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Office of the Provost | Communications


Office of the Provost
Fax: 202-885-2173
Leonard, Room Lower Level

Bass, Scott A.

Office of the Provost
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8061

December 20, 2011

 TO:  AU Adjunct Faculty
 FROM:  Scott A. Bass, Provost
 SUBJECT:  Vote to Determine Whether Adjunct Faculty will be represented by Union
 CC:  Deans, Directors, and Department Chairs


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has called for and stipulated the terms of an election to determine whether adjunct faculty will be represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500 for purposes of collective bargaining.

The decision to have a third party represent adjunct faculty on all employment related matters is an important one that has implications for faculty individually and collectively. It is critical that all eligible adjunct faculty (defined below) exercise their right to vote. A simple majority of those who vote will determine the outcome of the election and all eligible adjunct faculty will be affected by the outcome, whether or not you vote. Therefore, whether you support or oppose unionization, it is important for you to express your voice by voting. Please look out for your ballot, which you will receive by mail after January 19, 2012, and cast your vote as soon as you receive it.

The terms of the election are outlined in a Stipulated Election Agreement developed by the NLRB and endorsed by AU and SEIU. According to the agreement, the election will commence on Thursday, January 19, 2012 and conclude with the counting of ballots at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 16, 2012. The NLRB will conduct the election by secret-ballot mailed to eligible voters (defined below) through the United States Postal Service. Specifically:

Voting Eligibility

  • To be eligible to vote, AU adjunct faculty must:
    • Have a three-year appointment as of December 2, 2011, which includes:
      • Adjunct faculty with three-year appointments beginning prior to and including December 2, 2011 and ending anytime after that date; and
      • Adjunct faculty with concurrent Full-Time term contracts
    • Have taught at least a one-credit bearing class or lesson during the Fall 2011 semester
    • Have taught a one-credit bearing class or lesson in at least two semesters since January 1, 2010.
  • Individuals ineligible to vote include lab assistants, graduate assistants, teaching assistants, research assistants, clinical fellows, teaching fellows, administrators with teaching responsibilities, degree-seeking AU students with adjunct appointments, and full-time staff who are not compensated for adjunct teaching. (See the Stipulated Election Agreement for the complete list of exclusions.)

The Election Ballot

  • The question on the ballot will be: Do you wish to be represented for purposes of collective-bargaining by Service Employees International Union Local 500? If you do not support union representation of adjuncts, vote “No.” If you support union representation, vote “Yes.”
  • Voters must sign the outside of the envelope in which the ballot is returned, otherwise the ballot will be automatically void.

The formal Stipulated Election Agreement and other related information, including a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) may be viewed at the Unionization Web site. The Web site will be continuously updated with information as it becomes available. I encourage you to bookmark it and share it with your colleagues.

As the election process unfolds, the university welcomes free and fair exchange of views on the advantages and disadvantages of the union for our community. AU has steadily enhanced support for our adjunct colleagues, who are valued members of our academic community. For more information on those enhancements, please see my statement at the Unionization Web site.

We look forward to continuing the dialogue as we seek to cultivate for all our colleagues a supportive and motivating work environment that also values academic freedom, rewards high quality teaching and scholarship, and ensures that the educational experience we deliver to students is unsurpassed.