Santa Clara University Non-Tenured Faculty Seek Union Election
Santa Clara University (SCU) adjunct faculty and lecturers are sidestepping the NLRB and calling on University administrators to partner with them in their efforts to build a worker organization. The faculty are requesting the administration agree to hold a speedy, neutral, in-house vote on unionization. SCU President Father Michael Engh is expected to respond to the faculty’s request this week.
Kristin Kusanovich, Senior Lecturer, Theatre and Dance, says “We see both a better climate for student learning and faculty sustainability improving with unionization.”
In explaining why the faculty are seeking a process that would be quicker and simpler than going through the federal government, Math Lecturer Mary Long stated, “In my 20 plus years I have gone from being Quarterly Part-Time, to an Academic Year Adjunct Lecturer, to a Renewable Term Lecturer. I have never before felt that so many of my colleagues were as vulnerable as they are now. We need to all come together to give a consistent voice to our needs, whether it be stability of employment, housing, child care, or even respect in the workplace.”
The usual path to unionization through the Trump Administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has recently come under scrutiny for obstructing workers’ rights to unionize.
The path to unionization outside of a National Labor Relations Board election was paved last month by an agreement between Georgetown University and its graduate students. In the Georgetown pact, the parties agreed to a union election overseen by the American Arbitration Association (AAA).
Non-tenure-track faculty members at SCU are proposing to have the arbitration group oversee their election. Support to allow SCU non-tenure track faculty to vote on unionization is strong. A recent student-led petition in support of allowing a vote garnered over 300 signatures from the SCU community in just a couple of days. Previous to this petition, over 80 SCU tenured and tenure-track faculty signed and delivered a petition in support of adjunct faculty and lecturer’s right to vote to have their own organization. Faculty have also received multiple letters of support from community groups, other unionized universities and labor unions. SCU non-tenure track faculty plan on continuing to organize and garner more support for a vote on unionization. To help support their efforts please sign their community petition: