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July 28, 2016 Comments (0) Education News

Duke Adjuncts Vote to Unionize Through SEIU


(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The National Labor Relations Board has?announced that a majority of Duke University adjunct faculty members have voted in favor of being represented through the Service Employees International Union.

In all, 203 ballots were cast. ?Of that, 174 voted in support of the union while just 29 voted against union representation. ?A total of 102 votes were necessary for order to achieve union representation. ?A total of 296 people were permitted to vote, said an NLRB spokeswoman.

Prior towards the vote, a website had been developed by Duke University in order to fight the union, telling faculty members that they represent themselves better than any union could. ?However, once the vote had taken place, an argument was issued by the university saying they respect the choice, writes Douglas Belkin for The Wall Street Journal.

Over 80 faculty members sent a wide open letter to Duke President Richard Brodhead in December arguing the number of contingent faculty in the school has greatly increased during the last decade. ?In most, 41% of Duke faculty members do not have access to tenure, a trend seen increasingly across the nation.

A petition to hold the election have been filed with the labor board in February by part-time and full-time non-tenured faculty. ?The effort was led with a group known as Duke Teaching First. ?The audience was?seeking better pay, benefits, and job security.

After the results are certified through the NLRB, the Service Employees International Union?(SEIU) will become the representative for close to 300 non-regular rank faculty members in Trinity College for Arts & Sciences, the middle for Documentary Studies, and also the Graduate School. ?Regular rank and tenure track faculty won\’t be included in the union.

\”While we are disappointed to not be able to continue working more directly with this colleagues, we are glad that together we made some advances a year ago that will impact a number of our adjunct faculty,\” said Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth. \”We remain dedicated to their success as members of our faculty and contributors to Duke\’s academic mission.\”

Duke officials intend to begin to work with union representatives toward a collective bargaining agreement.

\”While the process is underway, we expect most facets of our working relationship using the members of the bargaining unit to remain status quo,\” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for Administration.

According to the Service Employees International Union, the faculty members will be joining close to 10,000 other instructors who\’ve unionized over the last three years, including at the University of Chicago, Tufts and Georgetown. ?Duke has been said to be the first private school within the Southern Usa to organize.

Duke employs 3,500 faculty members. ?Of those, 80% are tenured, on track to becoming tenured, or on multi-year contracts, writes Jane Stancill for The News and Observer.

Faculty members at the school argue that the university has got the funding to enhance compensation for adjuncts, arguing that regardless of the investments into new buildings and overseas campuses, only 9.5% of their total expenditures went toward teacher salaries in 2013.

\”Duke relies on non-tenure track faculty to show a steadily increasing percentage of its courses. It is time to offer our \’contingent\’ colleagues fair working conditions.\”

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