an open letter to the northeastern community

Dear Northeastern Colleagues,

We love our jobs. We are honored to work with dedicated colleagues and to teach at a university full of passionate, intelligent students. Many of us are grateful for the support we receive in our departments.

That said, as full-time non-tenure track faculty at Northeastern, we lack any real voice in working conditions or in the terms of our employment at the university. This fact was highlighted recently by the push for a comprehensive workload policy by the faculty senate and the provost’s office. Though some of us were invited to offer feedback on the drafts of these policies, their final approval rested with the provost and the deans. We were left with the illusion of participation toward a predetermined outcome.

We do good, valuable work. And we have the right to insist on proper recognition for it. For this reason, and many others, we invite you to join our effort to form a union of Northeastern’s full-time non-tenure-track faculty.

With a union, we will be able to negotiate with the administration to improve compensation, benefits, and working conditions. Where standards are high and our policies make sense, we will protect them from unilateral or arbitrary change. Elsewhere, we will advocate for the implementation of better standards and best practices.

We join thousands of faculty across the country — including more than 4,000 non-tenure track faculty here in the Boston area — who have organized unions and won strong contracts with the Service Employees International Union. In forming a union we assert our right to bargain collectively, as non-tenure track faculty have done locally at Tufts, Lesley, and BU, and elsewhere at the University of Chicago and Duke, among many others.

This is an effort to increase transparency across the university. It’s an effort to claim a meaningful voice.

A union is not a panacea. Our union won’t solve every issue that needs addressing at Northeastern. But it will ensure we have the power to negotiate as equals. Our colleagues at universities across the city, state, and country, have recently asserted their own power in this regard, and we can see the meaningful gains they’ve made.

Join us! Sign a confidential Union Authorization Card to add your support to our effort, and please reach out with any questions or ideas. Together, we are building a stronger voice for full-time non-tenure track faculty at Northeastern.

Your Fellow Northeastern Colleagues