Adjunct faculty at Washington University announce union election filing

National movement to raise standards in higher education takes strong root in St. Louis

Washington University
BROOKINGS HALL on the campus of Washington University

St. Louis – Adjunct and contingent faculty at Washington University have filed for a union election as part of a national movement to raise standards in higher education. Part-time instructors believe a union will give them a stronger voice for both faculty and the students they teach.

Forty-four percent of faculty in St. Louis area private, non-profit colleges and universities work part-time, and 73 percent of all faculty are not on the tenure track. While revenues and tuition have increased steadily over the last two decades, spending on instruction has declined – and it’s adjunct faculty and their deeply in debt students who are suffering as a result.


Rin Henderson, who teaches at Washington University, said, “I’m proud to have received my doctorate from Washington University, and I love teaching the students there. But like many in my position, I often feel insecure about the future and struggle to give my students the full attention they deserve.

“Filing for a union election is a crucial step toward giving teachers like me a voice in the conversations that determine not only our own security, but the amount of time and consideration we can devote to the students in our care.”


Scott Granneman, who teaches in the Communications Department at Washington University, said, “I support forming a union because it promotes fairness for everyone – workers and employers. It gives adjuncts a united voice, and it makes it easier for the administration to work together with adjuncts to create a better educational environment for everyone.”


Washington University contract faculty are following in the footsteps of non-tenure faculty at more than a dozen universities who have joined Adjunct Action in the past year, including Northeastern University and Tufts University in Boston, Howard University and Georgetown University in Washington, DC who have all voted for unionization in order to strengthen their voices and improve working conditions for part-time faculty.

Adjunct Action is a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and home to over 22,000 unionized college and university faculty who have won improvements in pay, job security, evaluation processes, and access to retirement benefits.

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