Faculty at Elon University Take First Steps to Unionize

Organize The South!

Non-tenure-track faculty at Elon University have taken the first public steps to exercise their freedom to join together in union and collectively negotiate a union contract for fair wages, job security, and more transparency in salary and promotion decisions made by university officials.

Last week, faculty members filed papers with the National Labor Relations Board and announced their intent to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) at a rally organized with the help of SEIU Faculty Forward and attended by students, union members, and other community supporters on Thursday. Faculty members have asked the Elon University administration to agree to remain neutral during the organizing campaign.

“This is a momentous step forward,” said Catherine Bush, an organizer who has taught biology for nearly seven years at Elon. “Non-tenure track faculty at Elon will finally get a voice … and the ability to make the changes on this campus that we want to see. “We will make the changes that we believe will make Elon a better university.” (source)

“I couldn’t think of a single good reason not to do it,” Allen said. “It will promote fairness and be in the best interest of the students and the university to move forward with this particular organization.” (source)

Participants chanted and carried signs which read “We teach. We give. Help us earn enough to live” during a march across campus where North Carolina State AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan spoke about the exploitation she witnessed during grad school and the ongoing struggle of visiting instructors and adjunct faculty to piece together a living even today. “But the good news is: it doesn’t have to be that way,” MaryBe told the crowd.

“When working people join together in a union, when we join together in a movement, we can change wages and working conditions.” — MaryBe McMillan, president, NC State AFL-CIO

Watch the ENN video: Faculty Forward speak-out:

Read coverage of the Elon Faculty Forward action in the Elon News Network and the Greensboro News & Record.

Click to follow and add to the discussion on Twitter using #ElonFacultyForward.

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