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Non-tenured Tulane faculty overwhelmingly vote to unionize

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Non-tenured Tulane faculty overwhelmingly vote to unionize

Jun 19, 2024 | 4:46 pm ET
By Piper Hutchinson
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Non-tenured Tulane faculty overwhelmingly vote to unionize
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This photo of Tulane University was taken June 3, 2010. (Photo by Tulane Public Relations Creative Commons License)

A group of non-tenured faculty at Tulane University in New Orleans has voted to form a union. 

The group is made up of faculty with the ranks of instructor, lecturer, professor of practice and visiting professor in Tulane’s schools of Professional Development, Liberal Arts, Science and Engineering, and Architecture and Business. They voted 146-29 to authorize the Tulane Workers United. 

“Tulane fully supports the rights of employees to vote on whether they want to be part of a union or not,” university spokesman Mike Strecker said in a statement. 

The group had initially asked for voluntary recognition from the university administration in April, which it did not receive. The two parties agreed to hold an election, with the vote occurring Tuesday. 

As an authorized union, the faculty members have an avenue to collectively bargain with university leaders over salary and benefits. The group has described their compensation as “poverty wages.” 

Patrick Butler, a visiting assistant professor of English, said he earns an annual salary of $45,000. The average salary in New Orleans is $65,619, according to ZipRecruiter. 

Butler said Brian Edwards, dean of the English department, rescinded a promotion offer to Butler that would have bumped his pay to around $60,000 a year because he was involved in the union organizing efforts. Butler has since filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board over the incident. 

“We do not discuss personnel matters, but neither Dean Edwards nor Tulane administrators engaged in any anti-union activity,” Strecker said.