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University of the District of Columbia Part-Time Faculty Vote to Join Majority of DC Adjuncts in SEIU

Adjunct faculty at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) have voted to join their colleagues at Georgetown, Howard, George Washington and American universities and form a union in SEIU Local 500. A vast majority voted in favor of forming a union, joining a rapidly growing national union movement to address the crisis in higher education and the troubling trend toward a marginalized teaching faculty.

Seventy-five percent of adjunct faculty in Washington, DC are now united in SEIU Local 500. Professor Juan Laster, a UDC adjunct, said. “We worked very hard for this victory, but this is only the first step. I am looking forward to working with the administration on a first contract that respects our work as educators and faculty and as a key part of the UDC community. I am also proud to be joining Howard University as the second HBCU to have a union for part-time faculty.”

Adjunct faculty at UDC are already working on issues to discuss during first contract negotiations. Workplace conditions in higher education have quickly and dramatically changed for the people responsible for the core mission of instruction in our colleges and universities. Contingent faculty are now a majority of college and university faculty, and through their union contracts, adjunct faculty are already winning better pay, job security and access to professional development.

Throughout the Washington, DC area and across the country adjunct faculty continue to fight to address the crisis in higher education: a marginalized teaching faculty, administrative bloat, quickly rising tuition, and record levels of student debt. Thousands of adjunct and contingent workers have joined SEIU/Adjunct Action in the last year.

Workers at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York and the California College of the Arts are set to vote to form their union in early September, following in the footsteps of faculty at a dozen other schools, including the Maryland Institute College of Art, Northeastern University, Hamline University, San Francisco Art Institute, Georgetown, Howard University and Mills College, all of whom have joined SEIU/Adjunct Action since May 2013.

In addition to five schools in Washington, SEIU Local 500 represents adjunct faculty at Montgomery College and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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