Eastern Michigan University Adjuncts Vote To Unionize

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By greater than a 5-1 ratio, Eastern Michigan University adjunct lecturers have voted to affiliate with the Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers (EMUFT), an affiliate of AFT Michigan. The 560 adjunct lecturers teach more than a third of all first-year classes at EMU, a comprehensive public institution in Ypsilanti serving nearly 23,000 students.

"I'm euphoric and pleased that this has happened," says Karen Soebbing, an employee of EMU for more than 25 years and president-elect of EMUFT. "I am also proud to be part of the team that was able to accomplish this historic victory. It's time to recognize and respect the teachers who have a direct impact on our students. I look forward to moving beyond the election and working for a fair contract for all lecturers at EMU."

With this win, the EMU lecturers join the growing ranks of nontenure-track employee unions in Michigan. Lecturers at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University and Wayne State University have organized in recent years. On those campuses, instructors bargained for and got improved job security, better wages, and increased benefits. EMUFT's election victory bodes well for the current nontenure-track faculty union campaign at Ferris State University and will, one hopes, set an example that the administration at Central Michigan University will follow with regard to its nontenure-track faculty. [Craig Smith, EMUFT press release]

June 15, 2010