Howard University professors threaten to strike over unfair working conditions: NPR
Hundreds of faculty members at Howard University in Washington, DC, say they are threatening to strike next week over complaints about unfair working conditions.
In a protest held on campus on Wednesday, several university faculty members, students and alumni leaders rallied in support of the school’s faculty as they were arguing over what is low pay for full-time non-tenured professors and adjunct professors.
Some faculty members say that if an agreement is not reached with the university by Friday, they will carry out a strike from next week.
Currently, there are 150 full-time nontenured faculty and more than 200 adjunct faculty on the Howard campus — all represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500, which shared these employment numbers.
“University management has made it clear that a better teaching environment and a better learning environment are not important to them,” said Cyrus Hampton, head of contingent faculty and Howard alumnus, according to SEIU.
Hampton teaches full-time in the university’s English department.
“They left us no choice but to strike because of their continued bad faith negotiations,” Hampton added.
According to SEIU, faculty members from Howard’s contingent are teaching “about 1,000 classes” this semester alone on campus. Negotiations between faculty members and campus administration, the union said, have been going on for three years.
“Contingent faculty are important to student learning, their demands are fair, they are not alone because students, alumni and tenured faculty are on their side, and they will win,” Marcus Alfred, Associate Professor of Physics and Chairman of the Howard Faculty Senate Executive Council, told SEIU.
NPR has reached out to Howard University for a request for comment.
In a statement emailed to NPR, the university said it “remains diligent” in its engagements with union representation and university officials to reach an effective agreement.
“Our commitment to a peaceful bargaining process has not changed, and we will continue to make good faith efforts to reach an agreement with the union and meet the needs of adjunct and non-tenured faculty and the University,” the university said in its statement. declaration.
“We have made proposals for salary increases for unionized teachers and continue to bargain in good faith,” the statement added. “Howard’s faculty plays a vital role in our community. We will continue to work with our faculty to ensure their success and the success of Howard’s students.”
News of the threatening faculty strike comes after the university made headlines early last fall after students protested the school’s poor housing conditions for more than a month.
More than 150 students from the group Live Movement, an organization advocating education reform and academic advancement, protested at the school’s Blackburn University Center on October 12, 2021.
Students slept in tents outside Blackburn University Center last October, protesting what they said were poor housing conditions and a lack of student representation on the board.
In November, an agreement between the student protesters and the university was reached. Specific details of the negotiations between the students and the administration were not immediately available.
In 2018, students occupied the campus administration building for nine days, which resulted in an agreement between officials and students on several campus changes.
Some of the changes included a review of the school’s sexual assault policy, a review of policies allowing campus police officers to carry weapons, and the creation of an on-campus food bank for students.