Non-tenure-track faculty members at Antioch University’s Seattle campus voted overwhelmingly in favor of forming a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, they announced Wednesday. The news came on the heels of decisive defeat of a proposed SEIU union at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis earlier this week. The official count at Antioch was 84 adjuncts in favor and 14 opposed.
Antioch is the third university to hold SEIU adjunct union elections in Washington State, after Pacific Lutheran University and Seattle University (both of which have challenged adjuncts’ right to form a union, based on the colleges’ religious identities). Antioch’s administration has not challenged the union bid there, but Chancellor Felice Nudelman has publicly expressed concern about how a union will affect the university’s ability to work as partners with the faculty.
Nudelman reiterated that sentiment in a statement Wednesday, saying “Antioch has and does operate in a socially and economically just manner without interposing a third party between it and its employees. It is our sincere hope that the university’s ability to solve problems creatively and collaboratively is not diminished by the formation of this union. To that end, we will now begin the process to meet and bargain in good faith with our union colleagues over the terms of a contract.”
Adjuncts at the University of St. Thomas have voted by a large margin, 136 to 84, to reject a unionization bid by the Service Employees International Union, The Star Tribune reported. The campaign at St. Thomas was part of the SEIU's drive to organize adjuncts in various metro areas. The campaign has been winning votes in parts of the country, but appears to have run into difficulties in Minnesota. While adjuncts there at Hamline University voted to unionize, a scheduled vote at Macalester College was called off amid some adjunct skepticism of the union campaign.
Tensions continue to grow between faculty members at Pasadena City College and President Mark W. Rocha, The Los Angeles Times reported. Rocha says he is making necessary changes to deal with financial challenges. But faculty members say he doesn't consult with them, resulting in flawed decisions. Faculty members are considering their third vote of no confidence in Rocha.