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Faculty Members at University of Pittsburgh File for Union Election

University of Pittsburgh faculty members are seeking a union election with the state labor board to have a say in the affairs of the university.

On January 18, Faculty organizers filed for the election with the board to push for collective bargaining agreement that covers 3,500 faculty members at the university’s five campuses.

The latest move comes a year after the faculty began collecting confidential union cards to seek better working conditions and pay for adjunct and part-time faculty.

“Specific faculty needs differ so much by department and rank,” said Tyler McAndrew, a visiting lecturer in the department of English and member of the Pitt faculty organizing committee.

“But even for people on the tenure track, transparency is so important: with regard to tenure requirements, how everyday decisions are made at the university, and who’s deciding to put what money where and why.”

The faculty organizers believe that the union will ensure greater transparency and allow more academic freedom from the university administration.

“We’re organizing in the spirit of recognizing the intellectual labor all of us do,” said Mrinalini Rajagopalan, associate professor in the department of history of art and architecture.

“A union is a way to bring back a level of dignity to scholarly work and teaching that we’re not seeing. It’s also about preserving what’s working, what’s viable and sustainable and humane in our university atmosphere,” he added.

 

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