Last Monday, I sent out the following letter in solidarity with Seattle University’s Adjunct Professors who are walking out to demand better working conditions and defend their right to organize. Join the walkout this Wednesday!
February 16th, 2015
Dear Seattle University Adjunct Professors,
As a member of both the Seattle City Council and the American Federation of Teachers Local 1789, I stand in solidarity with you and I support your February 25th walkout to demand higher wages, better working conditions, and the right to form a union.
I also want to salute the many Seattle University students and faculty who have chosen to support you in your struggle, and who are walking out alongside you. My office is committed to helping ensure that nobody faces retaliation for standing up for what is right.
As a former adjunct professor at Seattle University, I know from bitter experience that working conditions for adjuncts are terrible. We have short term, contingent contracts that offer no job security. The pay is low, benefits are few and there is little opportunity for career advancement. Conditions are particularly precarious when adjunct professors have no union to support them.
Seattle University prides itself on Jesuit principles of social justice. This unfortunately rings hollow when 55 percent of University faculty members are forced to work as adjuncts, in labor conditions that are fundamentally unjust. The University has been attempting to bully you to prevent you from forming a union. This anti-worker behavior is completely unacceptable and has to stop. You have a basic human right, as do all workers, to form a union and struggle for better wages and working conditions.
We have seen during the $15 minimum wage struggle that when it comes to workers’ rights, the only thing we can rely on as working people is our ability to organize. As adjunct professors and working people throughout the country fight for higher wages, better working conditions, and the right to organize, you and all those acting in solidarity with you are excellent examples of how to win positive change. I am inspired by your fight for faculty rights and I fully support your February 25th walkout.