In a landmark development, non-tenure-eligible faculty who teach at Vanderbilt University filed a petition Thursday with the National Labor Relations Board for a union election to join SEIU Local 205 as part of a national campaign to raise standards in higher education.
Vanderbilt faculty are continuing to build support while taking an important step toward a vote to join more than 15,000 faculty from dozens of other colleges and universities who have joined together at their workplace SEIU in just the past three years, including Duke University and the University of Chicago.
“I believe forming a union is the only way to guarantee fairness and transparency for the ever-growing number of non-tenure eligible faculty at Vanderbilt,” said Amy Cooter, a senior lecturer. “By coming together, we can have a voice on issues that affect us all.”
Many of the Vanderbilt University faculty are off the tenure track. This trend reflects a national crisis in higher education that has led to broad concern over issues like the marginalization of teaching, academic isolation and job stability that affects students.
Today’s filing comes at a moment when people across the country – fed up with a system that’s rigged against them – are speaking out for good jobs, the opportunity for a better life for their families, and a real voice in our economy and democracy. Uniting in a strong worker organization like SEIU Local 205 is a way for Vandy’s non-tenure-track faculty to stand up and speak up for the real change they want and need.
Together, faculty from coast to coast are building support to form their union with SEIU, and creating a movement to address the crisis in higher education and the declining standards that endanger the profession.
Already, leaders in the community are stepping forward to stand in solidarity with Vandy faculty in their effort to form a union, including Nashville’s vice mayor David Briley and the American Federation of Musicians.