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.

Professors push presidential candidates to include a voice for educators in higher education reform proposals

Contingent professors with SEIU Faculty Forward have joined with students and families across the country to demand college for all, student loan debt forgiveness and a minimum of $15 an hour and the right to join a union for all campus employees. In response to this overwhelming demand from voters, candidates are proposing plans that address loan debt and accessibility. Now, professors are urging candidates to include a voice for educators in their plans. They say that no higher education reform bill can be truly transformative if the people who spend every day in the classroom don’t have a voice in its execution.

Professors at the University of Iowa met with Gov. Jay Inslee at a local diner Monday, just two weeks after their meeting with Sen. Bernie Sanders to discuss their plans for higher education reform legislation and how to make it more effective. Marquette professors met Sen. Elizabeth Warren last week and she committed to drafting a letter in support of their union effort.

In all these engagements, professors called on candidates to make it easier for them to come together with their colleagues and address low wages, lack of benefits and lack of job security. As a result, Former Secretary Julian Castro recently incorporated edits to his legislation that would ensure fair pay for all campus employees and protect educators’ right to a voice on the job.

These kinds of gains are only possible because educators are united in a powerful movement. With more than 60,000 graduate workers and faculty members on 70 campuses, plus countless students, families and staff supporters, it's clear that candidates understand their power when they stick together.