Adjunct Faculty in Vermont Meet About Union

By Amy Ash Nixon, Vermont Digger

February 24, 2015

Editor’s Note: While the first sentence mentions that adjunct faculty from all three Burlington colleges have met with their administrations, that’s inaccurate. Adjuncts at Burlington College will sit down with their administration for the first time in the next few weeks.

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Adjunct faculty from Burlington, Champlain and St. Michael’s Colleges met this week with the colleges’ administrations, according to a news release issued in recent days by the adjunct coalition.

The meeting was the first step in the bargaining process in which adjunct faculty at Champlain, St. Michael’s and Burlington Colleges seek to secure contracts ensuring fair working conditions, the announcement stated.

“After an overwhelming victory in our union election, more than 200 Champlain College adjuncts are poised to win a contract which properly values adjunct faculty’s large contribution to higher education,” said Cindy Hill, Champlain College adjunct faculty, in the news release.

Pat La Rose, St. Michael’s College adjunct faculty, said, “St. Michael’s has a reputation for advocating for peace and justice, and I’m excited and confident for them to have an opportunity to extend that to the adjuncts who work so hard to make St. Michael’s the school that it is.”

“I hope to get a better sense of stability and support in my working environment and a feeling that the school truly acknowledges my role as a professional in a field I have devoted much of my life to — a field in which I have much training, experience, and passion,” added Rebecca Weisman, Burlington College adjunct faculty.

Adjunct faculty comprise 76 percent of all faculty nationwide, and work under single semester contracts, not knowing whether they will teach in subsequent semesters, and receive no benefits, according to the statement issued on behalf of the three colleges’ adjuncts this week.

Adjunct faculty pay at the three schools ranges from $3,000-$3,500 per three-credit course, or approximately $18,000-$21,000 per year if an adjunct is given a full course load, the announcement went on.

Adjunct faculty at St. Michael’s and Burlington College voted alongside Champlain to unionize with Adjunct Action/SEIU, the fastest growing adjunct union in the country and home to over 23,000 adjunct faculty nationwide.

The adjunct faculty will be holding initial meetings with their respective administrations in the coming weeks, according to the announcement.

“Adjuncts are united and enthusiastic to move forward with negotiations which will enshrine dignity and respect in a first of its kind contract,” said Champlain adjunct faculty member Ed Spaulding. “We’re excited to have a say in our teaching conditions for the first time through collective bargaining.”

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