SEIU 1021

SEIU 1021 Santa Clara All Lecturers Union (SALU) Ratify Historic First Contract With 97.8% Approval


On Thursday, May 16th, after 16 months of negotiations, SEIU Local 1021 members working as adjunct professors and lecturers for Santa Clara University (SCU) voted to approve their first union contract. 

Adjunct faculty and lecturers at SCU organized for five years to form a union, which they finally won in 2022. Non-tenure track faculty members at SCU teach most of the university’s courses yet struggle with undependable employment and an ever-increasing cost of living, making it unsustainable to continue in their current positions. The new contract increases wages and expands career advancement opportunities.

“This first contract is a major step forward for all my union colleagues,” said Sandy Piderit, a senior lecturer at the Leavey School of Business at SCU. “I’m grateful to the bargaining team for securing agreements to increase job security by moving more people onto multiyear positions and raising minimum salaries.” 

In addition to much-needed wage increases and expanded opportunities for professional development, new contract highlights include updated and improved title changes and expanded health benefits. Union members anticipate that these additions will offer greater stability for lecturers, reduce turnover, and increase consistency for students.

“Building our union has been such an exciting process so far, and having our first contract ratified is a huge step forward for stability for faculty and students at SCU,” added Natalie Linnell, a senior lecturer in SCU’s Mathematics and Computer Science Department.

This union victory and first contract mark a pivotal moment within a broader national movement of adjunct faculty organizing that began over a decade ago and has continued to grow. As universities have increasingly relied on employing professors on a temporary, part-time basis, paying them per course or credit as a cost-effective and more “flexible” staffing solution for the majority of undergraduate courses, adjunct faculty have increasingly turned to unionization to counteract the negative impacts of this trend. The growing reliance on a transient faculty workforce, many of whom supplement their income by teaching at multiple institutions or taking on additional jobs, leads to a lack of consistency and continuity for students and academic departments. 

Through the formation of unions and the negotiation of better pay, benefits, and job security, adjunct faculty are effectively challenging the corporate approach of universities, ensuring that students receive the quality education and experience they invest in.