In light of the effort by Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”) to organize part-time faculty at Northeastern, the university has created this website to provide information about SEIU and its organizing effort, the union organizing process, and collective bargaining. The issue of union representation is of critical importance to every faculty member, and to the university as a whole. Members of the Northeastern community should use this website as a resource to learn about the issues relevant to the question of union representation of part-time faculty. This site will be updated in the coming weeks with additional information, which will provide the best foundation for making this important decision.
Provost Stephen Director's Faculty Letter
August 22, 2013
Several of our part-time faculty members have recently informed the University that they have been approached or contacted by union organizers for the purpose of seeking to form a union at Northeastern University. They have told us of union organizers appearing uninvited at faculty member’s homes, approaching faculty members on campus in classroom areas, and sending mailings to faculty member's home addresses and emails to their personal email accounts. Some part-time faculty members have expressed concern about what they have described as intrusive behavior. I want to assure you that Northeastern University has not divulged your contact information to union organizers. Obviously, you have no obligation to speak with a union organizer or to respond to their contact efforts if you do not wish to do so.
We understand these recent efforts to contact our faculty are part of a larger effort, labeled “Adjunct Action,” to organize faculty members in Boston and the surrounding area. This organizing effort is being undertaken by the Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”), one of the largest labor unions in the country. According to its website, SEIU is focused on uniting workers in three sectors: healthcare, property services, and public services. At present, Adjunct Action/SEIU does not represent any faculty in Massachusetts.
Ultimately, the decision about whether to support SEIU or not is yours. We do want to emphasize that the issue of union representation is of critical importance to every faculty member, including you, as well as to the University as a whole. Therefore, we urge you not to remain uninvolved. However you may feel about this issue, please make your voice count.
We also recognize that many of you may not have direct experience with union organizing or union representation. As an educational institution, we strongly believe that fully educating yourself about SEIU, the organizing process and collective bargaining generally is the best foundation for making your decision. To that end, the University intends to share with you factual information about the University, the union’s organizing effort, union representation and the collective bargaining process. We hope that you will find this information helpful as you consider the union’s effort to organize part-time faculty at Northeastern University.
As we begin our discussions about SEIU's attempt to organize our part-time faculty, it is appropriate to acknowledge who we are as a community. Northeastern University is a unique institution, dedicated to serving our diverse student body through innovative educational approaches. All of our faculty – tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure track – play critical roles in Northeastern University’s success. Over the years, the faculty and the administration have fostered an extremely collaborative relationship built upon mutual respect and trust. We believe this dynamic, which rests upon direct communication, will most effectively allow Northeastern University, our faculty and our students to meet the challenges that lie ahead. We encourage all of our faculty members to work directly with the University on any issues or concerns they may have. We are concerned about the impact that ceding your rights to do so to an outside organization, which is unfamiliar with our culture, will have on our community. We hope this is something you will consider when reviewing the question of union representation. We fully recognize that there may be opposing viewpoints regarding the value of union representation for Northeastern University part-time faculty. We encourage everyone to fully consider all of the information that may be provided to you, and to respect differences of opinion on the important issue of union representation.
Finally, as part of their organizing efforts, SEIU, or a faculty member who supports SEIU, may ask you to sign a union authorization card. While it appears SEIU is focusing on part-time faculty, it is possible that people may ask full-time faculty to sign union authorization cards too. If you sign an authorization card, it indicates your support for SEIU representation. If SEIU attains a sufficient number of authorization cards, it will likely submit the cards to the National Labor Relations Board for the purpose of securing a government-administered union representation election. Again, we encourage you to educate yourself before taking any action with respect to SEIU’s organizing activity, including signing a union authorization card.
We look forward to communicating with you about this issue in greater detail. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. We will do our best to answer them.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Stephen W. Director
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Documents and Resources
- Northeastern University Faculty Profile Fact Sheet
- FAQs – What are the rules for Collective Bargaining?
- Statement about Bentley election
- FAQs – Collective Bargaining
- FAQs – More about Union Authorization Cards
- Tufts University Union Election Results
- American University/SEIU contract and FAQs
- George Washington University/SEIU contract and FAQs
- FAQs – Union Authorization Cards