Emerson College Part-Time Faculty Union Achieves ‘Fair Share’

November 17, 2010

Move Puts Union on Strong Financial Footing

Boston, MA –The Affiliated Faculty of Emerson College collective bargaining chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AFEC-AAUP) scored a decisive victory today when it announced that the chapter had met the November 1 deadline to achieve the 58 percent membership required to trigger the fair share provision of its latest contract. Chapter president David Kociemba notified the Emerson College administration that AFEC-AAUP had achieved 68 percent membership among the nearly 220 part-time faculty at Emerson – 10 percent more than necessary to activate fair share.

The provision, sometimes 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, given the union’s legal responsibility to represent all members of the bargaining unit. The strong majority membership and fair share provision will provide the resources necessary for the AFEC-AAUP chapter to more effectively represent part-time faculty and enforce their contract.

Emerson 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 pay increases of two to four percent, increased compensation for service work, access to healthcare benefits, and a strong grievance procedure. Today the college's administration officially recognized the union's achievement of fair share.

The Emerson chapter’s victory follows a similar win at Suffolk University last fall, where the Suffolk Affiliated Faculty (SAF-AAUP) succeeded in triggering a similar contractual clause by achieving 58 percent membership among its nearly 360-person unit. There are approximately 680,000 part-time faculty members in the US. About 35 percent of them are represented by one of the 299 unions nationwide that include part-time faculty in their bargaining units. 

The American Association of University Professors is a nonprofit charitable and educational organization that promotes academic freedom by supporting tenure, academic due process, shared governance and standards of quality in higher education. The AAUP has over 48,000 members at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Media Contact: 
Robin Burns
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, November 17, 2010