Updated at 3:50 p.m. with statement from Ithaca College President Tom Rochon.
ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca College’s part-time faculty has voted to form a union, according to Sarah Grunberg, who teaches in IC’s Department of Sociology.
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“It’s a huge thing for Ithaca College and for the whole community,” said Grunberg, who has been involved in the push to form a union. “We’re incredibly happy, excited and proud.”
Grunberg is in Buffalo with other part-time Ithaca College faculty, who learned on Thursday about the results of the vote. The final vote was 172 in favor of unionization and 53 opposed, according to Grunberg.
Ithaca College President Tom Rochon said in a statement that the “election results are not considered final until the NLRB officially certifies them. Certification can take several weeks depending on whether any legal challenges are filed.”
“Once the election is certified, the college will bargain in good faith with representatives from SEIU and our part-time faculty,” he said in the statement, which was posted in full below. “We hope to reach with them a consensus that balances the requests of the faculty with the ongoing needs of the college and its students.”
The vote follows several months of advocacy and planning from organizers. Those leading the unionization push have said part-time IC faculty face low pay, long hours and poor healthcare benefits that a union would help correct.
The IC part-time faculty will be joining the national union SEIU, according to Grunberg.
“We’re taking this route to create better standards for all part-timers,” Grunberg said.
As previously reported by the Ithaca Voice: Ithaca College is hardly alone in facing criticism for the level of pay for its adjuncts. Last year, Chronicle of Higher Education reporter Sydni Dunn highlighted a 36-page report from Congress noting the “alarming” state of adjunct labor.
“Contingent faculty often earn low salaries with few or no benefits, are forced to maintain difficult schedules to make ends meet, face unclear paths for career development, and enjoy little to no job security,” the report stated.
The school’s administration has said that it “supports its employees exercising their rights under the National Labor Relations Act to vote on whether or not they wish to be represented by a labor organization.”