Macalester, Hamline Adjuncts File for Union Vote

From The Minneapolis StarTribune:

Adjunct faculty members at Macalester College and Hamline University have taken the first formal steps to form a union, joining a national movement to organize the growing number of temporary instructors in college classrooms.

On Thursday, campus organizers at Macalester filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election for temporary faculty members at the St. Paul college. Adjuncts at nearby Hamline University filed a similar petition on Friday.

SooJin Pate, one of the organizers, said that part-time adjuncts are paid as little as $5,000 per course at Macalester, one of the most prestigious private colleges in Minnesota and where tuition alone costs $45,000.

By comparison, tenure-track professors, who typically teach five courses a year, start at $61,000 a year plus benefits, according to the college.

“There’s a huge disparity,” said Pate, 37, who has been teaching American studies at Macalester for three years. “We want equal pay for equal work.”

Most adjuncts, she added, are not disgruntled employees. “We love our jobs,” she said, just not the working conditions, which often leave them without benefits or job security. “If we have a union, we can only gain, we can’t lose. It can’t get worse for us.”

Read the full story here.