SEIU Local 500 seeks to unionize adjuncts at Georgetown

SEIU localThis semester, Service Employees International Union commenced a unionization campaign with Georgetown’s adjunct professors. Last Friday, Provost Robert Groves sent an email to faculty at Georgetown acknowledging the possibility of unionized adjunct professors and encouraging faculty to report any safety concerns to the Department of Public Safety.

Like representatives of other outside organizations, representatives of SEIU Local 500 are allowed on our campus and in our buildings that are open to the public,” Provost Groves’s email read. “[H]owever we expect that representatives of SEIU Local 500 will respect the wishes of individual faculty members during their organizing campaign.”

Provost Groves also added that adjunct professors should be certain to research SEIU and be aware of their rights under federal labor law. He also cited the Just Employment Policy, which states that employees have the right to “freely associate and organize…which includes voting for or against union representation without intimidation, unjust pressure, undue delay or hindrance in accordance with applicable law.”

American University adjunct professors joined the SEIU Local 500 union in mid-February of this year. The issue remains divided amongst Georgetown professors at this point. Earlier this month, Senior Fellow at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute Pablo Eisenberg wrote an op-ed for the Huffington Post expressing his views on unionized adjuncts. “Fortunately, adjuncts are beginning to realize that, unless they organize with the help of sympathetic faculty and administrators, labor unions and professional associations, nothing will change,” Eisenberg wrote.

Full text of the email after the jump!

Dear Members of the Faculty:

A number of adjunct faculty have reported being approached over the past few weeks by people interested in organizing a union for adjunct faculty members at Georgetown. It is our understanding that SEIU Local 500, the union that represents adjunct faculty at George Washington University and American University, has started a campaign to organize adjunct faculty members here.

As you may be aware, we have two unions on campus already, representing groups of our employees in a number of Departments. The university has a long history of working productively with these unions. As stated in Georgetown’s Just Employment Policy, our University respects employees’ rights to freely associate and organize, which includes voting for or against union representation without intimidation, unjust pressure, undue delay or hindrance in accordance with applicable law.

Like representatives of other outside organizations, representatives of SEIU Local 500 are allowed on our campus and in our buildings that are open to the public, however we expect that representatives of SEIU Local 500 will respect the wishes of individual faculty members during their organizing campaign. If any member of our community has safety or security concerns, he or she should report them to the Department of Public Safety.

Georgetown encourages adjunct faculty members to gather information about SEIU Local 500 and the process by which a union can become the exclusive bargaining representative for a group of employees under federal labor law. Because this is a process that is governed by the principle of majority rule, we encourage all adjunct faculty members to educate themselves about the process and their rights under federal labor law.

The National Labor Relations Board is the federal agency that regulates the union representation process. Here is a link to a description of that process on the NLRB’s website: http://www.nlrb.gov/what-we-do/conduct-elections. And here is a link to other frequently asked questions on the NLRB’s website: http://www.nlrb.gov/faq/nlrb. If you have any other questions, you can contact the NLRB’s Washington resident office at 202-208-3000 and ask for the information officer on duty.

Should you have other questions about this process at Georgetown, please contact one of our offices.

Sincerely,

Robert Groves, Executive Vice President and Provost
Howard Federoff, Executive Vice President for Health Sciences and Executive Dean of the School of Medicine
William Treanor, Executive Vice President and Dean of Georgetown University Law Center

4 Comments on “SEIU Local 500 seeks to unionize adjuncts at Georgetown

  1. seriously? go away. tenure alone is bad enough.

  2. Adjuncts by definition aren’t eligible for tenure, Johnny Mac.

  3. Having been an adjunct in 2 other schools, I can attest to the need for representation. Actually GU pays better than other local schools. I suspect the working conditions are better than other schools, too; however, adjuncts are not “real” faculty members, are not normally part of faculty or governance decisions, and are subject the the kindness of strangers. You are a contract player, and sometimes those contracts come at the last minute. Again — Georgetown is a more caring environment than the state schools, but no one should have to live like Blanche DuBois. There is no tenure, often no benefits, and frequently only the “voice” the chair allows you to express.

  4. Pingback: Catholic Labor Network

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