Seattle University faculty vote to join SEIU after two-year journey

A long fight has at last been won. Seattle University adjunct faculty will have their union when their ballots, cast in 2014 but held up by litigation since, were counted Friday at the Seattle regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Non-tenure-track faculty at the university have elected to join SEIU 925 and the Faculty Forward movement.

Seattle University contingent faculty faced a two-year delay in their efforts to form a union as the university administration chose to appeal the faculty’s right to unionize. This appeal meant the faculty’s ballots were impounded at the NLRB office and remained uncounted. The labor board  ruled recently in the faculty’s favor, and now that the election is over the faculty are calling on university President Stephen Sundborg to recognize their union and prepare to bargain in good faith.

These faculty join a growing number of contingent faculty at both private and public institutions of higher education—including Georgetown, St. Martin’s, Tufts and Duke universities—who are forming unions and winning better pay, improved working conditions, professional recognition and support from their employers.

“Today’s win could not be more satisfying. This is a culmination of a lot of hard work and it is a dream come true,” said Julie Harms Cannon, an adjunct faculty member.

Read more in The Seattle Times, The Stranger and Inside Higher Ed.