Transforming Higher Education

Movement Milestones and Victories

We’re working to improve learning and teaching conditions and access to higher education, while standing up to end the trend toward a low-road, corporate-business model for education. More than 50,000 faculty and graduate workers are already united through SEIU Faculty Forward. Every day more educators, students and community members across the country are joining our fight to transform higher education. Here’s a look at what we’ve accomplished together so far.

2016 Victories

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December

This is OUR movement

In a year of ups and downs in our country, our movement has soared to new heights. Faculty in 13 states won 20 unions with SEIU in 2016. We are reclaiming higher education for the public good and moving forward into 2016 ready to #RESIST.

read more here Dec 31, 2016
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December

Thousands of graduate workers voice concerns about low pay, working conditions

Nearly a thousand of graduate workers across the United States participated in a SEIU survey this fall that exposed real concern about their jobs—and how they would like to improve them.

Read More Dec 15, 2016
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November

Hillsborough Community College’s victory kicks off Florida Faculty Forward movement

Part-time faculty a Hillsborough Community College in Tampa voted to form a union. This victory marks the first SEIU faculty union election in Florida and at a public university in the South. Faculty at HCC are the latest to join what has become a fast-growing union movement, as faculty at more than 50 campuses have come together to take on a crisis in higher education.

Read More Nov 23, 2016
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October

Part-time and full-time faculty win together at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

More than100 part-time and full-time faculty from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) voted overwhelmingly to form a faculty union. They will work together toward improving working conditions and their students’ experience.

MCAD faculty join more than 13,000 faculty members across the country who have formed unions with SEIU Faculty Forward in the last three years—including several arts colleges.

Read More Oct 24, 2016
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September

Tenure, tenure track and contingent instructors win right to organize as one

“I am pleased with the state’s decision to allow contingent faculty like me the opportunity to gain a stronger voice at the University by forming a union with our tenure-track colleagues,” said Jason Stahl, a Lecturer in the Department of Organizational Leadership and Policy Development. “We are building this union together to strengthen the voice of faculty on our campus for ourselves and our students, and we are confident that we will win our vote.”

Read More Sep 20, 2016
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September

Seattle University faculty’s two-year fight ends in victory

Nontenure-track faculty at the university have elected to join SEIU 925 and the Faculty Forward movement. After two-years, this win could not be more satisfying for the adjunct faculty at Seattle University. This is a culmination of a lot of hard work and an important victory for the faculty who were seeking professional recognition and support from their employers.

Read More Sep 12, 2016
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August

Goucher contingent faculty wins right to unite

After a long fight,contingent faculty at Goucher won their union. Goucher College is the fourth Maryland institution of higher education   where faculty organized a union in their workplace. This will also be the first combined SEIU unit of part-time and nontenured full-time faculty.

Read More Aug 29, 2016
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August

Graduate workers joining our fight to restore promise of higher education

Graduate assistants understand the needs of students and educators. They are ready to work together and improve working conditions to not only achieve professional goals, but ensure higher education institutions are living up to their missions to provide a public good through education. That’s why following the National Labor Relations Board’s recognition of their right to organize, graduate student employees are launching a massive effort to unite across the country.

Graduate assistants are coming together to join SEIU members, including more than 120,000 tenured, tenure-track and nontenured faculty, adjunct instructors, postdoctoral associates, researchers and other campus workers, as well as students and the community to strengthen the higher education system nationwide.

Read More Aug 23, 2016
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August

Faculty and graduate students are in the Fight for $15 and a union

Faculty and graduate workers joined thousands of women and men from across the country for the #Fightfor15 low-wage worker conference in Richmond, Va. Joined by the Rev. Barber, they endured the heat to make a powerful statement for the underpaid workers’ movement.

Learn More Aug 15, 2016
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June

Standing up with Elizabeth Warren to support the Graduate Savings Act

The Graduate Savings Act of 2016 could improve the retirement prospects of nearly 100,000 postdoctoral fellows and hundreds of thousand graduate employees. This new legislation will help put countless overworked and underpaid academic workers on the path to retiring with dignity.

“This will be a major improvement to our retirement plans and financial security if we are able to make IRA contributions from our stipends,” said Joel Lewis, who works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota.

Read More Jun 21, 2016
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June

After a long fight, contingent faculty in Seattle win union recognition

Saint Martin’s University adjunct faculty overcame legal delays and finally won their union. Their votes, cast in 2014 but held up by litigation since, were finally counted. Even with a long campaign, the faculty at SMU stayed united and fought each step of the way to have their union recognized.

These faculty join a growing number of contingent faculty at both private and public institutions of higher education—including Georgetown, St. Martin’s, Tufts and Duke universities—who are forming unions and winning better pay, improved working conditions, professional recognition and support from their employers.

“Today’s win could not be more satisfying. This is a culmination of a lot of hard work and it is a dream come true,” said Julie Harms Cannon, an adjunct faculty member.

