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New Faculty Union at Southern Nevada

By Jason Elias

This spring, full-time faculty at the College of Southern Nevada decided by a vote of 263–126 to form a collective bargaining chapter affiliated with the AAUP. CSN is the largest institution of higher education in Nevada and the third community college in the state with unionized faculty. Faculty members at many other Nevada institutions have formed nonunion advocacy chapters affiliated with the Nevada Faculty Alliance and the AAUP.

CSN faculty salaries were reduced by 2.5 percent in concert with the governor’s furlough plan from 2011 to 2015. Compensation is one of several issues faculty members are looking forward to addressing in future negotiations.

“The faculty is very engaged and looks forward to sitting down at the table with the administration to discuss faculty working conditions and student learning conditions,” said David Steel, executive director of the Nevada Faculty Alliance–AAUP.

Most inspiring in the eighteen-month long campaign was the group of local leaders that emerged. Twenty-six faculty activists helped talk to hundreds of faculty members, identifying issues of concern and gauging support for collective bargaining.

“We are excited that our colleagues at the College of Southern Nevada have chosen to stand together and form a union with the AAUP. We look forward to working with them to ensure that the faculty has a strong voice on campus,” said Howard Bunsis, chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress.

Although collective bargaining is not currently permitted for faculty members on part-time appointments in Nevada, CSN faculty activists are working to bring a change in state code that would allow the institution’s nine hundred part-time faculty members to join their full-time colleagues.

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