ST. LOUIS • St. Louis University leaders and members of the Service Employees International Union have tentatively agreed on the first contract for adjunct faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education.
The contract is still pending approval from union members within the next week.
The five-year contract comes more than a year after the SLU adjunct professors voted to unionize. Out of 156 eligible voters, 89 voted in favor back in March of 2016, and 28 voted against it.
There’s something terribly wrong with the picture on America’s college campuses today. Higher education institutions are charging top-dollar rates for that all-important degree, while students and parents receive skyrocketing tuition bills because state governments are cutting back on college funding.
Yet more than half the faculty in higher education today is made up of part-time teachers, also known as adjuncts, according to the American Association of University Professors. Their numbers jumped over the past decade as college and university administrators struggled to bulk up teaching staffs while keeping budgets low. The AAUP says the share of money spent on instruction has declined in every sector of higher education.
The demands placed on adjuncts are enormous, and they have well-founded reasons for asserting that their employment rights are being abused in the name of cost-cutting. Increasingly, part-time faculty members at American colleges are voting to form unions, in part to ensure that universities don’t continue shaving expenses at instructors’ expense.
Adjuncts at St. Louis University’s College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences voted overwhelmingly last week to unionize, following similar moves at Washington University and at St. Charles and St. Louis’ community colleges.
Washington University adjunct professors on Wednesday night held a candlelight rally to protest what they say are low wages and job insecurity.
More than 300 Washington University adjunct professors are currently bargaining their first contract. The workers in January voted to join Service Employees International Union Local 1.
The adjuncts are currently collectively bargaining their first union contract.