St. Martin’s University
Click here to watch the short video the St. Martin’s University faculty union made about the history of our union efforts.
Saint Martin’s Faculty & Student Walkout! On November 29th, faculty and students walked out of our classrooms to stand together for quality education for our students and a stronger voice for faculty. Read the walkout letter here and watch our WALKOUT VIDEO HERE!
Read past WA Faculty Forward Emails to SMU Faculty here
Check out the faculty Facebook here!
Students have created their own Facebook page in support of SMU faculty. Visit it here!
Thank you to everyone who turned out for our day-long walkout! We are the top story in Thursday’s Olympian. Read the article here!
Our day-long walkout was a resounding success. A majority of classes were canceled and classrooms around the campus were empty. Faculty and students participated in rallies, marches, panels, and off campus actions. We called on president Heynderickx to follow the labor laws of our country, follow the teachings of his church, uphold the Benedictine values his school preaches, and come bargain with our union in good faith.
The most moving part of the day’s action was the lunch panel of women faculty who each gave emotional personal testimony of the ways they’ve been disrespected, ignored, and unprofessionally treated on campus. The crowded lecture hall went between tears and standing ovations for their courage to speak out. Several faculty and students shared afterward that it was the most powerful moment that they have ever experienced in their years at Saint Martin’s.
In the afternoon, after an off-campus march, delegations of faculty and students traveling in vans visited the workplaces of over a dozen members of the Board of Trustees and delivered letters calling on them to adhere to the law, recognize our union, and come to the bargaining table. We followed up the visits with phone calls to their businesses asking them to use their influence to bring President Heynderickx to the bargaining table with faculty.
Karen Hart, the president of SEIU Local 925 and Heather Conroy, the Executive Vice President for SEIU, both came to speak at our morning rally and gave us encouragement from the National Day of Labor Action events for adjuncts in higher education happening all over the country. Members of 1199NW and the United Faculty of Evergreen State College, who know the benefits that a union can bring to both employees and the institution they serve, also turned out in solidarity.
UPDATE: 10-13-2016 Faculty Senate Resolution + Video from Faculty Organizing Committee Member
Last week, the Saint Martin’s University Faculty Senate passed a resolution requesting that the administration begin bargaining with the contingent faculty union. This is an important demonstration from regular faculty of our support for our contingent faculty colleagues.
We believe that our administration is bound, both by the law and by Catholic values, to enter into bargaining in good faith with the certified contingent faculty bargaining unit. However, our administration has refused the union’s requests to bargain, citing a pending appeal, and the union has since filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB.
By their own account, the administration has already spent around $50,000 of university funds to oppose the faculty union. They are prepared to spend much more. This spending is a blatant misuse of precious resources that would be better spent in the classroom, serving our University’s core mission of high quality education. We urge the Saint Martin’s administration to end this wasteful spending and respect the decision of our contingent faculty colleagues by agreeing to bargain in good faith.
In the coming weeks, regular faculty will be demonstrating our support for our contingent colleagues while continuing to fight for an agreement with the administration to hold a union election for ourselves. If you haven’t already, please sign this petition to show your support for our unions. Together, we can show the administration that we’re serious about wanting to make improvements to Saint Martin’s, and that we will not back down.
Please take a moment to watch and share this short video of Professor and Faculty Senator, David Hlavsa, talking about why he supports the faculty union.
It is our pleasure to announce that after months of organizing we have voted YES to form a union of contingent faculty at St. Martin’s University! An overwhelming majority voted yes, with 63 yes votes (65% of votes cast and a majority of all eligible votes)!
This is an exciting moment as we join the movement of contingent faculty across the country who are collectively making improvements on their campuses. We look forward to working together to ensure that our new union is strong, and that all of our voices are heard. We hope that the St. Martin’s administration will respect the results of our vote and commit to sit down with us quickly to bargain our first contract.
The Catholic Church has long recognized union organizing as one of the essential means for the promotion of social justice. Beginning in Rerum Novarum, the Church has consistently supported efforts of workers to join together to defend their rights and protect their dignity. Pope Leo XIII taught that the right of workers to choose to join a union was based on a natural right and that it was the government’s obligation to protect that right rather than undermine it (Rerum Novarum, no. 51). This teaching has been affirmed consistently by his successors. In this tradition, we have begun discussions with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an organization with a long and impressive track record of helping faculty come together to improve working conditions and to restore the central importance of teaching and teachers to our academic institutions.
We have been impressed by the gains made by faculty at other private universities, including other Catholic Universities such as Georgetown and Loyola Chicago, through unionization. Forming a union with SEIU has resulted in a number of benefits for faculty: pay increases, improved job security, better processes for teaching assignments, fair and transparent evaluations, and access to more benefits. Above all, forming a union is a means to ensure that the faculty voice is heard and that faculty truly share in the kind of policy decisions that directly affect campus culture, scholarship and the quality of instruction.
The problems we face at Saint Martin’s are not uncommon, but they are made uncommonly acute by management’s consistent efforts to grow the institution while ignoring or deferring the needs of the people who work here. Nationally, faculty wages have stagnated since the mid-2000s, but at Saint Martin’s the picture is unusually bleak. Compared to wages at other small private institutions, faculty salaries at Saint Martin’s are, and have been for many years, consistently at the bottom of the scale. Full professors make only an average of $65,034 annually in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. A typical full-time contingent professor earns only $34,389 or 53% of what a full professor makes, despite having a full-time teaching load. Part-time contingent professors, who constitute the majority of the faculty body at 63%, are paid unconscionably low wages and are marginalized from the larger academic community they serve.
Our students cannot be unaware of this situation. Is this really the message we want to send them about the value of work and service?
Compared with other private, four-year, nonprofit institutions, Saint Martin’s has the second lowest spending (35% of overall expenditures) on instruction in the state. Instead of investing in instruction, budgetary decisions are continually made without faculty input and transparency. Despite a revenue of $35.5 million in fiscal year 2014-15 and a $17.3 million dollar endowment, faculty and students live in an environment of austerity and are continually asked to do more with less. Meanwhile, the compensation of the university president and other senior administrators continue to increase.
Again, we ask: how do you suppose our students feel about this?
For many years, faculty have put their best efforts into committee service and other forms of participation in shared governance, only to have our recommendations ignored or dismissed out of hand and our complaints answered with vague promises of future improvements.
We are not abandoning dialogue with the administration, nor are we looking to bring in some anonymous “third party” to fight our battles for us. Forming a union simply means coming together as a faculty to negotiate the terms of our employment at this university. We believe that collective bargaining is an important next step in the evolution of shared governance at Saint Martin’s, a way to stand up for what we’re worth, demand inclusion in policy-making process, and claim a voice for quality education. We see organizing a union as the best way to ensure that the management of this university will collaborate with us in finding ways to grow the institution sustainably. Together, we can make Saint Martin’s a better place to work and a stronger academic institution.
We are supported in our efforts by Saint Martin’s Mission Statement and our Benedictine tradition. We must model that tradition by ensuring that all faculty – contingent and tenure-track, full-time and part-time – are treated with dignity and fairness, and we believe that unionization allows us to be visible models of Saint Martin’s core values for our students.
This semester you may be approached by a colleague or an SEIU organizer. We invite you to join our movement to reform higher education nationally and re-establish the centrality of teaching at our institutions. You can sign on to the movement by submitting an authorization card at (http://925.seiu.org/page/s/saintmartinsunionform).
Serin Anderson, Electronic Services Librarian, Library
Olivia Archibald, Professor, English
Brian Barnes, Associate Professor, History
Todd Barosky, Assistant Professor, English
Maile Bay, Adjunct Professor, College of Education & Counseling Psychology
Barlow Buescher, Lecturer, Sociology
Katie Bugyis, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
Michael Butler, Associate Professor, Psychology
Rex Casillas, Associate Professor, History
Ernesto Chavez, Instructor, Criminal Justice
Julia Chavez, Assistant Professor, English
George Christoph, Contingent Professor, Mathematics
Sonia De La Cruz, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
Godfrey Ellis, Professor, Counseling Psychology
Diana Falco, Associate Professor, Criminal Justice
Peter Fox, Instructor, Mathematics
Aaron Goings, Assistant Professor, History
Heather Grob, Associate Professor, School of Business
Teri Herold-Prayer, Adjunct Professor, Criminal Justice
Belinda Hill, Doctor, College of Education and Counseling Psychology
David Hlavsa, Professor, Theatre
Parakh Hoon, Visiting Assistant Professor, Political Science
Barbara Hoonan, Contingent Faculty, College of Education and Counseling Psychology
Jerome Huff, Instructor, Music
William Jackson, Instructor, History
Jennifer Jamison, Senior Lecturer, Psychology
Isaac Jung, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Susan Kentfield, Contingent Faculty, College of Education and Counseling Psychology
Victor Kogan, Professor, Society and Social Justice
Philip Lawson, Adjunct Professor, Music
J.J. Lee, Adjunct Professor, Civil Engineering
Pat Lisokie, Adjunct Faculty, College of Education
Dintie Mahamah, Professor, Civil Engineering
Joseph Mailhot, Associate Professor, Mathematics
Gail Martin, Contingent Faculty, College of Education
Jael Marx, Adjunct Professor, Criminal Justice
Debby McDonald, Adjunct Faculty, College of Education
Julie McInnes, Adjunct Professor, Counseling Psychology
Kathleen McKain, Associate Professor, French
Kael Moffat, Information Literacy Librarian, O’Grady Library
Harold Nelson, Adjunct Professor, Computer Science and School of Business
Shawn Newman, Instructor, School of Business
Jeremy Newton, Associate Professor, Psychology
Leticia Nieto, Professor, Psychology
William Scott Norris, Senior Lecturer, School of Business
Jamie Olson, Associate Professor, English
Rico Picone, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Dawn Plourde, Senior Lecturer, JBLM
David Price, Professor, Anthropology
Eileen Reilich, Associate Professor, College of Education and Counseling Psychology
Sonalini Sapra, Associate Professor, Political Science
Bradley Schrandt, Instructor, Music
Chun Seong, Professor, Civil Engineering
Ekaterina Shkurkin, Professor, Social Work
Kyle Smith, Instructor, Mathematics
Roger Snider, Professor Emeritus, Political Science
David Snodgrass, Percussion Instructor, Music
Blaine Snow, Instructor, ESL
Sonalini Sapra, Associate Professor, Political Science
Zoe Waggoner, Contingent Faculty , Master’s in Counseling Program
Ian Werrett, Associate Professor, Religious Studies
Joyce Westgard, Professor, College of Education & Counseling Psychology
Dan Windisch, Professor, Education
Kathy Williams, Contingent Faculty, College of Education
Teresa Winstead, Assistant Professor, Society and Social Justice
Peggy Zorn, Associate Professor, College of Education & Counseling Psychology