Duke University gets in the union-busting game | Triangulator | Indy Week
Pin It

Duke University gets in the union-busting game 

Duke University recently launched a new website, Duke One-to-One, that bills itself as a "repository for timely, factual information regarding the effort by the Service Employees International Union to organize/unionize 'non-tenure track faculty.'"

It all sounds helpful and friendly—protective, even. But if the purpose is really to piss off faculty, alumni, students and labor groups, then let's hear a slow clap for university administrators. Mission accomplished, guys.

To recap: For the last several months, a faculty group called Duke Teaching First, in conjunction with the SEIU outfit Faculty Forward, has been attempting to organize Duke's adjunct professors, who oftentimes work for low pay with no benefits and no guarantee that their employment will continue beyond their short-term contract. Faculty Forward has already organized adjuncts at several private northeastern schools. Duke's adjuncts can vote to follow suit if 30 percent of them sign authorization cards.

Duke, quite obviously, does not want that to happen. Hence, the website.

One page displays an Oct. 8 letter to the faculty from provost Sally Kornbluth, in which she says that pay issues for non-tenure-track professors are best resolved "in an open and direct dialogue between administration and faculty." Unionizing, she continues, would change "the essential nature of that direct relationship." (Kornbluth could not be reached for comment last week.)

There site also features some not-very-subtle fear mongering: "This [authorization] card asks faculty members to provide home address, email and phone number. We do not know why the union is asking for this personal information, but we know unions often attempt to visit targeted employees at home as part of the organizing campaign."

Some alumni vented their disappointment on Facebook, blasting Duke for circulating "anti-union propaganda."

"It's really clear that they're scared of contingent faculty unionizing," says Jillian Johnson, a candidate for Durham City Council and Duke alum. "And I think that they're reacting in a way that's not reflective of the progressive values that they try to put out in public."

Matteo Gilebbi, an adjunct and co-organizer of Duke Teaching First, says he's encouraged by the response he's received thus far. A majority of teachers at Duke are working under short-term contracts, he says, although he can't provide a hard percentage. These teachers feel cut off from the Duke community. Addressing job security and benefits would go a long way toward rectifying that.

"By fixing these two issues, I think we can fix the general problem—that fact that many contingent faculty feel isolated," he says. "They feel their work is not valued."

Reach the INDY's Triangulator team at triangulator@indyweek.com.

  • The school’s efforts to keep adjunct professors from organizing raise ire

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Triangulator



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

I saw this ad and shared a picture on Facebook, getting positive responses from all over the country. Thanks for …

by Amy Trojanowski on The 18-Year-Old Who Owned Richard Burr in Sunday’s N&O (Triangulator)

I'm so proud of Senator Burr and Senator Tillis. But that was a clever ad.

by alberthall on The 18-Year-Old Who Owned Richard Burr in Sunday’s N&O (Triangulator)

ROCK MY WORLD. IMO, this ad's tongue in cheek tone is precisely what is needed here. I'm so peeved I'm …

by Haditupta on The 18-Year-Old Who Owned Richard Burr in Sunday’s N&O (Triangulator)

Gavin Grimm is from Gloucester County, Virginia. He is not from New Jersey. The Gloucester County school board involved is …

by Jamie 2 on The Trump Administration Takes Aim at Transgender Kids (Triangulator)

As a North Carolinian I would like to add that myself and pretty much everyone I have talked to support …

by Don Pepe on Will the NCAA’s Threat Force the Legislature to Reconsider HB 2? (Triangulator)

Comments

I saw this ad and shared a picture on Facebook, getting positive responses from all over the country. Thanks for …

by Amy Trojanowski on The 18-Year-Old Who Owned Richard Burr in Sunday’s N&O (Triangulator)

I'm so proud of Senator Burr and Senator Tillis. But that was a clever ad.

by alberthall on The 18-Year-Old Who Owned Richard Burr in Sunday’s N&O (Triangulator)

© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation