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Temple adjuncts win right to unionize

Adjunct professors at Temple University can join the faculty union

After years of lobbying, the 1,400 adjunct professors at Temple University will become part of the faculty union after more than two-thirds of those voting approved the measure.

The vote results were released Wednesday by both the university and the union following a tallying of the vote - 609 to 266 - by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in Harrisburg.

With the addition of the adjuncts, the size of the Temple Association of University Professionals - the faculty union - will double. Its current membership is about 1,400.

Art Hochner, president of the union and a professor in the Fox School of Business, said the adjunct faculty become members of the union immediately but their work terms will have to be negotiated and the vote has to be officially certified by the labor board.

"This is a great step for all faculty at Temple," said Hochner, who went to Harrisburg for the vote tally. "With all faculty belonging to TAUP, we will be able to have a unified voice and achieve the professional respect they all deserve."

The win for Temple, he said, "is a great first step" in the larger efforts by many of the 15,000 adjunct faculty at area college campuses to unionize.

The Temple administration had been opposing the move but on Tuesday signaled the intent to accept the decision.
"Now that the vote is completed, it is time to move forward," said Temple Provost Hai-Lung Dai in an email to faculty. "Soon we will begin working with TAUP to produce a collective bargaining agreement that includes adjunct faculty."

Adjuncts nationally work without benefits or job security, often for little pay and with no stable career path, though providing a substantial portion of the higher education workforce. In recent years, various efforts have been launched to unionize adjuncts in large cities, including Philadelphia.

At Temple, the union previously had represented only full-time faculty members at the university, except in the schools of law, medicine, dentistry and podiatric medicine.