In Landmark Union Election, Occidental College Faculty Vote to Join SEIU Local 721

Congratulations to the non-tenure track faculty at Occidental College who voted today to join SEIU 721! Ballots for Occidental faculty were counted this afternoon at the National Labor Relations Board.

Today’s landmark yes vote comes after a months-long organizing drive that saw scores of faculty and students working together to raise standards and improve working conditions for faculty at the nationally renowned liberal arts college.

Occidental College faculty are the latest in the growing, nationwide movement of faculty and graduate students taking action to address the crisis of corporatization in higher education. Their victory marks the 5th successful Los Angeles election through SEIU’s Faculty Forward initiative. Faculty at Occidental will join more than 13,000 instructors who have voted to form unions with SEIU since 2013.

“We’re heartened by the strong showing of support in today’s vote by Occidental’s faculty,” said Brian Clearwater, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. “This puts us in a solid position to obtain a contract that reflects the excellent teaching and service that Occidental’s non-tenure track faculty do.”

This win comes on the heels of successful unionizations efforts at colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Southern California, Howard University, University of Chicago, Boston University, Seminole State College, Loyola University Chicago, Georgetown, and Tufts University. Through SEIU’s Faculty Forward initiative, faculty and graduate workers are also organizing to protect quality education for students by improving educator working conditions at Duke University, Northeastern, and many more.

“My Occidental colleagues are an inspiration,” said Desiree Zamorano, non-tenure track professor of Education. “May we together inspire faculty and graduate students organizing at other campuses across the country.”