The Phoenix Flyer

Miami Dade College adjunct professors go union

By: - March 28, 2019 3:30 pm
image courtesy SEIU

Image courtesy SEIU.

Adjunct professors at Miami Dade College this week became the latest group to vote to form a union with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). With approximately 2,800 professors eligible to vote, the school is now the largest adjunct union in Florida, and the largest single-school adjunct collective bargaining unit in the country.

It was a close vote, with 587 voters supporting the vote to organize, and 573 in opposition.

“Our fight for a union at Miami Dade College isn’t just about our wages or the lack of respect we face every day; it’s about standing up as educators as the largest college in the nation and saying enough is enough,” said Ximenta Barrientos, an adjunct professor of earth sciences at Miami Dade College. “We’re tired of watching our students go to food banks because tuition keeps rising. I’m tired of worrying about bill collectors when I should be worried about lesson plans. By standing up with one voice, we can demand the investment we need for our students and colleagues throughout Florida.”

Adjunct professors make on average approximately $17,000, nationally, despite taking on more instructions in state college and university classrooms in recent years.

That’s led to the momentum to organize with the SEIU’s Florida Public Services Union Faculty Forward organization.

In less than two years, approximately 9,000 adjuncts – more than half of those teaching in the state – have either formed or filed for their union, according to the SEIU.

At Miami Dade College, 81 percent of the faculty are part-time adjuncts, with those teaching the maximum number of classes making a little more than $22,000 annually. They are not eligible to receive health care benefits.

They now become the fourth group of instructors to vote to be organized in Florida, joining up with adjuncts at Hillsborough Community College, Broward College, USF and Seminole State College. Meanwhile, adjuncts at St. Petersburg College, Lake-Sumter College and South Florida State College will soon be conducting their own union elections.

The Phoenix reported earlier this month that Miami Dade College officials were running an aggressive counter campaign to dissuade the adjuncts from voting to organize. School president Eduardo J. Padron, formerly an adjunct professor, wrote at least two emails to adjuncts questioning the sincerity of the SEIU in representing them.

Adjuncts now say that they will begin working on a platform to present to the administration.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.