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For answers to your questions or further information, contact Associate Vice Provost William LeoGrande, avpleogrande@american.

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Dear Colleagues:

We have created this website as a resource for our term faculty members so you have access to the information you need to make an informed decision about union representation.

American University respects our term faculty members' rights to freedom of association, expression, and participation in democratic processes, including the right to unionize. However, there is a serious legal question about whether term faculty at American University are an appropriate bargaining unit under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Term faculty represent an integral part of the university's academic mission and are closely involved in critical aspects of university management. In recognizing the special role and contributions of term faculty, the university has dedicated resources to address term faculty needs. These investments have occurred in the context of a broader set of strategic initiatives to improve upon the university's commitment to and standards for teachers and scholars at AU and include the following examples:

  • Eliminating the limit on term faculty reappointments, creating renewable multi-year appointments, and establishing a path to promotion.
  • Accelerating the timing of numerous term faculty reappointments to provide greater job security.
  • Allocating $1,800,000 to raise term faculty salaries in the last two budget cycles.
  • Providing term faculty with the same benefit options as tenure-line faculty. You are also eligible for many of the professional development and grant submission support opportunities as those received by tenure-line faculty.

In this process, my best advice is to participate and use your voice. I encourage all term faculty members to stay informed on the matter. As the process unfolds, I will continue to update the university community.

Best regards,
Scott A. Bass, Provost

The process involved with forming a term faculty union at American University

The following process was determined by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for private non-profit institutions.

  1. Our term faculty members must show if they want to unionize or not by signing confidential union authorization cards.
    To move forward in the unionization process, at least 30% or more of the term faculty members must sign cards for the NLRB to call a secret ballot election of the term faculty at AU.
  2. If the NLRB receives 30% or more of the cards signed, then an election will be called and it will likely be held as a mail in ballot.
    The majority of the ballots will be determined by the number of ballots received - not by the number of term faculty members. If only 1/3 of our term faculty vote, the decision will be based on only their votes.
  3. Once the ballots are counted, if the majority of the ballots are in favor of unionization, the union and university will begin negotiations.
    If it is determined by the majority of those who voted that the term faculty want to unionize, even those members who voted against it will be bound by the collective bargaining agreement the union negotiates.

As we have pointed out in prior communications to you and on this page, it is the university’s view that term faculty do not constitute an appropriate bargaining unit under the NLRA given the significant role they play in university governance. Under federal law, managers are not eligible to form a union. This legal question will need to be resolved at some point during the process.