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Wash U unionization efforts expand to 119 full-time faculty members

Washington University's Brookings Hall
Washington University

Updated, 7:40 p.m. with statement from Washington University —

About 120 full-time faculty members who aren’t eligible for tenure at Washington University will be able to decide whether to unionize before the end of the school year.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled Monday that there’s enough time for the 119 teachers in the College of Arts and Sciences to hold a collective bargaining vote before the school year ends, but it will have to be done by mail.

School officials were trying to postpone the vote until next school year. In a statement, a university spokeswoman said the school respects employees' rights but has "serious concerns about unionization."

"This is a critically important decision that will have serious implications for the day-to-day working environment for any faculty member in the union's bargaining unit," the statement said.

The Service Employees International Union Local 1, which would represent the teachers, declined to comment on the NLRB’s decision.

Part-time adjunct faculty at Wash U voted in 2015 to form a union covering about 400 instructors and reached a four-year contract a year later. Other successful unionization efforts include adjuncts at Saint Louis University, St. Charles Community College and St. Louis Community College. A union effort for part-time instructors at Webster University was defeated.

Ballots will be sent to the 119 faculty members next week with votes scheduled to be tallied May 24.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @rpatrickdelaney.

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