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Northeastern University addresses faculty about unionizing efforts

Posted by Your Town  August 21, 2013 04:39 PM

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Northeastern University sent a letter to its faculty members today, announcing that an outside organization is attempting to unionize part-time faculty members.

The internal letter, written by Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said that the Service Employees International Union has contacted several part-time faculty members about forming a union.

The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, is an organization that has unionized more than 15,000 adjunct professors from across the country. The SEIU is now working with adjuncts from several Boston-area schools to advocate for better wages and working conditions.

An SEIU spokesperson could not be reached today for comment.

Bentley University adjuncts will vote in late September on whether to unionize with the SEIU. Tufts adjuncts are also scheduled vote sometime next month.

Director asked the faculty to educate themselves about SEIU, the organizing process, and collective bargaining before making a decision on whether to unionize.

“We do want to emphasize that the issue of union representation is of critical importance to every faculty member, including you, as well as to the University as a whole,” he wrote. “Therefore, we urge you not to remain uninvolved. However you may feel about this issue, please make your voice count.”

Director said all faculty members are crucial to the school’s success, and that the university is "concerned about the impact that ceding your rights to do so to an outside organization, which is unfamiliar with our culture, will have on our community.”

“Over the years, the faculty and the administration have fostered an extremely collaborative relationship built upon mutual respect and trust,” he wrote. “We believe this dynamic, which rests upon direct communication, will most effectively allow Northeastern University, our faculty and our students to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

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