February 2011 Issue
February 08, 2011

Adjuncts press for NYSUT membership

Author: Bernie Mulligan
Source: NYSUT United

Adjuncts in two New York City area colleges — Manhattan and Manhattanville — are standing together to win a stronger voice on the job by joining NYSUT.

"Too often, despite their academic credentials and long relationship with their colleges, adjuncts don't receive the respect they deserve," said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi. "By forming a union, they will have a stronger voice in the workplace and greater control over their working conditions."

Bronx-based Manhattan College has tried to derail the organizing effort by claiming its history as a Christian Brothers religious institution should exempt it from union organizing.

But the National Labor Relations Board recently affirmed the adjuncts' right to organize because the college, despite its claims, is not a "religious educational environment."

The NLRB has said it will hold an election for adjunct faculty by mid-February, though the college likely will appeal.

NYSUT has asked the school administration to stop spending thousands of dollars on legal roadblocks and let the adjuncts vote on having a voice on the job.

Efforts by adjuncts at Manhattanville College in Westchester County to join NYSUT are on a strong path as well. As NYSUT United went to press, the NLRB was scheduled to mail ballots to all eligible adjunct voters, with votes to be counted Feb. 23.

Adjuncts are looking for improved wages, access to affordable benefits, pay for office hours, a better and fairer system of assigning courses and a strong grievance procedure.

In the past decade, nearly 10,000 adjuncts at private colleges and universities in New York have formed NYSUT-affiliated unions.