BOSTON – Core faculty at Lesley University filed a formal petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today, seeking to join Faculty Forward – a project of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509. The election petition marks the latest milestone in the growing faculty union movement, with nearly 3,000 Boston-area educators now joined in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization.
“Today’s filing brings Lesley faculty one step closer to having a real say in university governance – in the decisions that impact the learning experience on campus,” said Jason Pramas, assistant professor of Business Management and Communication. “We now have the chance to build the kind of institution that truly values its educators, full-time and adjunct faculty alike.”
The NLRB election will join Lesley’s full-time faculty with more than 550 unionized adjuncts on the Cambridge-based campus – along with contingent faculty colleagues at Boston University, Northeastern and Bentley. Part time lecturers at Tufts signed their first union contract in October, making significant gains around compensation, working conditions and educators’ role in decision-making.
“This election is an opportunity for all faculty to raise our voices and express our commitment to fair labor practices, academic integrity and the overall well-being of the Lesley Community,” said Dalia Llera, professor of Counseling and Psychology. “The time is now to unite in a shared push toward a better future at Lesley – one where both faculty and students can thrive.”
“There is real energy and momentum amongst our full-time colleagues, and we look forward to winning our election in the weeks ahead,” added Pramas. “Together, we’ll bring Lesley University’s focus back where it belongs: on giving our students the best educational experience possible.”
Greater Boston’s contingent faculty form the core of a robust, nationwide movement to address the crisis in higher education – where the role of educators is increasingly low-wage and marginalized, despite tuition increases and growing endowments. The groundbreaking effort seeks to reinvest in the classroom, raise standards and improve stability through the Faculty Forward and Adjunct Action initiatives.
The union petition has already received widespread support from the Cambridge City Council. Dates and balloting details for the Lesley core faculty vote will be determined by the National Labor Relations Board office in Boston in the coming weeks.
SEIU Local 509 represents more than 18,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including 3,000 part- and full-time faculty in the Greater Boston area. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities — as well as educational opportunities from early learning to higher education. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. For more information, visit http://seiu509.org.