Issued January 27, 2016
Chicago - Non-tenure-track faculty at Loyola University Chicago have voted to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, becoming the third Chicago group of contingent faculty to unionize with SEIU in the last two months.
Ballots for the group of 326 full-time and part-time faculty within the College of Arts and Sciences were counted this morning at the National Labor Relations Board. The 63% yes vote shows that contingent faculty at Loyola University Chicago want to have one strong, collective voice on important issues impacting their lives and the lives of their students.
“Our victory today represents a win for our students, faculty and the entire Loyola University community. Now all faculty will have a say in our working conditions and I’m encouraged but the gains at other schools across the country,” said Alyson Paige Warren, a writing and literature instructor at Loyola University Chicago. “Having a union will not only empower us, but our tenure-track colleagues, our students and the university as a whole.”
Today’s win is the third union victory for contingent faculty since early December. On Dec. 9, non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Chicago voted to form their union, with a smaller group of post-doctoral fellows following in the days after. Together, instructors at Loyola and University of Chicago are part of the growing Faculty Forward movement, a nationwide campaign of faculty who are taking on a crisis in higher education that has turned what was once a good middle-class profession into a job without stability or a sufficient voice in workplace decisions.
Loyola University Chicago is one of 28 Jesuit institutions across the United States. While Jesuit institutions strive to promote social justice, the everyday reality is that many Jesuit colleges and universities have moved toward a more corporate model in higher education that has lead to a dramatic shift away from investment in educators and affordable, accessible college education.
The Faculty Forward Network recently released a survey that showed, among other findings, that 91 percent of faculty respondents at Jesuit schools believe that higher education is not going in the right direction. Just 18 percent of Jesuit faculty respondents report that their institution provides an opportunity for all faculty to have a voice in the decisions made at the institution.
“We always knew we weren’t just fighting for ourselves. We fought for our students’ education and the future of higher education in this country,” said Matt Williams, a full-time instructor of International Studies and Sociology at Loyola. “We hope our win today will encourage other faculty in Chicago and other Jesuit schools to work together and take our movement to new heights.”
To celebrate the victory, the newly-unionized faculty will join with other faculty, students, and members of the community at a rally at 3 p.m.today in front of the Madonna Della Strada Chapel, 1032 W. Sheridan Road, on Loyola’s Lakeshore campus.
Faculty Forward is a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), home to nearly 40,000 unionized college and university faculty who have won improvements in pay, job security, evaluation processes, and access to benefits.