Members of the Duke Teaching First campaign announced that they have filed for a union election Thursday afternoon.
If successful, non-tenure track faculty members at Duke would be represented by the Service Employees International Union in contract negotiations with administrators. Supporters say the effort will help improve working conditions and wages.
“I'm excited that my colleagues and I are a step closer to a union by filing for an election. The filing adds to the momentum that we’ve built in the community,” said Fred Raimi, a professor of the practice in the music department stated in a press release. “Students, faculty and Durham city leaders have all come together to show support for our efforts.”
According to the National Labor Relations Board, 30 percent of employees must sign a petition calling for the election. After the petition is filed and approved by the board, a majority of employees must vote to be unionized. More than 40 percent of the University's faculty members are off the tenure track.
The announcement of the filing comes after the Durham City Council postponed discussion on a resolution supporting the campaign last week.
In September, members of the United Students against Sweatshops organization presented administrators with a petition calling for them to remain neutral during the campaign. Administrators later launched the Duke One-to-One website in response to the efforts.
“Faculty need a voice to advocate for better working conditions, which is why we stand by all non-tenure track faculty in their campaign to form a union,” junior Zoe Willingham, president of USAS, said in the release. “Students want to make faculty, and consequently our instruction, a priority again.”
The release notes that similar efforts have been successful at the University of Chicago, Tufts University and Georgetown University.
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