Adjunct Faculty FAQ | Webster University

Adjunct Faculty FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: Adjunct Faculty

About the Union

What does “NLRB” stand for? What is it?
Why would I be contacted by union organizers?
Where can I find and read the SEIU and SEIU Local 1 Constitutions?

What is the Oath of Membership?
How could an adjunct faculty member violate wage or work standards of the Union?
What other clauses should I be aware of?

Union Finances

Where Did Webster University obtain information about the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and SEIU Local 1?
How much money did the SEIU International spend on behalf of individual members? 
What is a per capita tax?
What other types of organizations did the SEIU spend dues money on?

Dues

How will my dues be used? Are there other fees or charges?
If I vote NO or don’t vote in the election and the Union wins, will I still have to pay dues?
What if I have religious objections to being a member of the Union – do I still have to pay dues?

When would employees have to start paying dues?
Would faculty members have to pay an initiation fee?
Is it true that in Missouri the Union cannot negotiate a union security clause requiring employees to pay dues or fees as a condition of continued employment?

Union Contact

How did they get my name, contact information and the location of classes I teach?
Do I have to talk to union organizers?
How do I stop the union from coming to my home or calling me at home or on my cell phone?
Are Union agents permitted on campus and can they talk to me on campus?

About the Election

If there is an election, how does the voting work?
What are Authorization Cards and why are they important?
I really don’t want to be involved in this.  If I just decide not to vote, doesn’t that mean I won’t be part of the union even if an election is in its favor?
Would the University’s entire Adjunct Faculty be eligible to vote?


 

About the Union

Q: What does “NLRB” stand for? What is it?

A: NLRB is the abbreviation for the National Labor Relations Board, an independent agency of the United States government charged with supervising and conducting secret ballot elections for labor union representation and investigating allegations of unfair labor practices. Now that the Service Employee International Union has filed a petition with the NLRB to represent certain Adjunct Faculty at Webster University, Webster University will be working with the NLRB to ensure that all of our Adjunct Faculty who are eligible to vote on unionization have an opportunity to do so.

Q: Why would I be contacted by union organizers?

A: The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is attempting to unionize adjunct faculty members at Webster University, and you are, or in the recent past have been, a member of our adjunct faculty.  The first step in an organizing campaign is the collection of signed Authorization Cards from potential union members.  If the SEIU convinces at least 30 percent of eligible adjuncts to sign an Authorization Card, it could then ask the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to order an election on the question of whether the adjunct faculty want to be represented by the SEIU.

Q:  Where can I find and read the SEIU and SEIU Local 1 Constitutions?

A:  They are available for you here:

International: Service Employees International Union Constitution and Bylaws

Local 1: Constitution and Bylaws

Q:  What is the Oath of Membership?

A:

 SEIU Oath of Membership

Q:  How could an adjunct faculty member violate wage or work standards of the Union?

A:  If the SEIU or Local 1 negotiates wages and benefits for Webster Universitys Adjunct Faculty in the St. Louis area, then those wages and benefits become the Union standard. Therefore, any Adjunct who performs adjunct teaching at other local universities for wages or benefits less than those negotiated by the Union would presumably be working for less than the wage or work standards negotiated. As a result, per the Unions Constitution, the Union could fine its members for working for those “substandard” wages.

Q:  What other clauses should I be aware of?

A:  The following clauses are contained in the SEIU International Constitution:

SEIU Clause

The clause above means the International President can negotiate a St. Louis or Midwest Collective Bargaining Agreement without a vote of the membership, or require the Local Union to engage in such an area wide contract.  

SEIU Clause

SEIU Clause

SEIU Clause

SEIU Clause

SEIU Clause

SEIU Clause

SEIU Clause

SEIU Clause

While the Union is required by its Constitution to collect a minimum amount of dues from its members, it prefers having a dues system based on a percentage of your earnings. That would mean a percentage of your wages and any subsequent increases would go directly to the Union in the form of increased dues.  

SEIU Clause

Union Finances

Q: Where Did Webster University obtain information about the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and SEIU Local 1?

A: The financial information is contained in forms called LM-2 reports that each union files with the Department of Labor.  To view the reports, please visit http://kcerds.dol-esa.gov/query/getOrgQry.do.

International Financial Information (2013)

International Financial Information (2014)

SEIU, Local 1, report (2014)

All unions must file these annual financial reports with the Department of Labor to help prevent unions from diverting union funds away from the union. 

Below is a screen shot from the SEIU International LM-2 report showing income and expenditures from 2013:

LM-2 Report

Q: How much money did the SEIU International spend on behalf of individual members? 

A: Zero.  The SEIU International did not spend any of the over $300 million it collected on behalf of an individual member.

Q: What is a per capita tax?

A: A per capita tax is the money every Local has to pay to the International body on behalf of each of the members in the Local. The SEIU International in turn pays money to other organizations – like [LINK} Change To Win, for example – and also pays per capita taxes to those institutions.  

Q: What other types of organizations did the SEIU spend dues money on?

A: Below are some of the organizations the SEIU financially supported in 2013.  Dues paid by you, as a full member of the SEIU, would go to support these and other organizations you may or may not agree with politically and for meetings and events held at various venues like a casino in Las Vegas.  

SEIU Support for Other Organizations

SEIU Support for other organizations

SEIU Support for other organizations

SEIU Support for other organizations

SEIU Support for other organizations

Dues

 Q:How will my dues be used? Are there other fees or charges?

