We are forming a union, here’s why

We are forming a union, here’s why
To Our Loyola University Chicago Colleagues,
Over the summer and into the fall semester, we have been meeting and organizing to form a union for adjunct and contingent faculty at Lake Shore Campus of Loyola University Chicago. Some of us teach one course a year while others teach many at multiple institutions. Some of us are just beginning our career while others have worked at LUC for many years.

Together, we want to ask for your support.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected–the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.”1 As a Jesuit-Catholic institution, social justice is one of the core values of Loyola University Chicago. The Mission Statement of the university states that we prepare students to “[use] learning and leadership in openhanded and generous ways to ensure freedom of inquiry, the pursuit of truth and care for others.”2

Today, we are challenged to apply those core values to our university. Loyola relies on a large group of highly trained, non-tenure track (NTT) faculty like us, who comprise roughly 67 percent of Loyola’s total faculty.3  As Loyola’s total revenues increased by roughly $260,000,000 from 2002-2003 to 2012-2013, the percentage change in rate of revenue dedicated to instruction declined during that time by 11%.4  These numbers are not unique to Loyola; they are part of a trend in higher education institutions across the United States.5

The fact that Loyola increasingly relies on contingent labor and spends less on student instruction affects our own working conditions, as well as our ability to provide quality education to Loyola’s talented students.  For contingent faculty, “flexible” hiring practices have led to unstable and inconsistent employment, a lack of benefits, and financial insecurity.  These practices also prevent contingent faculty from playing a stronger role in their respective departments, give instructors less time to prepare for their courses, and provide less time and resources to focus on the needs of students.

The Catholic Church has always seen union organizing as one of the essential means for the promotion of social justice. In that tradition, we have begun discussions with Faculty Forward, a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest unions of contingent faculty in the country. The goal of SEIU’s faculty members is to systematically raise contingent faculty employment standards and to restore the central importance of teaching and teachers to our institutions.

We have been impressed by the gains made by contingent faculty at other private universities through unionization, including American University, George Washington University, Tufts University, and Georgetown University.  Forming a union with SEIU has resulted in a number of benefits for contingent faculty: pay increases, improved job security, better processes for teaching assignments, fair and transparent evaluations, access to more benefits, and a platform to allow their voices to be heard.

In light of the above, we non-tenure-track faculty are coming together to form a union.

We believe that collective bargaining plays an important, complementary role in standing up for what we are worth, demanding inclusion in the academic community, and claiming a voice for quality education.   Our efforts are aligned with the principles and values embodied in Loyola’s Mission Statement, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Jesuit tradition.  We must model that tradition by ensuring that all faculty are treated with dignity and fairness.  We believe that unionization allows us to be visible models of Loyola’s core values for our students.

We invite you to join our movement to reform higher education nationally and re-establish the centrality of teaching at our institutions.

Best Wishes,


Fadel Abdallah, Adjunct Instructor, Modern Languages and Literature

David Andrews, Adjunct Instructor, English

Frank Babbitt, Adjunct Faculty, Music

Amy Bernhard, Adjunct Instructor, English

Terry Boyle,  Advanced Lecturer, English

Jordan Brown, Lecturer, Sociology

Bill Byrnes, Graduate Student and Adjunct Faculty, Sociology

William H. Cernota, Adjunct Faculty, Music

Linda Chessick, Adjunct Instructor, Modern Languages and Literature

Melissa Cogan, Adjunct Instructor, Environmental Sciences

Elise Martel Cohen, Lecturer, Sociology

Dale Embers, Part-time Instructor, Mathematics

Mark Gaipa, Adjunct Instructor, English

Melissa Gesbeck, Instructor, Sociology and Nursing

Deborah Goodman, Adjunct Instructor, Dance

Danielle Gould, Adjunct Faculty, Modern Languages and Literature

Laura Goldstein, Lecturer, English

Michael Gutierrez, Adjunct Faculty, Philosophy

Alyson Paige Warren, Adjunct Faculty, English

Omer Hadziselimovic, Adjunct, English

Adam Hankins, Adjunct Faculty, Theology

Baird Harper, Lecturer, English

Matt Hoffmann, Adjunct Faculty, Sociology

Blair Hurley, Adjunct Instructor, English


Elliot Lefkovitz, Adjunct Professor, History

Michael Le Flem, Adjunct Instructor, Philosophy

Mary Ellen McGoey, Adjunct Faculty, Modern Languages and Literature

Bozena McLees, Instructor, Modern Languages and Literature

Teresa Moore, Adjunct Instructor, Modern Languages and Literature

Randall Newsom, Adjunct Instructor, Dance

Paul Ott, Instructor, Philosophy

Esther Peters, Instructor, English

Jesse Raber, Adjunct Faculty, English

Lisa Sandberg, Adjunct Instructor, Psychology

Claire Seryak, Adjunct Faculty, Social Work

Lauren Schwartzman, Adjunct Instructor, Classics

Kirk Shellko, Adjunct Faculty, Classical Studies

Dian Squire, Adjunct Faculty, ELPS

Caleb Steindam, Adjunct Instructor, Education

Laura Swanlund, Adjunct Faculty, Education

Jef Tripp, Adjunct Faculty, Theology

Annmarie Van Altena, Adjunct Instructor, Sociology

Steven J. Venturino, Adjunct Instructor, English

Elfriede Wedam, Instructor, Sociology

Amy Wilkinson, Instructor, Dance

Nora Willi, Part-time Instructor, Political Science and Philosophy

Matt Williams, Instructor, Sociology and International Studies

Charles Wilson, Part-time Instructor, Mathematics

Sean Young, Adjunct Instructor, Sociology


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