Seattle University faculty and students are planning a walkout Wednesday to draw attention to salaries and working conditions for contingent, or adjunct, faculty members.
Seattle University faculty members and students are planning to join a national walkout to protest adjunct faculty conditions on Wednesday.
The noon walkout is part of National Adjunct Action Day, an event happening at select campuses around the country to highlight the lower wages that adjunct, or contingent, faculty receive.
More than half of all faculty members at the private Jesuit university are contingent — working year to year under contract. They say they are paid less, and are shortchanged on essentials such as office space, making it difficult to meet with students after class to discuss grades and assignments.
Last year, contingent faculty members voted on whether to organize a union to address their grievances. The university appealed to the local office of the National Labor Relations Board, and the ballots were impounded. Contingent faculty members are asking the university to drop the lawsuit so that the votes may be counted.
The university says it has made significant strides in improving contingent faculty pay in recent years. For example, full-time contingent faculty who made as little as $24,600 three years ago now make a minimum of $42,000 a year. Money has been approved to move those salaries to $46,000 a year by 2016, according to a statement from the university.