Senate discusses pros and cons of unionization
Emma Pollans and Celia Martinez
May 10, 2018
The buzz of unionization brought multiple students to this week’s Associated Student Government (ASG) meeting. Adjunct lectures Natalie Linnell of the mathematics and computer science department and Angela Holzmeister of the classics department explained to the senate their reasons for wanting to unionize.
During the previous week’s meeting, members of the senate—along with sophomore Emma Stinson from Santa Clara Community Action Program’s Labor Action Committee—presented a resolution, that if passed, would allow adjunct lecturers to vote to unionize.
More than half of the professors at Santa Clara are lecturers. Linnell and Holzmeister explained that lecturers do not get paid as much as tenure professors, do not receive as many benefits, nor are they allowed to vote on certain issues.
They also noted that most university lecturers are on one-year contracts, meaning that every year they have to interview for their job and often do not know if they will be rehired until late in the school year.
“Lecturers don’t have the stability that tenure-stream faculty have at this university,” Holzmeister said.
Linnell points to unionization as a way that will “allow [them] to work together with the university to improve the situation for lecturers on campus.” Holzmeister agreed, saying that they are looking to “negotiate and work with the administration.”
The main concern from the members of the senate, as well as students in the audience, had to do with the possibility of a tuition increase.
In response to this, Linnell and Holzmeister made three points. Firstly, Linnell said that unionization is not shown to have a measurable effect on tuition. Holzmeister also pointed to the fact that “tution in the United States is rising and it has been for thirty years.”
To sum it up, Linnell said, “I think it is really a matter of what are the university’s priorities.”
Despite this, students and members of the senate seemed unconvinced. They continued to voice their fear about the possibility of another tuition increase.
Junior senator Alex Perlman addressed an additional concern: the potential strike or walk-out of all adjunct lecturers.
However, it was noted that strikes are rare in other universities where unionization occurred.
Apart from talk about unionization, Sophomore Maria Nelson talked to the senate about “Odyssey,” a national writing platform for college students.
Nelson hopes to attain registered student organization status for the Odyssey at Santa Clara.
To conclude the meeting, Senate Chair Aly Motzel presented to the senate a brief introduction of Measure A, a bill that would change the way in which city council members are elected in the city of Santa Clara.
Members of the Multicultural Center brought this to the attention of ASG as some believe it unconstitutionally disenfranchises minority voters.
The senate will hear more about the bill in the coming weeks, as well as decide if they will seek a resolution against the bill. The bill will appear on the June ballot.
The next senate meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 10 in Charney 201.
Contact Emma Pollans at firstname.lastname@example.org and Celia Martinez at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.