AAUP Union Chapter Wins “Fair Share”

By Jenn Nichols

The Emerson College AAUP chapter, which represents the part-time faculty in collective bargaining, scored a decisive victory in the fall when it announced that it had met the deadline to achieve the 58 percent membership required to trigger the fair-share provision of its latest contract. The chapter, called the Affiliated Faculty of Emerson College, achieved 66.5 percent membership among nearly 220 part-time faculty members— almost 10 percent more than necessary to activate fair share.

Fair share, also called agency fee, requires every faculty member covered by the contract to contribute to the cost of negotiating, administering, and enforcing it. Fair share is based on the premise that since everyone benefits from the contract—through legally binding pay raises, access to a grievance process and outside arbitration, and other rights—everyone should help to cover the costs incurred by the union. The strong majority membership and fair-share provision will provide the resources necessary for the chapter to represent part-time faculty members and enforce their contracts more effectively.

Emerson’s part-time faculty voted to unionize in 2001 and successfully negotiated their second contract in August 2009. The contract’s highlights include a professional development fund for faculty research and conference travel, annual salary increases of 2 to 4 percent, increased compensation for service work, access to health-care benefits, and a strong grievance procedure.

The Emerson chapter’s victory follows similar success at Suffolk University a year earlier.

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