At universities across the country, including Webster University, over 70% of classes are now taught by adjunct professors. Adjuncts at Webster have decided to join 21,000 adjuncts around the country in a movement to gain respect as professors and improve our pay, benefits, and job security. By joining with Adjunct Action and SEIU, we will work to improve higher education in Saint Louis, our own working conditions, and our profession.
Over the past thirty years, universities and colleges in the United States are increasing the number of adjuncts, replacing full-time positions with adjuncts as a means to save money. This forces professors who want to work for the school full-time to instead take multiple jobs at other schools in order to make ends meet. A full load of classes for an adjunct often still leaves these professors living at, or below the poverty line, with no access to health insurance or retirement benefits. We have little say in the governance of the school, we cannot negotiate for better pay or benefits, and we often lack adequate resources. These circumstances create an environment that ultimately hurts student learning; focusing on excellence the classroom can be difficult when we are so undervalued. These issues must be addressed in order to ensure fairness for the majority of our professors, provide the best education possible for our students, and move our community forward. By forming a union, adjuncts can collectively bargain for a contract that will better reflect their needs and the current environment of higher education.
With Adjunct Action and SEIU, we plan to work toward:
A system of seniority and reappointment rights;
Assurance of fair treatment in class assignments;
Health, dental and vision benefits for teaching six units per semester;
An organized, consistent, clearly articulated system of due process and grievance;
Provisions for sick leave and family leave;
The opportunity to earn one-year and three-year appointments
We urge Webster University of Saint Louis administration to remain neutral and allow Webster’s adjuncts to openly engage in collective dialogue!