With the overwhelming support of colleagues throughout the LesleyCommunity, we were able to petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) — and we have won the right to vote to form a Core Faculty Union on campus! We’ve taken our time over the last year to discuss and make informed decisions on how to make key improvements in our university, and our objective is now in sight.
We anticipate the Boston Office of the NLRB to schedule a union election soon — likely to be held in early May. There is a tentative agreement to hold the election by mail-in ballot to ensure maximum participation in the vote. It is our hope and expectation that all Core Faculty will be able to consider the issues and cast our legally-protected votes without interference from Lesley administrators.
Final determinations as to who will be eligible to vote in this union election are made by the NLRB. Under federal law there are strict laws that mandate who is within the jurisdiction of federal labor law to vote and be part of unions. For example, the law generally views Department Chairs and Division Directors as part of a given institution’s management team — and therefore ineligible for union membership.
Unfortunately, there are forces within the administration that are actively working to disenfranchise at least 14 faculty members from this process. In the spirit of academic democracy, we feel this is wrong — especially given several of the educators the administration seeks to silence have been at Lesley in one way or another for as long as many of us, often serving for more than one year at a time.
We firmly believe that educators who contribute to Lesley programs, curriculum and communities should have their voices heard. We all work on a contractual basis — regardless of the terms. We are all fully invested in the classroom and do not serve as administrators. So there is no plausible rationale for excluding the voices of these Core Faculty colleagues.
No matter who the NLRB rules to be in or out of the final vote, we can all agree that many of us share in the same experiences and challenges at Lesley. As friends and colleagues we have no intention of turning a blind eye to those concerns — and we are fortunate to have a Faculty Assembly where everyone can meet and discuss these issues together, regardless of union membership. But through our union and the binding contracts we negotiate, we can ensure meaningful change that will improve the overall teaching and learning experience at Lesley.
Core faculty share many common goals. And while we may approach these goals from varied perspectives, it is our diverse backgrounds and viewpoints that will truly make this union strong. Our collective voice will help to raise standards and improve conditions for all of us — as well as for our students and the university community as a whole.
We hope you will join us in this effort in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned for details when and how the election will be conducted.
Have questions? Let us know! We’re eager to hear your thoughts and questions prior to the May vote.
The Lesley Core Faculty Organizing Committee
P.S. Local and national media outlets are already taking notice of our organizing efforts. If you haven’t yet had the chance, be sure to check out coverage from the Boston Business Journal, Cambridge Chronicle, and Cambridge Day — amongst others!