BU Adjunct Professors Vote to Join Union

From The Boston Globe:

Adjunct professors at Boston University voted Wednesday to unionize, joining part-time faculty at other Boston-area schools in a nationwide push to increase workplace rights for the instructors who play a growing role in higher education.

More than 750 BU adjuncts will join Faculty Forward, a part of the Service Employees International Union Local 509, as a result of the vote, the union said. The action passed by a 2-to-1 ratio.

“We’re looking forward to working with the union,” he said.

Riley said 36 percent of BU faculty are adjuncts, but those instructors teach only 21 percent of all courses, and only 9 percent in the College of Arts and Sciences, where most BU undergraduates take their core courses.

“Those discussions will begin the collective bargaining process,” he said, “over wages, working conditions, civility, investments in the classroom, and other issues that impact both students and faculty on campus.”

Bayla Ostrach, who serves on the BU union organizing committee, said she hopes to change the current system, under which adjuncts can work for weeks preparing a course and then be paid nothing if it is canceled because of low enrollment.

“Every adjunct I’ve spoken with, our number-one priority is being able to focus on our students and focus on our teaching,” Ostrach, 34, said, “and it’s really hard to do that when you don’t know until the first week whether you’re going to have class.”

Faculty Forward, which includes adjuncts in the Boston area, will now have 2,600 members.

Read the full story here.