CAMBRIDGE – Lesley Faculty Forward, the union of Adjunct and Core Faculty at Lesley University, released the following statement today regarding the announcement of Jeff A. Weiss as the university’s new president. A former adjunct faculty member at Dartmouth and West Point, Weiss is set to assume the post July 1, 2016 – succeeding current president Joseph B. Moore.
We are pleased to present the inaugural edition of our Lesley Adjunct Faculty Union Newsletter — the first of what will be regular updates for union members. Among the many topics covered in this issue: introductions to our elected union representatives, details on new professional development funding and more.
As always, feel free to contact any of our elected Union Representatives or field rep Carley Russell with questions, comments or other ideas.
BOSTON, MA – For the first time in the Commonwealth’s history, thousands of faculty members at institutions of higher education will be able to care for themselves or a sick loved one without fear of repercussions from their employer. According to new regulations issued by Attorney General Maura Healey, [see Section 33.03(7)(a), final regs], educators will join workers throughout Massachusetts in gaining access to earned sick time beginning today.
“On multiple occasions, I’ve been forced to take my sick child to work with me when she was too ill to be at her own school. I didn’t feel I could cancel my class,” said Bayla Ostrach, PhD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston University. “I am relieved to think that I can now stay home, with no repercussions, when my child or I are contagious.”
With this historic vote, we join our adjunct colleagues in securing a stronger faculty voice at Lesley – one that will no doubt secure a brighter future for our university.
The journey here has no doubt been a learning experience. Many of us have been introduced to colleagues who were previously unfamiliar. We’ve discussed the many positive aspects of our jobs as educators and studied what we feel needs to be improved upon. Now that we have formed our union, the time has come to look forward to the positive changes this will bring to core faculty and our students.
We are the Union – that is, all of us striving together. So, as we move forward, we want to include as many voices as possible in our conversations with the Lesley administration. We have scheduled our first contract planning sessions for next Thursday, May 28, at which we will start to define both our immediate and long-range goals (details below). Continue Reading…
BOSTON – Full-time ‘Core’ faculty at Lesley University voted “Union Yes” today, with nearly 60% casting their ballots to join Faculty Forward – a project of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509. The vote marks the fifth faculty union victory in as many months, with more than 3,000 Boston-area educators now joined in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization. Lesley adjunct faculty voted to join FacultyForward/SEIU in February 2014.
“Today’s vote represents an opportunity for real change at Lesley – to make our university a better place to teach and learn,” said Dalia Llera, who has taught Counseling and Psychology for more than two decades at Lesley. “Together with our adjunct colleagues, we will finally be able to pursue the classroom investments we know are so important to the learning experience.”
Alongside faculty victories at Tufts and Emerson, major contract gains set national precedent in compensation, job security and campus inclusion
CAMBRIDGE – An overwhelming 96% of participating adjunct faculty at Lesley University voted to ratify their first union contract today – a three-year agreement that makes significant progress in job and income stability, professional development, and the faculty role in university decisions. The vote caps off a year-long effort by more than 700 contingent educators on the Cambridge-based campus, who voted to join Faculty Forward – a project of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509 – in a landside election in February 2014.
The contract ratification vote marks the latest milestone in the growing faculty union movement, with more than 3,000 Boston-area educators now joined in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization. Contingent faculty in “America’s College Town” have racked up an impressive series of contract victories in recent months, netting major gains around compensation and working conditions at Tufts University and Emerson College. Contract negotiations at Northeastern University are ongoing, with sessions set to begin at Boston University and Bentley in the coming months.
Among the major gains in the three-year Lesley University contract:
Adjunct Norah Dooley hailed the agreement as a major victory for faculty and students at Lesley.
“This contract is a start towards turning this university away from corporate values and back to human and academic values that honor the work of all,” said Dooley, a member of the union bargaining committee. “This contract shows a path towards recognizing the truth that teachers and students are at the center of learning at Lesley University.”
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.
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.
– ### –
By Don Troop, The Chronicle of Higher Education — April 9, 2015.
A regional official of the National Labor Relations Board has approved potential union participation for 14 Lesley University instructors classified as “temporary” because they were hired to fill in for absent faculty members for substantial period of time.
In a decision issued Wednesday, Jonathan B. Kreisberg, director of the NLRB’s regional office in Boston, said he did not see any reason why such temporary faculty members should be precluded from joining about 180 other Lesley instructors classified as “core” faculty members in voting on whether to form a collective-bargaining unit affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.
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.”
After listening to testimony from Lesley University adjunct and core faculty members, the City Council went on record Monday urging Lesley to uphold progressive values in contract negotiations with the adjunct faculty and supporting the creation of a core faculty union.
Last year, adjunct professors stood before the City Council asking for support for the adjunct union drive at Lesley. Councilors unanimously supported all adjunct faculty members in Cambridge, but professors asked once again for the council’s support during tough contract negotiations.
According to Sarah Slavick, who has been a professor at Lesley for 15 years, adjunct faculty has been bargaining for a contract with the university since last summer, but the administration made an economic proposal on Friday that, she said, would continue to pay “poverty wages” for adjunct faculty.
“Their proposal would mean that an adjunct with a degree in her field, teaching five classes, nearly a full-time job, would still be earning under $20,000 a year in the year 2018,” Slavick said at a March 2 City Council meeting. “Obviously, this is unacceptable.”