The following statement was released today by the AAUP:
On Friday, 22 part-time faculty at the Los Angeles campus of Emerson College overwhelmingly won a National Labor Relations Board-supervised election for union representation, choosing to be represented by the American Association of University Professors. The vote was 16-0.
“We decided to form a union because we felt that we were not being treated the same as other faculty who work for Emerson College in Boston,” said Jennifer Vandever, who has taught in the Los Angeles program for 14 years. “Now we will be on a level playing field and we hope that some of the disparities can be addressed. The LA faculty stand united and hope to work with the administration to quickly find common ground.”
Faculty at the Emerson LA campus teach the same students, offer classes for credits towards the same degrees, and are employed by the same institution as the members of the Affiliated Faculty of Emerson College AAUP Chapter at the Boston campus. Faculty in Los Angeles seek the same treatment as part-time faculty in Boston.
“We are very proud and thrilled that these faculty members have chosen to form a union and be represented by the AAUP,” said Howard Bunsis, the chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress. “Our colleagues will join their 300 coworkers who teach part-time at the Boston campus who are already represented by the AAUP, and we look forward to ensuring that these new members have a voice in the process and a seat at the table.”
Emerson LA relies heavily on part-time instructors. Of its faculty, approximately 95 percent is part-time, compared with 56 percent at Emerson’s Boston campus and the national average of 48 percent. In addition to teaching classes, Emerson L.A.’s faculty participates in devising curriculum, provides outreach to the Los Angeles creative and intellectual community and also participates in long-term institutional planning. The Emerson LA faculty was a significant contributor to the success of Emerson College’s 2014 move from its Burbank location to a state-of-the-art $110 million facility on Sunset Boulevard.
Emerson College students take academic classes and perform internships primarily in entertainment, communications, publishing and marketing. Emerson LA typically has a student body of 150-200 students per semester. The longest serving part-time faculty member has taught at Emerson LA for 20 years.