Contigent faculty move forward on unionization

L Co-Editor-in-Chief

ast fall, some of Goucher’s contin- gent faculty decided

to unionize. They did this inordertolegallynegoti- ate better pay, working con- ditionsandvotingrightsin faculty decisions. The union has still not yet been formed, but some faculty are still working towards doing so.

In December of 2014, thefacultyhadanelection to vote on whether or not to unionize. There was a tie, 33 for the union and 33 against. An additional 12 votes were challenged, three bytheunionandninebythe college. Most of the votes challenged by the college were from “visiting faculty.”

“Not a lot of people here atGoucherevenknowwhat that term means…because there are some people desig-

natedasvisitingfacultyand theystayforayearandthere aresomepeopledesignatedas visitingfacultyandtheystay for like eight years,” Maureen Winter ’13 said. Winter is an instructorintheFrenchde- partment,andafacultymem- berwhoopenlysupportsthe union. Eventually, the Col- legedecidedtonotchallenge Winter’s vote and one other vote that was also initially challenged, leaving seven votes challenged by the Col- lege.Bothofthesefacultyare Goucheralumnae,butit’sun- clear as to whether or not this is the reason why their votes were eventually counted.

“Since those challenges, the election has been just in limbo,andwecan’tmovefor- ward…because the Goucher administration challenged those votes,” Winter said. In January,arulingfromtheNa- tionalLaborRelationsBoard (NLRB) told Goucher they were not allowed to challenge

thosevotesbecausethefac- ultywhosevoteswerechal- lengedwerealreadyonan approvedlistbytheCollege as being eligible to vote. This decision also enabled the three voteschallengedbytheunion tobecounted,aswellasfive oftheremainingsevenvotes challenged by Goucher. In February,Goucherappealed that ruling from the NLRB.

“What the administra- tion has achieved in put- ting forth this appeal is to kindofjustbreakourspir- itsalittlebit,”saidWinter. “Now we have no idea, it’s been over six months, and it could be like a year; they did something that basi- cally guaranteed we would be frozen,” she explained.

“The college really has decided to let the NRLB decide the outcome of this, and we’ve received nothing backfromtheNRLByet,so we’re really waiting still for that decision,” said Provost

LeslieLewis.“Certainly,I’m concernedabouttheworking conditionsforallofthefac- ultyhere,includingadjunct, part time and full time fac- ulty, contingent faculty, and I wouldhavepreferredtowork directlywithfacultyonwhat- everissuestheyhave,butI certainly know the choice ofwhethertounionizeisup to them,” Lewis explained.

“We’ve decided to just move forward,” Winter said. She and a few other faculty members involved in the unionization process met with the union organizers a few weeks ago. Currently, they are working on a sur- vey to send to all faculty, not just contingent faculty, ask- ingwhattheyareandarenot happy with, what they want to negotiate in their contracts and for general feedback. Right now, the faculty who wanttounionizearefocused on getting organized and are not planning any actions.


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