University President Paul Hennigan spoke on behalf of administration in regards to the issue of adjunct faculty unionization with the United Student Government (USG).
In the past three weeks, USG discussed whether it should
support the Student Solidarity Organization’s statement of support for adjuncts. The governing body made the decision on Feb. 17 to vote against supporting the statement.
“I’ve read your constitution and bylaws,” said Hennigan Feb. 24 to the legislative body. “USG has no responsibility or obligation to take a position on adjunct unionization.”
Hennigan spoke about his long history with labor unions and stated his “ambivalence” towards working with them.
On the movement among Point Park adjuncts to unionize, Hennigan said he viewed its origin as non-traditional because the United Steelworkers approached the adjuncts. He referred to the case as the “union going to adjuncts.”
“We place a great deal of value on all faculty,” Hennigan said. “I have never had a group of adjuncts express displeasure.”
According to Hennigan, Point Park’s philosophy is to try to find adjuncts that are already gainfully employed. He said 80 percent of Point Park’s adjunct professors have other jobs outside of working at the University.
Hennigan said the University had two open forums for faculty where the question was raised on the conditions for adjunct faculty. The first forum was for part-time faculty and the second for full-time. He had no comment on the nature of the concerns raised by part-time faculty.
“We are working with adjunct faculty and planning on addressing these concerns,” Hennigan said.
The Globe reported last week that concerns raised by adjuncts at the open forum included pay disparity, benefits and job security.
USG President Dillon Kunkle was thankful to Hennigan for coming to explain the administration’s position.
“That relationship means something,” said Kunkle Feb. 24. “[Hennigan] was instructive and stern in his words. He doesn’t play politics with us.”
Kunkle agreed with Hennigan that the issue of unionization is outside of the responsibility of the USG.
“It would be off base for us to assume we have an understanding of the correlation between unionization and better education,” Kunkle said.
According to Kunkle, USG will send out a press release to clarify its position on adjunct faculty unionization.
“We specifically chose not to support that group of students and their position,” Kunkle said.