Editor in Chief
The Service Employees International Union last week filed a lawsuit against the University of La Verne citing five unfair labor practice charges the suit claims are designed to thwart ULV adjunct faculty’s unionization efforts.
The University’s main campus adjunct faculty filed for unionization with the National Labor Relations Board on Oct. 28. The adjuncts have between Feb. 1 and Feb. 14 to vote on unionization, which supporters believe would improve job security and overall working conditions.
University officials, honoring a two-week quiet voting period including not speaking to media, did post the following response to the suit on their union resource website lavernelabordialog.org:
“The ULPs (unfair labor practice charges) are generic in nature and include no specific allegations. Throughout this campaign, the University has acted in accordance with state and federal labor laws.”
The website also contains fact sheets, an FAQ section and video testimonies from President Devorah Lieberman, Interim Provost Jonathan Reed and Chief Human Resources Office Jody Bomba, in which they all say “no” to unionization.
Additionally campaign buttons made by the administration, which say “Vote!” and “Vote no!” have also been circulating across campus in recent weeks leading up to the voting period.
“The administration, in their public statements and mailings, has tried to suggest that in a vote for a union that all of the good things that we have are going to be on the table or going to go away,” said John Norvell, adjunct professor of sociology and anthropology. “I don’t see any reason why that should be true.”
“The University has the right to have a stance on the unionization of adjuncts and as unfortunate as I think the stance is … we have to respect that,” said Fatima Suarez, adjunct professor of sociology. “But the University also has to respect that we as adjuncts also have our own stance or else we would have never filed for unionization.”
On Thursday, Nicky Schildkraut, adjunct writing professor, appeared on Al Jazeera’s “The Stream” through Skype and talked about her inspiration for #NotYourAdjunctSidekick, a Twitter hashtag she created to share her grievances as an adjunct. Within a few hours, the hashtag caught on, and thousands of adjuncts nationwide began to join in the conversation.
“I had no idea that it would take off so quickly and spread so vastly after the first few minutes that I fired off several tweets about the dismal state of adjuncts,” Schildkraut said on her blog.
“I don’t think the University ever expected the adjuncts to organize,” said Hector Delgado, professor of sociology. “They had ample opportunity to provide adjuncts with higher compensation, but they didn’t.”
The NLRB decided to limit the vote to adjuncts who taught on the main campus in 2013, despite administration presenting its position of inclusion of regional campuses on Nov. 14.
The vote is only applicable to the adjuncts on the main campus because they are the ones who filed for unionization, Suarez said.
“If adjuncts at the regional campuses want to form a union, we would gladly support them in their efforts to unionize,” she said.
Eligible voters have until Feb. 14 to send in their completed ballots to the NLRB and the votes will be counted by Feb. 18.
“Out of respect for this voting period, the University will not be issuing a statement at this time until after the final votes are in and counted,” University officials said on their website.
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