Future of Labor Organizing Conference

Slideshow and Video

Quotes from Conference

Gillian Mason
AAUP, Mass. Jobs with Justice. Graduate student at BU.

School workers are just cogs in the wheel and students are customers. We want to make sure that colleges are using money for the right things.

Marilyn Frankenstein
MTA Faculty Staff Union, Professor of quantitative reasoning at the College of Public and Community Service at UMass Boston.

People saying we have a fiscal crisis is a lie. There is no lack of resources. It’s a social justice crisis.

Mike Grunko
Retired President of SEIU local 509, Boston

There is less incentive for schools to get tenured faculty if they can get qualified people to teach at adjunct salary levels. They have become itinerant faculty.

Anita Thompson
MTA Classified Staff Union at U Mass Boston

I am not valued at my job in purchasing and it is spiraling down. There is bullying going on and disparity in wages has grown. There are more and more vice-chancellors.

Earl Sweet
President of SEIU Local 560, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

We discovered that trustees of the college were investing funds in their own companies. If we don’t stick together, we’ll all hang separately. Professors have power if they stick together. Higher education is more and more like corporate America.

Eric Bourgeois
Adjunct Professor, Environmental Sociology, U of Mass Dartmouth

UAW just had a successful organizing drive for adjunct professors. We haven’t had a raise in years and get $3500 per course. This is life under neo-liberalism. I recommend people watch the video called “The Story of Stuff.”

Shauna Manning
President of MTA Classified Staff Union at U Mass Boston

Even a public university is becoming more privatized and it feels like working for a corporation or business. More and more money is going to the administration.

Nanette Cormack
NZ Tertiary Education Union

This conference is completely on topic and timely. Within our sector workers understand the connection between student tuition, teachers’ salaries and labor disparities, but I’m not sure parents of students or students themselves understand.

Tom Gosnell, President

I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of this conference.

I believe that teachers’ unions should have a significant say in education of students at whatever level they're on. We're fighting for what's good for students and fair for teachers. Public financial support has weakened considerably. Public schools like U Mass Boston educate significant number of students from lower income and provide a way to become citizens and good Americans.

Shea Marshall
SEIU Local 73 in Chicago

College has become less accessible – partly because of tuition costs but also because we can't staff it. We don't have staff on the ground because bureaucracy has run amok. As a result, the university is not willing to meet student needs by hiring adequate staff.


Thank you from the Conference Sponsors:
On behalf of our conference sponsors I would like to thank all of you who attended the “Future of Labor Organizing in Higher Education” conference.

Your participation was invaluable in moving all of our work forward as we confront the very grave challenges ahead.  Together we can forge a common vision, message and alliance for the future and guarantee accessible, affordable and excellent higher education for all. 

Please stay tuned as we upload the interviews, materials, and video of keynote speakers and discussions.

We hope that you will use these materials to initiate discussions in your locals and unions, with your executive boards and officers, about the conference and the information presented there.

Once again, thank you.

In solidarity,
Wayne M. Langley
Director, Higher Education
SEIU Local 615, Boston

Who attended the Future of Labor Organizing in Higher Education Conference?

Among the 140 participants:

  • 5 countries were represented
    • U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand
  • 15 states were represented
    • CA, CT, DC, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, RI, VT
  • 34 U.S. Unions & Locals:
    • AAUP, American Association of University Professors
    • AFSCME, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees
    • AFT, American Federation of Teachers (including AFT-MA)
    • IMSEUA,  Independent Service Employees Union of America (Wellesley College)
    • MTA, Massachusetts Teachers Association (including FSU, PSU, CSU, MCCC)
    • Service Employees International Union, SEIU (including 32BJ, 1984, 1996, 560, 615, 73, 888, USWW – United Service Workers West)
    • UAW, United Auto Workers
    • UNITE HERE, Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees and Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees
  • 28 universities/colleges
  • 16 students
    • both graduate and undergraduate
  • 42 union staff