After a mail-ballot vote, non-tenured teaching faculty at Vanderbilt University in Nashville voted on whether to become a part of SEIU Local 205. Votes were counted at the NLRB office on June 6 and there were challenged ballots on both sides. Final election results are still indeterminate, but the majority of faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences remained positive and expected their new union to be made official after all challenges to the vote have been resolved.
“With the vote count today, faculty from the Vanderbilt College of Arts & Sciences achieved a major milestone,” said Terrie Spetalnick, a Lecturer in Sociology. “After the challenges to our vote are resolved, we will celebrate and begin advocating for improvements for our students and our profession with a stronger voice.”
Until all challenges are settled, Vanderbilt faculty are determined to keep building their union, and will continue to organize to raise standards on campus.
“Over the past several months, many Vanderbilt non-tenure-eligible faculty members worked very hard to build a real voice for non-tenure-eligible faculty, and to join thousands of others around the country who are uniting in SEIU Faculty Forward,” said M.L. Sandoz, a Senior Lecturer in Communication Studies. “The results are not yet known, but that doesn’t change the course we are on. We’ll keep fighting and build our union. We’re resolved to change the status quo by working with other faculty to raise standards across the area and the nation.”
Faculty across Nashville and the nation are continuing to rally around the fast-growing union movement that is dramatically changing the higher education landscape. Faculty at 46 colleges and universities across the country have formed unions with SEIU in the last three years, including full and part-time contingent faculty at Northwestern University, Loyola University of Chicago, the University of Southern California, Saint Louis University and Boston University.