Today, in a union election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Mercy College non-tenure track faculty voted overwhelmingly to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200United. Out of 831 eligible voters, a clear majority voted 4-to-1 unionize, with 406 voting yes to 100 no votes.
Katherine Flaherty, a lecturer in Seminars and member of the union organizing committee, said, “We are excited that we have finally won our union at Mercy College. We worked hard for this, and we have overcome every attempt to keep us from winning our union. We look forward to negotiations and to making Mercy the best it can be for faculty, students, and the entire Mercy College community.”
The victory comes just one year after a historic contract victory at Fordham University and marks the second college in the New York City metropolitan area to join Faculty Forward/SEIU. Nationwide and across New York, adjunct and contingent faculty are uniting on their campuses to improve wages and working conditions as their numbers continue to grow.
Catherine Johnson, a lecturer in the Seminars program and member of the union organizing committee, said, “I feel like I have been a part of a good deed. I am very, very happy and look forward to contract negotiations.”
The organizing committee went public with their organizing drive in January; along with supporters from the campus community, they delivered a letter to Mercy College President Tim Hall demanding the college administration remain neutral in the union election.
Local elected leaders, including New York State Assemblymembers Thomas Abinanti, Richard Gottfried, Michael Benedetto, and New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, also sent letters in support of the faculty’s organizing drive.
The college administration refused to remain neutral, hiring a notorious “union avoidance” law firm who encouraged faculty not to form a union with various communications, while also attempting to thwart their efforts with legal maneuvering.
In the next few weeks, organizers will begin circulating surveys to determine the priorities for contract negotiations which they hope to begin in the Fall 2019 semester.