Professors at 7 Florida colleges file for their union, putting the majority of adjuncts in the state college system on the path to a union
In the face of chronic higher education defunding, adjunct professors at Santa Fe College, St. Petersburg College, Lake Sumter Community College, Polk State College, Florida Gateway College, Chipola College and South Florida State College filed for their unions with SEIU FPSU Faculty Forward this week. In just two short years, 9,000 adjunct professors — 55 percent of those in the state college system — have organized or are moving to a union. These faculty members are the latest to join the wave of Florida educators organizing for fully-funded college for all, student loan forgiveness, and $15 an hour and a union for all campus employees.
“I’m tired of seeing my students and coworkers skip meals and doctors’ appointments,” said Angela Edwards-Luckett, an adjunct professor of World Religions at St. Petersburg College. “That’s why I’m joining with my fellow educators from across the state and across the country. We can’t afford to sit quietly and just hope things change.”
With this historic mass filing, adjuncts join their colleagues at six additional colleges and universities -- Hillsborough Community College, Broward College, University of South Florida, Seminole State College, Valencia College and Miami Dade College -- who have already filed for or formed their unions.
"We are witnessing an unprecedented upswing in organizing amongst college faculty. The fact that in just two years, the majority of adjunct professors in the Florida College System are on their way to union representation,” said Dr. Judith Bernier, director of the Florida International University Center for Labor Research and Studies. “This level of union representation reflects deep dissatisfaction with a college system that has pushed many students and educators into poverty through increased tuition, mounting student loan debt, and low wages. Uniting in one organization gives this group a collective voice and a powerful say in the future of education in the state."