Ithaca College Adjuncts Seek Unionization

From Ithaca Journal:

Adjunct professors at Ithaca College plan to file for union elections this semester, following a national trend toward unionization in the part-time college teaching ranks.

A group of part-time faculty professors at Ithaca College started pursuing union affiliation last spring with Adjunct Action, a project of the Service Employees International Union.

Brody Burroughs, a part-time art lecturer at the college, said the group had been quietly trying to gauge interest over the past year. The group announced to other college faculty members their intent to seek union affiliation late last week.

There are more than 200 part-time faculty members at Ithaca College, numbering more than 30 percent of total instructional employees at the college. That’s a lower ratio than the national average, where adjuncts represent about 48 percent of teaching duties on campuses across the country, according to the collegefactual.com.

At Ithaca College, part-time faculty are paid $1,300 per credit hour, and are generally signed to three-month contracts before the start of a semester. Burroughs said that pay per-credit hour hasn’t increased in five years.

Rachel Kaufman, a part-time lecturer in writing and a member of the union organizing committee said in a statement that adjunct teach the same courses as tenured professors, and deserve to be treated the same. “Part-time faculty deserve to be treated and compensated fairly for our work, just as our tenure track colleagues are,” she said.

Along with grievances such as wages and benefits, union officials raised issues with class reappointments, access to professional development and opportunities for tenured employment.

As employees of a private college, the group will file for their union election with the National Labor Relations Board.

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