Kate Childs Graham
PHILADELPHIA—Today, adjunct faculty at Temple University voted overwhelmingly to join the American Federation of Teachers' faculty affiliate at the school, the Temple Association of University Professionals. This was a hard-won victory for adjunct educators, as Temple's administration ran an aggressive anti-union campaign—delaying the vote, spreading misinformation about the union and illegally urging adjunct faculty to vote "no." Despite these anti-union efforts, more than 1,400 adjuncts will join the 1,400 full-time faculty members and librarians the AFT already represents at Temple.
The AFT is the largest higher education union in the country and represents 80,000 adjunct and contingent faculty members, more than any other union. This was the largest single representation election for adjuncts conducted anywhere in the United States since 2013.
"This win at Temple University is a victory for teachers who value quality education and believe in fairness in the workplace," says Ryan Eckes, who has been an adjunct professor of English at Temple University for the past 10 years and is a member of United Academics of Philadelphia, an AFT local that represents adjuncts across the city. "My colleagues and I are proud of this important step toward achieving job stability in higher education and restoring my alma mater toward its mission of delivering education for all in Philadelphia."
"We are proud that the adjunct faculty at Temple have voted to join the AFT—the largest union for adjunct faculty in the country," says AFT President Randi Weingarten. "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. It's not right that higher education institutions rely more and more on adjuncts to teach the next generation, yet treat them terribly. 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. Organizing is the first step in putting an end to the exploitation of adjunct faculty."