With the SEIU vote around the corner, I wanted to share my own thoughts and experiences that will lead me to vote No to unionization. What drew me to Vanderbilt was a model in which non-tenure track faculty fully participated in the running of the university, were governed by the same rules in the faculty manual, and could serve on committees alongside tenure track colleagues. I believe that a vote to join the SEIU puts much of that at risk. Under our current system, we can act in our own interest and are free to discuss teaching and service with our department chairs, just like our tenure track colleagues. I believe that negotiating through a third party will constrain us and ultimately affect our ability to serve our University. We don’t know what the terms of a contract negotiation will be, but this process has the potential to greatly affect the flexibility that we have as faculty and stands in the way of those of us seeking to be part of a single Vanderbilt faculty.
I understand that there are real questions that have been raised by some of my non-tenure track colleagues, but a yes vote is a permanent decision that could change our relationship to the university forever. If you are not certain that unionization is the only answer or that the Service Employees International Union is the right organization to represent all of us, please join me in voting no.
Alissa Hare, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry