By Bob Makin, Courier News and Home Tribune
More than 300 adjunct faculty professors at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have voted to form a union local.
The state Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC), the entity that regulates public sector unions in New Jersey, certified the vote on April 25. The local is affiliating with the Rutgers American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers.
“The adjunct workforce at NJIT has been waiting a long time to have their voices heard by the administration,” said Crystal Hamai, an adjunct instructor in the Humanities Department. “By coming together as a union, I hope that the adjunct faculty will be recognized as the invaluable members of the community that we are.”
But Ion Cohanoschi, an adjunct in NJIT’s Math Department, said that the new union is “going to be a vehicle to fight for adjuncts’ rights and a better life.
“That’s why I am supporting adjunct unionization at NJIT,” Cohanoschi said.
Adjunct faculty deserve better than the sub-par wages they are offered, added Rutgers Part Time Lecturer President Teresa Politano, a journalism and media studies professor.
“At NJIT, adjuncts are the boots-on-the-ground instructors doing the critical work of training America’s future scientists and technicians,” Politano said.
“This corporate model with the adjunct functioning in the same relationship as an Uber driver, while increasingly performing the core functions of the university is not an acceptable approach to higher education. In this model, adjuncts are forced to take on as many classes as possible in order to survive and the real loser is the student.”