Adjuncts march on Temple campus to demand better pay, benefits and union

Temple University’s motto is “Perseverance Conquers,” and that’s exactly what adjunct faculty members are hoping happens for them. Adjuncts rallied for better wages, benefits and the right to unionize Monday at the university.

As 50 adjuncts and full-time faculty members marched through Temple’s campus with signs and banners, many students hurried to their classes. But some took notice and read the fliers organizers handed out.

The march — part of National Adjunct Awareness week — was an effort to raise the visibility of adjuncts all over, not just at Temple. It was organized by United Academics of Philadelphia, a union that represents 15,000 adjuncts from the Philadelphia area.

Adjuncts make up more than half of Temple’s faculty, according to United Academics of Philadelphia.

Watching the march, Temple sophomore Roseanne Isang said she did not know what an adjunct was or that they lack job security and benefits.

“Hopefully something gets done because that’s crazy, because that’s really not fair to those teachers who put in their time and effort and only get paid half,” she said. “They should at least get benefits for that, you know.”

Another student said her adjunct instructor isn’t very available for office hours because she doesn’t have an office.

Tyron Young, a doctoral student and teaching assistant, supports the union drive.

“As a teaching assistant, I do get health care, but once I become an adjunct, I won’t have any health care,” said Young, who intends to pursue a career teaching in higher ed. “I’ll become an adjunct, but I won’t have any of the securities.”

The American Federation of Teachers is working to organize Temple’s adjuncts into the university’s existing faculty union, but a recent effort to hold a vote on unionizing was blocked by the university.

In response on Monday, the marchers chanted, “Let us vote” and “What’s disgusting? Union busting” outside the provost’s office building.

A hearing on the dispute is scheduled for next month in Harrisburg.

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