There’s an excellent piece up today at The Chronicle of Higher Education on adjunct professor faculty unions. No sense trying to replicate the top notch reporting that Peter Schmidt has done regarding Adjunct Action and the SEIU. Just head over to The Chronicle‘s site and read the article.
Peter Schmidt is a senior reporter at The Chronicle, and he is the newspaper’s specialist on faculty unions. His stuff is always worth reading, but this in-depth piece of reporting on the work of Adjunct Action is especially strong.
Ever since I saw the Adjunct Action Twitter account a year or so ago, I knew the group was on to something big. I’ve been an outspoken proponent of their work since day one. The first unionization victories in Washington, DC led to the “metro-organizing” strategy which seeks to unite adjuncts by region rather than by school.
This makes much more sense because the turnover rate for adjuncts at a given school can be relatively high—too high to count on the strength generated by the adjunct numbers alone. Plus, if an administration found a way to force out a group of adjuncts, the union would be significantly weakened.
Not so with the metro-organizing strategy because this union gains strength from several area universities and is therefore less affected by the staffing changes at any one school.
It was this metro-organizing approach, in particular, that caught my attention. Since those early days, I’ve watched with excitement as Adjunct Action has spread from city to city: DC, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St, Louis, and others. New cities are being added regularly to the group’s organizing roadmap.
Adjunct Action is the closest thing I’ve seen to a national union for adjunct professors. Lots of promise and potential here. I’ll continue to promote the organization and relish its victories as it spreads across the country.
Unfortunately, as a southerner, there isn’t much chance a union will come my way in the near future. But I will, of course, be cheering on the successes of my colleagues in the north, midwest, and west coast as Adjunct Action continues to grow and gain strength.