Read More Jun 17, 2016
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June

Postdocs fight campus housing eviction and win

On the heels of an active campaign to protect their housing rights, University of Minnesota’s international researchers won the right to remain in their campus-based homes May 11 after being threatened with eviction.

Postdoctoral researchers at the University of Minnesota received an eviction notice from Commonwealth Terrace Cooperative (CTC) in April, the on-campus housing complex where university postdoctoral researchers, research associates and medical residents have lived in affordable family housing for the past 45 years.

As University of Minnesota postdoctoral researcher Dr. Sunny Chan said: “The university and CTC tried to force us out of our homes. But through our union, we stood strong and pushed back against these heartless attempts to destabilize our families and won the right to stay in our homes at an affordable price.”

Red More Jun 14, 2016
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June

McDaniel adjuncts unionize to address wages, job security

Adjunct professors at McDaniel College have voted to form a union; becoming the second four-year university in Maryland. with collective bargaining for part-time employees.

Pamela Zappardino, an adjunct who teaches in several departments at McDaniel and who helped lead the organizing effort, said adjuncts with a master’s degree make just $3,000 a course. "It's a wage that doesn't really respect the expertise and quality that adjunct faculty bring," she said. "I don't know anyone that just teaches and goes home. We're very interested in meeting with students and going beyond what our contract asks us to do."

With the formation of their union, adjuncts can now start to use their collective power to demand fair wages.

Read More Jun 06, 2016
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May

Full-time contingent faculty at Ithaca vote to join contingent faculty union

Full­-time contingent faculty members at Ithaca College voted to form a union with the already unionized full-time contingent faculty members at the university.

“We believe that as one group of contingent faculty, we can negotiate for a stronger academic program for both faculty and students,” said Rachel Gunderson, instructor in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education.

Read More May 24, 2016
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May

Part-time faculty at Saint Louis University form a union

Part-time faculty working in St. Louis University’s College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences voted to form a union. The vote is the latest victory in a nationwide push by adjuncts to demand better working conditions.

Read More May 23, 2016
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April

Thousands of faculty join SEIU as the movement marches on in 2016

There have been an amazing number of milestones for the faculty movement this Spring Semester. So far in 2016, thousands of faculty members at 10 colleges and universities have voted to join SEIU. Ten schools or university systems have settled or ratified first union contracts this Spring. These new agreements raise wages, solidify job security, and set a clear example for other universities both in their home cities  to other schools across the country.

Read More Apr 29, 2016
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March

Duke community rallies to celebrate faculty win

150 students, faculty, and community members rallied on Duke's campus to celebrate the victory by faculty who voted overwhelmingly to form their union with SEIU. The faculty who won their union are excited to begin working with their colleagues and the university to come up with a contract that will improve teaching and learning conditions at the university..

Read More Mar 21, 2016
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March

Organizing the South continues with a win for non-regular-rank faculty at Duke

With a vote of 174 to 29, Duke faculty have issued their mandate, and established the first faculty union at a major private university in the South.

Despite being in a “right-to-ork” state, Duke faculty are standing up to have a voice at work and unite with a broader movement in the South. This important show of strength comes on the heels of new U.S. Department of Labor data showing union membership in 13 Southern states grew by about 200,000 last year.

Read More Mar 18, 2016
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March

Adjunct faculty at St. Charles Community College unionize to fight low wages, lack of benefits and unpredictable scheduling

Lisa Butler has been a sociology professor at St. Charles Community College for five years and is limited in the number of credit hours she can teach a year. She teaches three courses at Maryville University and three at the community college, and makes about $30,000 a year.

That’s why she joined her co-workers to form a union that can address issues with scheduling and pay.

“For me, teaching is what I want to do full time,” she said. “The reality is, full-time faculty positions aren’t available.”

Read More Mar 04, 2016
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January

Growing momentum for college faculty in New York with victory at Wells College

Following contingent faculty victories at Ithaca College, Wells adjuncts voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Local 200United as part of Faculty Forward.

“We organized to form a union to strengthen Wells College and make it a better environment for the students, the full-time faculty, and the contingent faculty,” said Laura Campbell, a lecturer in the Music Department. “By organizing, we gain a voice which will allow us to participate more fully in providing a higher academic standard and ensure a more stable and consistent faculty.”

Read More Jan 30, 2016
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January

The Chicago Faculty Forward movement kicks off with a victory for nontenure-track faculty at Loyola

An overwhelming majority of non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Chicago have voted to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, becoming the first unionized contingent faculty under the SEIU Faculty Forward Chicago banner.

Read More Jan 27, 2016
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January

Stronger job security and pay for instructors is coming for faculty in Minnesota

What could be the largest single campus faculty union filed their petition for election with SEIU Local 284. The increasing reliance on low-paid instructors with no job security is one of the alarming trends in higher education. In response to the creeping reliance on contingent workers, who are asked to do the same work with lower pay, fewer benefits and less job security, faculty members at the University of Minnesota are standing up. They filed to hold a union election. If they win, the group will become one of the largest faculty unions in the country.

Read More Jan 20, 2016