Adjunct professors at San Francisco Art Institute won a resounding victory Friday as they voted by a 78% margin to join with the Service Employees International Union—the SEIU—to bargain with the college for better wages and job security. Less than a month ago, adjunct professors at Mills College in Oakland also voted to join SEIU, also by a 78% margin, to combat what they say are dismal working conditions at Mills and for the majority of college teachers across the country.
Contrary to the traditional view of professors, over 75% of the nation’s 1.5 million college faculty are now part-time temporary employees who have no job security, no path to full-time tenured positions, and who earn wages more often seen in the fast food industry. NPR reports US adjuncts earn an average of between $20,000 and $25,000 per year. This disposable work force includes part-time faculty called adjuncts or adjunct professors, graduate assistants, and a few full time temporary faculty. Reporter Tom Herriman recently asked some of the adjuncts at Bay area colleges to explain the reasons behind their unionizing efforts.