FAQ

  • Why are we organizing?
    Contingent faculty across the country are coming together to address the crisis in higher education. At most colleges and universities, contingent faculty are a majority of all teaching faculty. Yet we face low levels of compensation, no benefits, lack of institutional support for research and scholarship, and exclusion from the governance of our institutions. At the same time, our institutions have shifted resources from instruction to administration, funded by quickly rising tuition, resulting in record levels of student debt.

    That’s why many instructors are working hard to build a market-wide movement to raise professional standards, for the good of faculty and students alike in the colleges and universities in which we teach.

    For more information regarding pay, benefits, professional development, and staffing trends across higher education click here.
  • Who is SEIU?
    The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is the leader in representation of contingent academic faculty and represents other academic institutions in California. Over 22,000 instructors across the county have decided to join together with SEIU. All adjunct faculty in the California State University system are members of SEIU, through its affiliate the California Faculty Association (CFA).
  • Who will be in charge of our union?
    We, the faculty embody and control every aspect of our union. As members of SEIU, we ARE our union and are committed to working with instructors across the nation to build a powerful organization, giving contingent faculty a real voice in higher education.
  • What will a union mean for me in real terms?
    Forming a union enables contingent faculty to negotiate collectively for better terms of employment, using democratic processes to ensure that the interests of all part time faculty are represented. A union contract will establish a floor for what constitutes fair treatment and compensation, not a ceiling. At present, there is a ceiling but no floor.
  • How much will dues cost? Will I have to pay dues even if I don’t have classes?
    No one will pay any union dues until we negotiate a contract establishing better terms of employment for contingent faculty and it is ratified by faculty through an election.

    Dues are 1.5% of our base pay and don’t include bonuses, differentials, or anything on top. There are no initiation fees. No part time faculty member will pay dues for periods of time that you are not receiving a paycheck from your school or university.
  • Am I allowed to voice my opinion on unionization?
    Yes. Federal law protects your right to organize for union representation. Under the National Labor Relations Act, you have the right to talk to your fellow faculty in the workplace about your views on unionization, organize with your colleagues to make your collective views known, attend meetings to discuss the benefits of union representation, and to distribute information to your coworkers about the union. It is against the law for an employer to threaten, coerce, or retaliate against you for exercising these legal rights in the workplace.

    You can find out more about your legally protected rights, and the National Labor Relations Act, at the National Labor Relations Board website here.
  • What can I do if I feel intimidated at work, or am retaliated against for voicing my opinion on union representation?
    It is your legally protected right to join together with your colleagues to organize for union representation. If you have been threatened or intimidated for exercising your rights in the workplace, please contact Raymond Meza at 323-369-3248 or the National Labor Relations Board, Region 21 at 213-894-5200.
  • Am I allowed to talk to union organizers during regular work hours?
    Yes, you are allowed to talk to union organizers during regular work hours to the same extent as you can talk to other non-university employees while at work.
  • Am I allowed to distribute literature or flyers to my colleagues during regular work hours?
    Yes, you are allowed to distribute literature to your fellow faculty during regular work hours to the same extent as you can distribute other information to colleagues during this time. However, distribution of literature should not interrupt instruction time.
  • Am I allowed to speak with union organizers on university property?
    Yes, you may speak to union organizers on university property. You may speak with an organizer in any area that is not specifically restricted to university personnel.
  • Can I send emails voicing my opinion on unionization to my colleagues using my university email account?
    Yes, you are allowed to send emails to your fellow faculty using your university email account just as you can send emails containing non-work information using your university email account. However, these emails should be sent during nonworking hours.
  • I signed a union card. What happens next?
    We will continue outreach to fellow faculty regarding issues in the workplace, and build a movement of instructors ready to address these problems head on. We know that the more faculty we talk to, the stronger our voice will be, and that together we can raise professional standards in the universities where we teach.

    Once we build a diverse network of faculty across campus, we’ll file for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. After we win the election, we’ll begin negotiating a contract establishing better terms of employment for all faculty.

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