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.

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

Comments

This is a very interesting logo! Well done! This logo is made on the site
https://www.logaster.com/logo/ ? …

by Ben Milloy on What’s the First Thing You Think of When You See Raleigh’s New Logo? (Triangulator)

You interviewed and photographed eight people about the new Raleigh logo, and only 2 of them are Raleigh residents? That …

by frgyandres on What’s the First Thing You Think of When You See Raleigh’s New Logo? (Triangulator)

Most Recent Comments

This is a very interesting logo! Well done! This logo is made on the site
https://www.logaster.com/logo/ ? …

by Ben Milloy on What’s the First Thing You Think of When You See Raleigh’s New Logo? (Triangulator)

You interviewed and photographed eight people about the new Raleigh logo, and only 2 of them are Raleigh residents? That …

by frgyandres on What’s the First Thing You Think of When You See Raleigh’s New Logo? (Triangulator)

Looks like "weed". Will we be the next Colorado?

by Bud Light on What’s the First Thing You Think of When You See Raleigh’s New Logo? (Triangulator)

I am trying to get answers to. About my brother death in Durham county jail am just read all this …

by Tenisa Ruffin on Durham County Jail Provider Correct Care Solutions Faces Scrutiny (Triangulator)

This might have been a close call amid Wake's many needs, but Commissioners Calabria, Burns, Portman, and Hutchinson surely made …

by Leanne Sigmon on Over Their Own Staff’s Objection, Wake Commissioners Move Forward With a $23 Million Park (Triangulator)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation