This past weekend, Georgetown’s adjunct professors voted in favor of forming a union with the local branch of Service Employees International Union, SEIU Local 500.
The election was conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. 311 of the 650 eligible voting members participated in the election, and 72 percent voted in favor of forming a collective bargaining unit. Georgetown joins American University and George Washington as part of a larger SEIU initiative to unionize the part-time professors in the District.
This vote comes after an extended campaign, launched in Oct. 2012. Provost Robert Groves wrote to the faculty about the unionization process, citing the Just Employment Policy as an important aspect of Georgetown’s partnership with its workers. As per the policy, “all working members [at Georgetown] have the right to freely associate and organize, and that the University will respect the rights of employees to vote for or against union representation without intimidation, unjust pressure, undue delay or hindrance in accordance with applicable law.”
After the election, there is a seven-day period for objections to be filed, and the results cannot be certified until any objections are resolved. Once the results are certified, SEIU Local 500 will represent part-time, non-tenure line faculty on the Main Campus. Neither faculty of the the Law Center campus nor the Medical Center, which includes the NHS in this case, will take part of the union at this time.
David Rodich, Executive Director of SEIU Local 500, spoke favorably of Georgetown’s administrators. “This was a respectful process between the union and Georgetown University,” he said. “The administration made a point of putting their social teaching into practice … I hope that other institutions will look at how Georgetown put its just employment policy into practice and that they will view this as a model for how universities should handle organizing campaigns.”