Part-time faculty at Boston University to hold unionization vote

Part-time professors at Boston University announced Wednesday that they have filed paperwork to hold a vote on whether to unionize, according to officials leading the effort.

Organizers of the effort expect about 800 adjuncts at BU will be eligible to participate in the vote, which will be held on a date set by the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that oversees unionization votes.

“Through our union, we are asking Boston University to support all its teachers and invest in the classroom experience,” Dan Hunter, a BU adjunct who teaches playwriting, politics, and public policy, said in a statement.


“We are critical to the success that BU has attained, yet adjuncts have no voice in the future of the university, low pay, no job security, and no benefits.”

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Colleges have increasingly relied on adjunct faculty, who are paid less and are willing to work more flexible schedules. In an effort to improve their pay, benefits, job security, and other work conditions, adjunct faculty at colleges across the country have taken steps to unionize recently.

Locally, part-time teachers at Tufts, Northeastern, and Lesley universities have voted to unionize in recent months, and Tufts adjuncts several days ago became the first ones of that group to settle on a contract, which included increased pay and job security.

A vote to unionize adjuncts at Bentley University fell two votes short, but a group of part-time professors there is planning to arrange for another vote in the coming months.

Campaigns to unionize are also underway at Simmons College and other area campuses.


Officials with the Service Employees International Union, which has helped organize adjuncts locally, said that 41 percent of BU faculty are part-timers.

Among local schools, BU adjuncts are the second-largest group, behind Northeastern’s 960 part-time faculty, to consider unionizing.

The BU administration has been criticized by some lawmakers who thought the website that BU recently launched was too negative about unionizing.

The university announced plans Monday to make more part-time employees, including faculty, eligible for health benefits.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau
. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele.