illinois, 500 of whom are represented by unions.

Loyola’s administration released its own statement on the vote. Thomas Kelly, senior vice president for administrative services, said in the statement that the school greatly values the contributions of its adjunct faculty, adding they were “vital to fulfilling our academic mission,” but said he was “disappointed” that “44 percent of the voting group determined the outcome for so many others.”

The administration recently received another petition from the labor board on behalf of SEIU Local 73, seeking to represent 12 English Language Learning Program teachers, Kelly said.

Kelly said the school is currently “working through the process” and will respond to the petition at a later date.

For faculty at Loyola who voted to unionize Wednesday, there was cause for a “victory celebration” in the late afternoon, organizers said in a statement.

They hope it will encourage others to organize as well.

“We always knew we weren’t just fighting for ourselves,” said Matt Williams, a full-time instructor of International Studies and Sociology at the school. “We fought for our students’ education and the future of higher education in this country.”

“We hope our win today will encourage other faculty in Chicago and other Jesuit schools to work together and take our movement to new heights.”

 

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