POUGHKEEPSIE, NY: Adjunct faculty at Marist College gathered in front of the campus’ main gate along with students, full-time faculty, and supportive union members to announce their effort to form a Union with Adjunct Action/ SEIU. Over 75 people attended.
Adjunct professors spoke about their working conditions and how they relate to student learning conditions. Adjunct faculty are contingent; they are hired semester to semester without any guarantee of being asked back for upcoming semesters. They often have no office space, forcing them to hold private meetings with students in public spaces and off campus. In addition, adjuncts are the lowest paid employees on campus, earning about $3000 per course on average.
Raphael Kosek, Adjunct Instructor of English at Marist College
“We adjuncts here at Marist seek the right to collectively organize for we believe unionization will help to improve the adjunct working conditions and student learning. We call upon the Marist administration to respect our fundamental right to organize, and to remain neutral throughout the process.”
Ron Harris, Adjunct Instructor of Mathematics at Marist College
“I support forming a union at Marist. It will be a plus for everyone. In particular, it will help the college retain experienced adjuncts. Adjunct issues have been ignored for too long. Forming a union will help us raise the quality of teaching for our students and benefit everyone in the Marist community.”
Jasmine Guerine, Marist College Senior majoring in Public Relations
“Some of the best professors I’ve had at this school have been adjuncts and you can see the toll it takes on student morale when there is no guarantee that their favorite professors will be back next semester. This isn’t because professors don’t want to stay; it is obvious from the bonds they form with students that they do. Here at Marist we lose amazing professors because they can’t afford to stay because they aren’t paid well. My reason for supporting adjuncts is that they work just as hard as full-time professors and deserve to be treated with the same respect. Adjunct or not, professors enrich the lives of students and should be properly compensated for their great service.”
Josh Robbins, Assistant Professor of Media Arts, Marist College and 2013 Marist College Teacher of the Year
“I think that adjuncts organizing in this way is a positive step toward them receiving the kind of respect and appreciation that they deserve for all that they do for the students here. I think it’s good for the institution and good for the community.”
Peter D.G. Brown, Distinguished Service Professor of German, Emeritus, SUNY New Paltz; United University Professions Chapter President; Member of the Board of Directors, New Faculty Majority
“I wish SEIU every success in organizing adjuncts at Marist College and other private institutions. I also hope that Marist agrees to remain neutral during this critical period. This is an important organizing effort that is long overdue. It’s shameful that Marist isn’t willing to pay its adjunct faculty a living wage, while its president is among the highest paid in the country, making millions of dollars a year.”
Gerard Lyons, Marist College maintenance worker; SEIU Local 200United Chairperson
“As a housekeeper and member of SEIU Local 200United, I know firsthand the strength of the union. Over the years, our representation in Local 200United has empowered us to raise standards at Marist. The adjuncts now wish to do the same and we stand in solidarity with their efforts to improve the standard of education at Marist.”
Jim Gescheidle, Executive Vice President, CWA Local 1120 (the Administrative Assistants Union at Marist College)
“CWA Local 1120 has represented the staff at Marist College for almost 30 years. Through CWA’s bargaining efforts, our members have been provided with good wages, healthcare coverage, a safe work environment and, most of all, respect from their employer. Marist College has had the benefit of having a skilled, professional, hard-working workforce. The students at Marist College also benefit from having our knowledgeable members assist them with their needs on a daily basis at Marist. I strongly urge Marist College to do the respectable thing and acknowledge the adjuncts’ wish to organize a Union without interference.”