Full-time lecturers vote to unionize by large margin

From left to right, back row, Andy Klatt, Claire Schub, Rusty Russell, middle row, Michelle Gaudette, Peggy Hutaff, seated Elizabeth Lemons, Sheriden Thomas, who are members of the Tufts Faculty Organizing Committees celebrate the union victory at Dowling Hall. Full-time lecturers voted to form a union with Faculty Forward / SEIU Local 509 by an overwhelming two-to-one margin February 11. (Courtesy of Gabriela Camargo Martins)

After two days of ballot casting, a sweeping majority of Tufts University full-time, non-tenured faculty voted to form a union on Feb. 12, joining the Faculty Forward project run by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509.

The decision, which received a two-to-one margin of support from the over 80 percent of eligible faculty who voted, follows that of Tufts part-time lecturers, who voted to unionize in October. Approximately 100 full-time lecturers from Tufts will now join more than 2,700 adjunct professors in the Greater Boston area who have elected to form unions within the last year.

Faculty at schools such as Boston University, Northeastern University and Lesley University have also organized and created contracts recently.

Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Lecturer Penn Loh emphasized that a union will allow professors to further develop the Tufts community and improve educating abilities.

“We believed that a union would help us build a real community — one where all faculty can more effectively contribute to our shared mission of educating students,” Loh told the SEIU Local 509 in an interview. “Coupled with the progress made by our part-time colleagues, today’s victory will no doubt raise the Tufts learning experience to new heights.”

According to SEIU Local 509, faculty will be able to confront issues such as sinking wages and trivialization, and will also be able to improve the quality of education by joining their projects, such as Faculty ForwardAdjunct Action and thousands of other educators in the Greater Boston area who have already unionized.