According to Adjunct Action -- a project of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) -- Northeastern University in Boston has retained Jackson Lewis, a New York-based law firm that the AFL-CIO calls "the number one union-buster in America," used by major corporations to defeat employee organizing efforts, the Alter Net website reports today (September 6, 2013).
Adjunct Action has been successful in its efforts to unionize non-tenure-track faculty at several colleges in Greater Boston during the past several months. Adjuncts at Northeastern -- which offers more part-time academic programs than any other university in New England -- have formed an organizing committee with the goal of unionizing.
Last week, part-time employees at Northeastern received a memorandum from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Stephen Director. The memo states, in part, "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."
"The letter doesn't resonate with my experience working at Northeastern," says Abigail Machson-Carter, an adjunct professor who teaches writing to international students in the University's Global Pathways department, and is a supporter of the union effort. She adds, "There isn't much direct communication between administrators and part-time workers. They offer us a contract, and we can either sign it or not."