A little forethought helps colleges and universities prepare for adjunct organizing efforts before unions come knocking. These efforts are gaining momentum across the nation; part-time faculty members at Washington University in St. Louis voted to unionize on Monday, joining thousands at schools previously concentrated on the coasts. Often spurred by the Service Employees International Union’s Adjunct Action campaign, adjuncts seek to improve pay and working conditions.
While a few schools have defeated union votes, any school attempting to do so must take heed of regulations about interfering with union activity. Consider your position on unionization, determine how you can work with adjuncts, develop communication plans, and educate relevant employees on appropriate guidelines. With a plan already in place, your institution will be poised to navigate the adjunct union organizing process in a manner that, at least, minimizes negative disruption and, at best, strengthens your institution.