A: Unions collect monthly dues and other fees, such as assessments and contributions. If the union successfully obtains a contractual requirement that faculty members must pay dues as a condition of employment then failure to pay dues can result in a faculty member’s termination. These “union-security” clauses are common in union collective bargaining agreements and are used to provide the union with financial security. 

Unions are also empowered to fine members who don’t attend meetings or violate union rules contained in the union Constitution and Bylaws.  Union members are sometimes assessed money to pay for strikes called in other places. Dues also fund the union’s political action activities across the country and are used to pay the salaries and benefits of the SEIU officers, directors and employees not just here in St. Louis, but also in Washington D.C. and elsewhere.

Q:  If I vote NO or don’t vote in the election and the Union wins, will I still have to pay dues?

A:  Likely yes. If the Union wins the election and negotiates a contract with a Union Security Clause, then all faculty covered by the contract will be required to pay dues, even if they didn’t vote for the Union or chose not to vote at all.  That is why it is so important for all eligible faculty members to exercise their right to vote.

Q:  What if I have religious objections to being a member of the Union – do I still have to pay dues?

A:  Employees who object on religious grounds or don’t want to be full members of the Union must still pay fees to the Union that are roughly equivalent to the cost of membership dues. Even though these individuals are paying money to the Union, these “non-members,” do not have the right to vote on union leadership or attend union meetings.

Q:  When would employees have to start paying dues?

A:  Faculty members would not be forced to pay dues under a Union Security Clause unless or until such a clause is agreed to in a Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

Q:  Would faculty members have to pay an initiation fee?

A:  It is possible the Union will agree to waive initiation fees for current faculty, but all future faculty will be required to pay initiation fees when hired by the University.

Q:  Is it true that in Missouri the Union cannot negotiate a union security clause requiring employees to pay dues or fees as a condition of continued employment?

A:  No - that is incorrect.  Missouri is not a right to work state and thus it is perfectly legal for unions to negotiate collective bargaining agreements in Missouri that include union security clauses.  Some might remember how Mercy, then known as St. John's, was forced to terminate over 70 registered nurses who refused to pay dues to the union.  St. John's went to court in an attempt to stop the terminations but both the NLRB and courts forced St. John's to terminate the nurses solely because they wouldn't pay dues to the union.

Union Contact

Q: How did they get my name, contact information and the location of classes I teach?

A. Please know that Webster University did not provide any of this information to the union or its representatives. However, as an adjunct faculty member, information about you is generally available on our Website and through other means.    Specifically, our web page details information about the classes you teach such as course title, your name, classroom location and the dates and times of your classes.  While this information is intended to aid our students in course selection and participation, it has also likely been used to locate you for discussions about the union effort.

Q: Do I have to talk to union organizers?

A: No.  This is a choice that is entirely yours. You have the right to not talk to organizers, to not sign an Authorization Card, and to ask the SEIU to stop calling you at your home, at your work, or on your cell phone. Your rights on these issues are federally protected.

Q: How do I stop the union from coming to my home or calling me at home or on my cell phone?

A:If you strongly and vocally declare that you are not in favor of unionization and will not sign an authorization card, union representatives will likely not engage you further. An expression of interest, signing a card or engaging in a dialogue about the topic will only encourage more contact.  The University did not provide the union with your contact information and cannot control what the union does away from our campus. 

Q: Are Union agents permitted on campus and can they talk to me on campus?

A: All visitors to campus must comply with the University’s policy and practice regarding outside organization solicitations and distributions and access to locked campus buildings.  If you feel threatened or believe University policy is being violated you should contact Public Safety at (314) 246-7430 so they can address the situation.

About the Election

Q: If there is an election, how does the voting work?

A: If 30 percent of eligible Adjunct Faculty members sign an Authorization Card, the union could petition to have an election, which would be supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  In an election – which would likely be conducted by mail – the union would not be required to get votes from a majority of eligible voters, but only a majority of those who actually vote.  For example, if only 10 out of 100 eligible adjunct faculty take the time to vote, and the union gets 6 of those 10 votes, then the union will become the legal bargaining representative for all 100 faculty members – even if the remaining 94% were opposed to unionizing.  Thus, the outcome of the election will not reflect a true majority opinion unless all eligible Adjunct Faculty members vote. If a vote is called, please make sure your choice is counted.

 Q: What are Authorization Cards and why are they important?

A: Authorization Cards are legal documents that are used as evidence that faculty want to be represented by the SEIU. You do not need to sign an Authorization Card to be eligible to vote in any future election. Moreoveryou do not have to sign a card to receive additional information or to attend a union-organizing meeting.  By signing, you will indicate your support of the union to petition for a vote, which it can use to petition for a vote on the issue. To be valid, cards must be signed and dated by adjunct faculty.

Q: I really don’t want to be involved in this.  If I just decide not to vote, does that mean I won’t be part of the union even if an election is in its favor?

A: No.  As an eligible voter, an election – if called – will affect you regardless of whether you vote. If such a vote were to be held and the union wins, then the union will be your exclusive representative in all negotiations with the University. That means the University will have to negotiate with the union about your pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.  Moreover, you will be subject to any future union security clause requiring the payment of dues and fees as a condition of staying employed at Webster.  Not voting will not insulate you from the impact of any future election, so please cast your ballot.

Q: Would the University’s entire Adjunct Faculty be eligible to vote?

A: Not necessarily.  The union can seek to represent smaller “bargaining units” – that is, subsets of the University’s adjunct faculty, such as those from a particular school, department or program.