On the very first day of contract negotiations at the College of Saint Rose, visiting faculty members joined their adjunct faculty colleagues at the bargaining table to request voluntary recognition of their union. After weeks of organizing and conversations across campus, a majority of the nearly 20 visiting, non-tenure track faculty signed union authorization cards to join SEIU Local 200United. They urged the Saint Rose administration to agree a neutral third-party process to verify their majority and immediately begin bargaining improvements in their pay, benefits, and working conditions. Below is a short statement they read at the bargaining table.
Dear Saint Rose Community,
Teaching can be the most rewarding job there is. Working with dedicated colleagues and a strongly engaged student body is a gratifying experience that reaches far beyond the conclusion of each course that we teach. Many of us are grateful for the support we receive from our colleagues and within our departments.
However, full-time non-tenure track faculty at The College of Saint Rose currently have no representation for expressing our concerns regarding working conditions or the terms of our employment at the college. This fact was underscored at the first faculty meeting of the fall semester, which began with a question about whether or not visiting faculty were even allowed to attend. Although the faculty voted in the affirmative, the need for the vote itself was telling.
The work we do as full-time, non-tenure track faculty is critical to fulfilling the mission of Saint Rose. We work hard, and we pour ourselves fully into being the best instructors possible for our students. For these reasons, a majority of us signed union authorization cards to unite with our adjunct faculty colleagues.
By standing together with a union, we will be able to negotiate with the administration to improve compensation, benefits, and working conditions. Where our standards are high and protocols are sound, we will maintain a high bar by protecting these policies from unilateral or arbitrary change. Elsewhere, we will advocate for the implementation of better standards and practices.
We join thousands of faculty cross the country – including 4,000 non-tenure track faculty across New York State – who have organized unions and won stronger contracts with the Service Employees International Union. By forming a union, we assert our right to bargain collectively, as non-tenure track faculty have at Siena College, Ithaca College, Wells College, Fordham University, and elsewhere across the country.
A union will allow us to have the power to negotiate as equals, but it will not solve every issue that we face. We are buoyed by our colleagues at institutions across the city, state, and country that have recently asserted their own power via collective bargaining, and we can see the meaningful gains that they’ve made.
We hope the administration will respect our choice and not interfere with our right to unionize. We urge them to recognize our choice to stand with our adjunct colleagues and bargain with us.
Your Fellow College of Saint Rose Visiting Faculty Colleagues