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University of Pittsburgh Professors Look to Unionize

by Jon Guillen

Diminishing working conditions have college professors seeking to organize alongside United Steelworkers.

Part-time professors, known as adjuncts, take on huge workloads to support themselves, and make significantly less money than full-time professors–Glassdoor, a job search website, clocks the mean Adjunct salary at $30,709. This figure stands disproportionate with the years of schooling and certification required just to be hired.

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Dr. Beverly Ann Gaddy, Ph.D.

Tenured positions aren’t much better. Profit margins have whittled teaching resources to a minimum.

“The educational mission has fallen by the wayside,” says Dr. Beverly Ann Gaddy, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Political Science.

Professor Gaddy is leading awareness efforts to address faculty concerns at Pitt-Greensburg.

“It varies from department to department, but it could be things like adequate classrooms, clerical resources, technology, resources for conferences, teaching assistants. In general, having the ability to do our jobs well.”

This movement is not new. In the past, The University of Pittsburgh has attempted to unionize professors three times.

The first attempt was disorganized,  the second was brought down by outsider influence, and the third fell apart due to problems within the ranks.

“It’s been about twenty years since the last time and the economy is very different,” Gaddy said, noting faculty motivations have changed. “We’ve seen the corporatization of the university and a huge shift in faculty labor.”

Gaddy stressed that professors are only asking for things they truly need.

“What we’re doing right now is talking to faculty about what organization might entail,” Gaddy said. “It varies from department to department, but it could be things like adequate classrooms, clerical resources, technology, resources for conferences, teaching assistants. In general, having the ability to do our jobs well. I think all the faculty wants to see is that they’re provided the resources that they need in order to engage in their educational mission.”

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