Seattle University Faculty Union News
On November 29th, we gathered to reaffirm our commitment to SU’s social justice mission, and to support our contingent faculty union. For those who missed the action, SU students, faculty, staff, and alumni held a symbolic “funeral” for the SU social justice mission, and we delivered a decorated coffin to President Sundborg’s office. Although Seattle University claims to be upholding its mission, we wanted to drive home the message that until the university is willing to act in accordance with social justice principles in all areas of its work – including how it treats the contingent faculty who form the majority of the teaching staff – it cannot truly claim to be fulfilling its social justice mission.
Students and faculty also highlighted many clear statements from Catholic leaders about the positive influence of unions, and employers’ obligation to respect workers’ rights to collective bargaining and collective action. By actively fighting against our contingent faculty union, Seattle University directly refutes these teachings, and undermines the school’s own mission statement.
In the face of the SU administration’s unrelenting obstruction and anti-union legal maneuvers, we continue to urge the administration to recognize our union. SU’s administration still refuses to bargain with our union, certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on September 12, 2016, and threatens to take their anti-union fight all the way to the Supreme Court in order to avoid meeting their legal obligation to bargain with us.
We will continue to fight, and to urge the SU administration to meet its legal obligation to bargain with us. We hope they will reconsider their risky and expensive decision to use legal strategies and delay tactics to try to bust our union, and finally sit down and bargain in good faith. We are ready to talk any day they choose to come to their senses.
Check out The Spectators coverage here!
Support our Classrooms, Not Courtroom Fights
We are writing each of the Seattle University Board of Trustees and Board of Regents members, asking them to recognize the newly certified contingent faculty union with SEIU Local 925. Their three-year fight against the union demonstrates the university’s dedication to a costly, irresponsible anti-union campaign that comes at the expense of teaching and instruction.
The true costs of unsuccessful legal appeals and anti-union consultants are most significantly felt by faculty and students in our classrooms. Every dollar spent obstructing faculty union rights is a dollar that should have gone directly to our classrooms. The administration’s continued obstruction of faculty unionization reveals a dedication to financial irresponsibility rather than student learning. It is the duty of the Board of Trustees/Regents, to preserve the university’s academic, financial, and moral health by directing the administration to recognize the contingent faculty union.
It is our pleasure to announce that after years of organizing, we have voted YES to form a union at Seattle University!
The administration entered the vote count hoping to stop us from winning by challenging 15 ballots, claiming that faculty who taught courses including “Postcolonial Literature,” “Ecopsychology” and “Ethical Reasoning in Business” were teaching courses of such a religious character that the faculty who taught them needed to be excluded. Despite those ballots being challenged, we still won with the final count being 73 Yes to 63 no.
This is a major victory after a long, hard battle. Looking forward, we will continue to organizing together to ensure that our new union is strong and that all of our voices are heard. We also hope that the SU administration will respect the results of our vote and commit to sit down with us in bargaining our first contract.
Read all the news coverage on Seattle University union election vote count and victory here!
On August 23, 2016 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision denying most of the Seattle University administration’s claim of religious exemption from the NLRB. After over two years of waiting, the Regional Office of the NLRB will soon set a date to count our votes!
While the decision upheld the right of SU adjunct faculty to form a union, unfortunately, not all faculty who voted will be eligible to be part of the union. The NLRB ruled that faculty in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and in the School of Theology and Ministry are excluded because they perform “a specific role in maintaining the university’s religious educational environment.” While we believe that our peers in those departments belong in the union, we are also elated that this NRLB ruling also means that the NLRB will finally open up our ballots and count our votes!
Seattle University faculty began organizing our union in 2013 in order to win fair pay, better job security, and a stronger voice on campus. Since we voted for our union in May 2014, we have persevered through four appeals made by the administration. We have walked out of our classrooms, occupied buildings, fasted for justice, and some of us have even committed civil disobedience, all on our quest to gain union recognition. While our road to unionization may not have been as rapid as we had hoped, we have inspired many other private and religious institutions to follow our lead. Nationally, our peers have admired our courage to take action as we have fought for our right to have a union.
If you would like to read more about today’s decision, you can read the ruling here: https://www.nlrb.gov/cases-decisions/board-decisions
February 25, 2016: Exactly one year ago today, hundreds of Seattle University faculty and students walked out of their classrooms as a part of National Adjunct Walkout Day (NAWD). Last year’s walkout came after a years of organizing attempts to improve working conditions and student learning conditions through department structures, faculty governance, forums, petitions, and protests. We even formed a union. On February 25,2015, we showed the Seattle University administration that even with opposition, we will not give up and will continue to fight for quality education and for a stronger faculty voice.
As many of you know, the SU administration has filed multiple appeals delaying us from counting our union votes. Even though we are waiting for a final ruling from the NLRB, we can continue to organize and win improvements here at SU.
Faculty interested in getting involved in organizing efforts click here!
Students and allies interested in supporting faculty and keeping SU on the right side of social justice click here!
Join WA Faculty Forward here!
Read all the news and updates about our campaign. See below for highlights.
August 24, 2015: NLRB ORDERS VOTES TO BE COUNTED – ONCE AGAIN!
June 4, 2014: Seattle University Contingent Faculty Declare Victory In Union Vote
Despite continued obstructions from Seattle University administration, SU contingent faculty have declared victory in their union campaign to join thousands of non-tenure track faculty nationwide in a rapidly growing movement.
“We are encouraged by the strong support and the great turnout among adjunct and contingent faculty, and we are very confident that we won the vote,” said SU contingent faculty member Louisa Edgerly.
Voting ended on June 2, and ballots have been impounded pending a decision on SU administration’s appeal to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C. SEIU Local 925, the contingent faculty union, will file a special appeal to the NLRB for the ballots to be counted.