New School contests adjunct vote
Officials at New School University are seeking to overturn the results of a recent election in which part-time faculty voted to unionize.
In a vote two weeks ago, 530 adjunct professors at the New School voted to form a union with the United Auto Workers, while 466 opposed the move.
I would characterize this as a tremendous victory, said Julie Kushner, sub-regional director of the U.A.W.
Kushner said faculty voters were subject to intense anti-union lobbying by their supervisors, and to succeed amidst such pressure represented a definitive win that would help the union when it gets to the bargaining table.
For the moment, New School officials have asked the National Labor Relations Board to overturn the entire election and begin plans for a new one. Officials cited low voter turnout as the basis for its appeal. Of the 1,702 eligible voters, only 58 percent voted, the university said in a statement. Kushner contended the figure was 65 percent.
The university believes that a group this small should not determine the professional future of so many others, and that an appeal is clearly warranted, said New School President Bob Kerrey in a statement.
The U.A.W. contends that only 1,602 faculty were eligible to vote, Kushner said. Many who support the union say they are fighting for increased job security, better benefits and a greater voice in determining the overall direction of the university.
As of Tuesday, it was unclear when the dispute would be resolved. Kushner said the organizers plan a protest at 6 p.m. on Thursday outside the Sheraton Hotel on W. 53rd St., where a New School event will be held.