An official of the National Labor Relations Board has ordered a new election on a bid by adjuncts at Marist College to unionize. The NLRB official found that the college had engaged in inappropriate activities just prior to the vote, and that these activities raised questions about the fairness of the election, in which a majority of adjuncts rejected unionization. A spokesman for the college said via email that Marist "strongly disagrees" with the decision, and that the college is working to make sure all part-timers can vote. He said that the union was trying to "gerrymander" the election.
Clifford Garner, an English professor who heads the faculty union at Rockland Community College, in New York, was arrested Tuesday and charged with stealing $200,000 from the union and overbilling the college by $3,000, The Journal News reported. Garner is being held in jail.
Steve Salaita has sued the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which famously rescinded his job offer, but the suit isn't directly over that decision. The Chicago Tribune reported. Rather, Salaita is suing over documents his lawyers sought through open records requests. The university rejected parts of those requests and the suit charges that action was illegal.
Service Employees International Union’s Adjunct Action campaign, a national adjunct organizing effort, released this week a new report on academic labor. "Crisis at the Boiling Point" is based on input from part-time faculty members at 238 colleges and universities, plus 40 in-depth interviews with adjuncts. Some 16 percent of respondents are paid less than minimum wage, based on the number of hours they actually work, while many more make less than $15 per hour. Some 40 percent of respondents said they work 40 hours per week or more, despite being considered part-time employees. About 18 percent said they’d received a paycheck late within the last year.
The report, which was presented to Department of Labor officials this weekend at an SEIU meeting in Boston, also makes a series of recommendations, including the broadening of federal and state labor protections for contingent faculty. The report also calls for more institutional “transparency” regarding how much of the budget is spent on instruction. Adjunct Action says that adjuncts can use the Office Hours tool on its website to determine how many hours they work, in order to apply for federal benefits, such as loan forgiveness for educators, which they’ve historically been denied.
In today's Academic Minute, Shikha Sharma, assistant professor of geology and director of the West Virginia University Stable Isotope Laboratory, explains her work to develop a clean source of energy. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.