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Fordham University Contingent Faculty Overwhelmingly Vote to Join SEIU Faculty Forward
Adjunct Faculty, Full Time Non-Tenure Track Faculty & Postdoctoral Fellows Vote 16-to-1 to Unionize Just Weeks After Signing Neutrality Agreement with Fordham Administration to Allow for a Fair Election Process
NEW YORK, NY — Today, in a union election held by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Fordham University contingent faculty voted overwhelmingly to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200United. Out of more than 900 eligible voters, a clear majority of Fordham contingent faculty — including adjunct faculty, full time non-tenure track faculty, and postdoctoral fellows — voted 16-to-1 to unionize. The election is the culmination of a year-long organizing drive launched in October 2016 and comes just weeks after the administration and Fordham non-tenure track faculty signed a landmark neutrality agreement that allowed for a free and fair election at the Jesuit university.
Guy Robinson, senior lecturer of natural sciences at Fordham University, said, “As a full time lecturer at Fordham I’m deeply invested in our campus, but only with our union will I have input when it comes to making improvements here at our school. This victory will mean having a say when it comes to my own working conditions, but also for my part time colleagues, so that they might experience the same sense of security that I have. Having a real voice will be better for faculty and better for our students.”
Fordham contingent faculty join the ranks of other faculty members who formed a union with SEIU at more than a dozen Jesuit and Catholic-affiliated colleges since 2013. Many Catholic and Jesuit universities have remained neutral in union elections and successfully bar
gained with faculty. When the neutrality agreement was signed, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said, “I am very proud of our collaborative work with faith-based employers at the bargaining table, within the institutions and in the corridors of political power. Fordham University joins other Jesuit colleges and universities such as Georgetown University, Loyola University Chicago, St. Louis University and other Catholic colleges as institutional leaders committed to their mission, providing high-quality education and respecting their campus faculty, staff and other workers.”
Hannah Jopling, an adjunct professor of sociology and anthropology at Fordham University and member of the union organizing committee, said, “We owe this victory to the support of the entire Fordham community. Social justice initiatives on campus now include contingent faculty! I am hopeful that our win leads to a collaborative relationship with our administration.”
Over the course, the campaign, Fordham contingent faculty received an outpouring of support and solidarity from their tenured and tenure-track colleagues as well as from Fordham students. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assemblyman David Buchwald, and Senator George Latimer each sent letters of support to the non-tenure track faculty. The campaign even received national attention when Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter in support of their campaign.
Senator George Latimer, whose district includes the Fordham University Westchester County campus, congratulated the workers on their victory, “Job security and fairness in the workplace is essential for all workers. SEIU Local 200 is at the forefront of protecting workers and their rights, and I believe that the non-tenure track faculty will be very well served by this monumental decision.”
Next, Fordham contingent faculty will prepare for negotiations with the administration for their first contract. Like the more than 26,000 faculty members who have joined SEIU since 2013, they are hoping to win higher wages, enhanced job security, and a greater voice in the campus community.
Faculty Forward is a project of SEIU Local 200United, launched in 2014 and over 3,000 contingent faculty across New York and Vermont have joined, including contingent faculty at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, VT, and Siena College in Albany, NY