University of South Florida Adjuncts File for Union Election
TAMPA, FL – Non-tenure track, part-time faculty at the University of South Florida (USF) announced recently that they filed for a union election to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as part of the national Faculty Forward campaign (seiufacultyforward.org) to raise standards in higher education.
"We're forming a union so we can earn a living wage at the jobs we love," says Jeanette Abrahamsen, an adjunct who teaches Mass Communications. "When we invest in each other the way we invest in our students, we'll create an environment where qualified teachers can keep their jobs and earn what we deserve."
USF contingent faculty continue to build support while taking an important step toward voting to join colleagues at Hillsborough Community College, who voted overwhelmingly to form a union last November. Adjuncts at the University of Chicago, Tufts, Georgetown and dozens of other universities have joined SEIU in the past three years. More than a quarter of USF's faculty members are part-time, contingent faculty, up from 16 percent in 2010.
"I want a union because I believe in fairness and justice," says Patty McCabe-Remmell, an adjunct who teaches professional and technical writing. "We are, after all, professionals. Pay and benefit parity would be a nice way to recognize that," she says, noting that graduate assistants and tenure-track faculty at USF, who are represented by unions, receive healthcare benefits.
Momentum is building. Together, faculty from more than 50 schools, coast to coast, are building support to form their union with SEIU, and creating a movement to address the crisis in higher education and the declining working standards that leave both students and faculty behind.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is home to more than 120,000 faculty, graduate student employees and other campus workers who believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities by fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy.