Newly unionized adjunct faculty members have begun negotiating a new contract with Point Park administrators
by Andrew W. Henderson
The Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers Union (AFA_USW) bargaining commmittee met with administrators to begin negotiations regarding the working conditions of the part-time, non-tenured faculty at the University.
This was only the first of an as-of-yet undetermined number of meetings that will occur throughout the course of the negotiation process. At this early stage, only a loose framework for future negotiations has been settled upon, but the negotiations are underway with future meetings scheduled.
Rebecca Taksel, a member of the Adjunct Faculty Association bargaining committee, said the details of the negotiations will be kept under wraps because of issues regarding labor law, but she also feels that it is important that students know about and understand the negotiation process.
“It is the intention of the bargaining committee to be as open as we can be,” Taksel said in an email interview on Saturday.
She added that the real goal of the negotiations is to serve the Point Park student body’s best interests and the committee is fully committed to ensuring a quality education for students at Point Park.
“We never lose sight of that goal, in whatever forum we participate,” Taksel said.
Samantha Lee, a global cultural studies major and recording secretary for Fight Back Pittsburgh, agreed that the negotiations will have a direct impact on the education that students receive at the University.
“It is paramount to our education that the working conditions of the adjunct faculty are bettered,” Lee said. “Adjunct teaching conditions are student learning conditions”.
The negotiations are the latest step in an ongoing process to improve the working conditions of Point Park’s adjunct faculty. This process gained significant momentum last semester when the adjuncts voted to unionize on June 25.
The unionization of the adjunct faculty was only the beginning of a process that will continue until an agreement is reached between the adjuncts and Point Park administration.
“Winning unionization is only half of the battle,” Lee said. “A union isn’t effective unless they barter a good system.”
Published by The Globe Newspaper at Point Park University on November 11, 2014