Full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty at Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU), in the city of Belmont, voted by 85% to join SEIU 1021 on Wednesday, May 26. These faculty will be joining their PT faculty colleagues that voted to join SEIU 1021 on April 29th.

“This vote by tenured and tenure-track faculty to unionize with SEIU 1021 is historic- the first tenured and tenured-track faculty to organize with SEIU anywhere in the country, and perhaps the first tenured and tenure-track faculty to organize at a private university since 1980. Our faculty, joined by NDNU students, stood up and fought for this hard-won victory,” said Kim Tolley, president of the NDNU faculty senate and one of the leaders of the SEIU 1021 organizing committee.

In 1980, the Supreme Court ruled that full-time, tenure track faculty members were supervisory and managerial employees and thus, excluded from collective bargaining rights.

Wednesday’s vote by tenured faculty at NDNU marks the seventh private Bay Area college to unionize with SEIU 1021: Saint Mary’s College, Dominican University, Holy Names University, California College of the Arts, the San Francisco Art Institute and Mills College. The seven colleges and universities employ over 1700 professors in five counties, who have joined with SEIU 1021 and the national Faculty Forward movement to address deteriorating working conditions in higher education. Contracts reached to date at St. Mary’s College, Dominican University and Mills College include new three-year teaching contracts with predictable courseloads for adjunct professors and pay increases averaging 12-30% over three years. Adjunct professors typically are offered opportunities to teach on a course by course basis with no security for continued work

The union election by tenure-track faculty at Notre Dame de Namur University is the 50th election win since the national Adjunct Action/Faculty Forward campaign kicked off. Throughout the nation, over 12,000 faculty have joined SEIU since launching Adjunct Action/Faculty Forward campaign in 2013.

Across the Bay Area and the country, faculty have negotiated contracts that have won: pay increases, the establishment or expansion of professional development funds, “just cause” clauses protecting members from arbitrary discipline or discharge, and a defined rate of compensation in the event of course cancellation, among other improvements.

“At NDNU, full-time and tenure-track faculty are being paid less, class sizes are growing and tuition is higher than ever. From tenured professors to adjunct professors to custodians, they are all feeling the pain of misguided cost-cutting strategies by university administrators.  Professors at NDNU are looking forward to their seat at the table to improve student leaning conditions and improve working conditions,” said Bobby Vaughn, NDNU Professor of Anthropology.

See the story about our fight to unionize here:

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