Part-time professors at Pittsburgh's Point Park University have voted to join the Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers (AFA-USW). The votes were counted this morning by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The educators filed a petition with the NLRB in April and a mail ballot election was held for the 314 eligible instructors. The Point Park faculty are the second group of adjuncts to vote to join AFA-USW, after Duquesne University faculty voted for the union in the spring of 2012. The Point Park instructors cited similar issues as the Duquesne faculty, including stagnating wages, lack of benefits, little job security and inadequate office space and other tools to provide students with quality education.
USW President Leo W. Gerard called upon the college to engage the adjuncts fairly:
The adjunct instructors have spoken very clearly with this vote. Now it’s time for the Point Park administration to work with them to craft a fair collective bargaining agreement that provides the faculty with the benefits and basic protections that all workers deserve.
Sharon Brady, who has taught theater arts at Point Park for more than a decade, echoed Gerard:
I am looking forward to working with the administration, with the support of the USW, to enhance both the adjuncts’ experience and their effectiveness for the students they serve.
The University has expressed support for the adjunct faculty and suggested it intends to bargain with them, which is a sharp contrast from how Point Park has dealt with its full-time faculty union. In 2004, the full-time faculty voted to join Newspaper Guild-CWA’s Pittsburgh local but the college refused to recognize the vote or negotiate with the faculty and a case is still pending before the NLRB. The college claims that the full-time teachers are management and thus aren't eligible to be in a union.
Michael A. Fuoco, president of the Pittsburgh Guild, called on the University to finally negotiate with the full-time faculty:
The vote by adjuncts means that a majority of everyone who teaches at Point Park University has voted to be represented by a union. Since the university plans to acknowledge the adjunct union and to enter into collective bargaining, we call upon the university to do the same with its full-time faculty.
Tim Schick, the Guild’s administrative director and head of organizing concurred:
With the university’s entire faculty now unionized, it is time for the school’s administrators to uncover their ears and listen to the voices of its employees.