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Seattle U contingents declare victory, but ballots impounded

ACT-adjuncts-contingentsThe following is from Adjuncts and Contingents Together Washington, a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 925:

SEATTLE (June 5, 2014) — Seattle University contingent faculty declared victory Wednesday in their union campaign to join thousands of non-tenure track faculty nationwide in a rapidly growing movement.

“We are encouraged by the strong support and the great turnout among adjunct and contingent faculty, and we are very confident that we won the vote,” said SU contingent faculty member Louisa Edgerly.

Voting ended on June 2, and ballots have been impounded pending a decision on SU administration’s appeal to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C. SEIU Local 925, the contingent faculty union, will file a special appeal to the NLRB for the ballots to be counted.

“We ask our administration to drop their appeal, respect the democratic process, and allow the votes to be counted. We are committed to work towards success, and we will continue our organizing effort as long as it takes. We look forward to getting to the bargaining table with the administration, and establishing an effective dialogue with Seattle University,” said Edgerly.


From left, Seattle University adjuncts Nancy Burkhalter (Languages and Culture Bridge), Jerome Veith (Philosophy), Michael Ng (History), and Larry Cushnie (Political Science) at the Feb. 20 NLRB filing for a union election.

Over 700 students, alumni and faculty have demanded that SU administration respect the right of contingent faculty to vote on forming a union. The Student Government of Seattle University also released a statement asking that the appeal be dropped.

Even with no guarantee of having a job the next semester, adjunct and contingent faculty are bravely speaking out in unprecedented ways – forming unions from coast to coast, taking action online and offline, and uniting across employers and cities to raise standards for all educators, improve the quality of education, and win the good jobs that will get our economy moving again.

The next contingent faculty union election in Seattle will be at Antioch University. Ballots will be mailed out July 7 and are due back by July 23. Antioch University Seattle faculty member Alex Suarez, said, “I am delighted that Antioch University Seattle, following its longstanding tradition of social justice, is getting ready to vote for unionization. Our union will ensure that the voice of the faculty is clearly heard and attended to within the university. Through our union, my colleagues and I will be empowered to improve the conditions that foster learning and development in students and quality of life for all. I hope everyone realizes how good this can be for everyone in Academia. These are such exciting times!”

ALSO at The Stand — Seattle U’s union avoidance contrary to Catholic teachings (May 2, 2014)

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