University of Kansas Faculty Vote "Union Yes"

Faculty at the University of Kansas have voted overwhelmingly for a union, affiliated nationally with the AAUP and AFT.  United Academics of the University of Kansas (UAKU) represents more than 1,550 full-time and part-time tenured and nontenure-track faculty; teaching, research, clinical and online professors; lecturers; curators; librarians; grant-funded research scientists, and other academic staff.

After a month of mail-in voting, ballots were counted April 25 in Topeka. The result was 850 yes and 132 no votes. Faculty cited competitive wages, job security, and safety and health concerns around aging, as well as unkept classrooms and buildings as major issues informing the vote.

“Faculty and academic staff are coming together to fight for a better KU; and today, we voted resoundingly to have our voices heard on the critical issues facing our university,” said Kate DeJarnette, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing. “We’re eager to get to work making KU a better place to study, teach and perform world-class research.”

With this victory, the union will now bargain a first contract with the KU administration to improve compensation, strengthen job security, and protect academic voice during tumultuous times on campus and higher education writ large. KU’s salaries currently rank thirty-fourth out of thirty-eight public institutions that belong to the Association of American Universities, and ninth out of eleven smaller peer institutions.

“This is a really exciting day for us. By voting overwhelmingly to unionize, we now have a seat at the table to advocate for the needs of our university and the students we serve” said Lisa-Marie Wright, associate teaching professor in the department of sociology. “Our students deserve excellent, well-supported faculty, and that’s what we’ll fight for.”


Publication Date: 
Thursday, April 25, 2024