Washington University adjunct faculty take a step toward unionization

FromĀ St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A group of Washington University adjunct instructors have taken a crucial step toward forming a union.

The Service Employees International Union Local 1, on Friday, filed a petition with the federal government on the instructors' behalf.

The petition for a union election makes Washington University's adjunct faculty the first such group in St. Louis to reach that milestone amid a larger nationwide push for higher pay and improved job security.

Adjuncts are typically part-time, low-wage faculty who teach classes when full-time instructors are already overloaded with courses.

Leonard Perez, an administrator with the Nation Labor Relations Board for the St. Louis region, said his agency could hold a hearing between Washington University and the SEIU as early as Friday.

The hearing, Perez explains, would come only if the university challenges whether adjuncts have the proper standing for the SEIU to represent them.

The university could also go the other way, Perez said, and voluntarily agree to a union election. At that point, it would just be a matter of scheduling the date and time of a secret ballot election.

Read the full story here.