The statewide movement that has adjunct college and university professors forming new unions to fight for better pay and benefits grew a little Tuesday.
Adjunct faculty at Seminole State College of Florida in Sanford voted to form a union with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Faculty Forward. They join adjunct colleagues who have formed unions at Hillsborough Community College, Broward College and the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Adjunct professors are instructors who teach on a limited-term contract, often for one semester at a time, and are ineligible for tenure.
According to indeed.com, the average salary for an adjunct in Florida is $33.06 per hour, which is 22 percent below the national average. While that per-hour-wage may sound impressive, it should be noted that the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that in some cases, adjunct faculty are paid as little as $1,000 per course, with the median salary paid to adjunct professors being $2,700 per three-credit course.
“Winning our union is an important step for us to be able to advocate for our students and for the resources that we desperately need in order to improve the quality of education we can provide,” said Nancy DeLong, an adjunct professor at Seminole State College.
Over the past several years, adjunct professors have teamed up with the SEIU and activists throughout the state to call for a host of progressive ideas, including a $15 per-hour minimum wage and tuition- free college.
“We are less than a month away from the midterm elections that are of great significance for the future of higher education in Florida,” said Carol Miller, an adjunct professor of Social Sciences at Seminole State College. “Winning our union for Seminole State College adjuncts is the first step towards ensuring we have a voice on our campus and then go to Tallahassee to advocate for our students, our profession, and the future of higher education in Florida.”