St. Louis Community College adjunct faculty overwhelmingly voted to have a voice on the job by joining the Service Employees International Union Local 1. The 574 eligible faculty members will join with thousands of other part-time, non-tenure track instructors and faculty members around the country who have voted to organize for a voice on the job.
“This vote gives part-time faculty at St. Louis Community College a voice with the administration that they did not previously have,” said Maryanne Angliongto, an adjunct professor at the STLCC Wildwood Campus. “It will allow those who do not get the chance to talk regularly with other instructors the opportunity to do so and to raise our concerns with the administration.”
Among the issues raised by these faculty members are the low wages, lack of benefits, and unpredictable scheduling.
SEIU Local 1 has been working with college and university professors throughout the Midwest to give them a voice on the job; address the low compensation for their work; and to ensure greater benefits and job security. Over the past year, adjunct professors at Washington University voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Local 1 and are currently bargaining their first contract, and others around the Midwest are also working to organize.
The approval at St. Louis Community College comes after adjuncts at Washington University also voted to join the SEIU but their counterparts at Webster University voted down a similar proposition.
The administration at the community college had not taken a stance on the union proposal one way or the other but had said it would work with adjuncts which ever way the vote went.
STUDENTS AREN’T SERVED
Maryanne Angliongto, who teaches astronomy one day a week at the St. Louis Community College’s Wildwood campus, said she feels the union will be a much more efficient and effective way for part-time instructors to get their needs taken care of. She also teaches full-time at Jefferson College.
Angliongto cited low pay and a lack of job security as two of the major issues involved.
“A lot of times,” she said, “we don’t know whether we’re going to be teaching a class or how much the pay is going to be. Sometimes, classes get dropped at the last minute, classes get added at the last minute, so you have to scramble around.”
In that situation, Angliongto added, students aren’t served as well as they could be or should be.
“Having lower wages and fewer benefits can be stressful and detracting from the mission of educating,” she said. “It’s a wonderful career, a wonderful job. We just have to make it a little more efficient.
“As part-time instructors, we love our students. We love to teach them as well as we can. Hopefully, with the union, we can get some of our professional and financial needs taken care of so we can do that to the best of our ability.”
(Some information for this story from St. Louis Public Radio)