The National Adjunct Walkout Day planned for February 25, [tomorrow] is an effort by adjunct and part-time faculty members to raise awareness of working conditions and lower pay compared with those of their full-time faculty counterparts. It follows some high-profile adjunct organizing wins by the Service Employees International Union at a host of colleges, including, most recently, Washington University in St. Louis.
It also comes on the heels of a surprising and important ruling by the National Labor Relations Board related to Pacific Lutheran University. That decision opens the door to union organizing not only among adjuncts but also for full-time faculty members who have historically been viewed as members of management. Colleges are perhaps more vulnerable now to organizing drives and pressure to improve the working conditions of their faculty members than they have ever been.
Dealing with that challenge will require considerable strategic creative thinking by college presidents. They must attend to the well-chronicled concerns of faculty members at a time when their campuses are seeing diminished public funding, significant expenses, market and governmental pressures to keep costs down, and a crushing regulatory environment that has caused the administrative ranks to continue to swell. <Read more.>