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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Adjuncts at the San Francisco Art Institute Have Filed for a Union Election

Adjuncts at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) -- who are designated "Visiting Faculty" regardless of how long we have been teaching at the school -- filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a union election to join SEIU Local 1021. My own "Visit" as an adjunct teaching full time at SFAI has continued for more than a decade. Like our counterparts at Mills College who filed for a union election two weeks before we did, adjuncts at SFAI work for comparatively low pay, have little opportunity for promotion, lack the job security of long-term contracts, and have no voice in governance. Since three-quarters of faculty at SFAI are adjuncts our lack of job security and available channels of accountable communication with administration doesn't only impact our own sense of well-being, but undermines the educational mission and real community of SFAI. Forming a union would oblige administration to confer with us -- the majority of the actual people doing the actual teaching which is the actual reason SFAI actually exists -- about the direction of the school as well as how its resources are allocated. It seems to me that organized adjuncts achieving more of a stake in the institution will contribute reliable feedback as well as even more energetic commitment to the mission of SFAI and will be able to collaborate with administration in a more productive way. And though SFAI's administration seems rather predictably reluctant to embark upon this path for now I think everybody could come to appreciate and prefer the more equitable environment that adjuncts are hoping to bring about. You should check out Adjunct Action Bay Area for the latest news, since there is a whole lot of energy and excitement happening at the moment around adjunct organizing in Bay Area colleges and universities.

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