Elon University Adjunct Professors Vote by 2-1 Margin to Form Union


Joining a growing union movement among academics in the South,

Elon University Adjunct Professors Vote by 2-1 Margin to Form Union

In doing so, they join a national movement of educators organizing for and winning better working conditions, pay and benefits

NATIONAL — Today, in a union election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, adjunct professors at Elon University in Alamance County, North Carolina voted to form their union with SEIU Workers United Southern Region. The faculty voted by a 2-1 margin to unionize.

“The adjunct faculty at Elon University have spoken: we believe that our voices are the best way to articulate issues with, and solutions for, our working conditions and our students’ learning environment,” said Catherine Bush, an assistant professor of Biology at Elon University.  “We look forward to productive conversations with the administration to discuss improvements that will benefit our entire university.”


Nearly half of Elon faculty are non-tenure track, meaning they have little to no job security. Elon faculty’s campaign for a union is part of a growing union movement of academics in the South and across the country. It comes just a year after non-tenure track faculty at Duke University won an average pay increase of 14% across departments, longer term contracts and assurances of course continuity. Duke faculty’s vote to unionize in 2016 was the first faculty union election at a private university in the South in decades.

“We are delighted to welcome our colleagues from Elon University into SEIU Workers United Southern Region,” said Christopher Shreve, an instructor at Duke University and president of SEIU Workers United Southern Region Local 26. “Across higher education, faculty are standing together to secure fairer wages and greater access to the standard benefits of a career in education. We are inspired by the determination of Elon adjuncts to fight for the best interests of their students and their families, and by extension, for their university.”

The win at Elon is a continuation of the growing labor movement in North Carolina, which is often attacked by corporations with extensive anti-union tactics, unlawful labor practices and intimidation of workers by bosses.

“On behalf of the over 100,000 union members in North Carolina, I am proud to welcome the brave faculty at Elon University into the state’s growing labor movement,” said North Carolina AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan. “This is a historic election in a state tied for the lowest union density in the country. When we band together as a strong movement, workers can win justice for themselves, their families, and their communities!”

“I find comfort as a student, knowing that now my professors have a voice to create fair and respectful treatment in their working conditions,” said Lauren Rodgers, a first-year student at Elon.

Elon adjunct faculty will now move forward with scheduling negotiations with the administration.