After more than two years of organizing, adjunct professors at Temple University look to be headed to the bargaining table with their school over working conditions.
Out of roughly 1,400 adjuncts, 900 voted in the election, the results of which were announced Monday.
"It was a landslide," said Ryan Eckes, an adjunct English teacher at Temple for 10 years who is an organizer with the pro-unionization movement. "Now we'll start negotiating for job security and benefits."
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There were 609 votes in favor of joining the Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP), the union which represents full-time faculty and is part of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and 266 against.
Adjunct or part-time professors are widely employed at Temple -- they make up about half of the professors -- as well as at most universities around the country. Despite having higher education degrees, most adjuncts have little job security and no access to the benefits that full-time faculty enjoy.
A majority of adjuncts filed authorization cards last December to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board for the right to hold an election on unionization. Temple University opposed the move, but after a series of hearings, the PLRB ruled the election could proceed.
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"Now that the vote is completed, it is time to move forward," Temple University Provost Hai-Lung Dai said in an email to faculty. "Soon we will begin working with TAUP to produce a collective bargaining agreement that includes adjunct faculty. The university will work to ensure the best possible outcome for our community."
That statement marks a change in tone for Temple, which called adjunct unionization a "bad idea" in previous statements.
"The complaints from adjuncts at Temple—low pay, unpredictable workloads, terrible job conditions and no benefits—echo those we hear from adjuncts across the country," said AFT president Randi Weingarten in a statement after the vote was tallied. "Through the union, Temple's adjunct faculty will be able to negotiate together for better pay, benefits and working conditions as well as higher-quality education for their students."