Hamline University Adjunct Professors Become First in Cities to Unionize


Hamline University union

Adjunct professors at Hamline University became the first group of adjuncts at a private Twin Cities university to unionize last Thursday. Adjunct faculty voted in an overwhelming 72% to join the Services Employees National Union. Ninety of the university’s faculty members will be represented by this union.

Hamline’s administration said it would have preferred any concerns between faculty and administration be dealt with directly with the professors, rather than involving a third party union.

Hamline adjuncts have been joined in their efforts by groups from fellow Twin Cities universities St. Thomas and Macalester. St. Thomas will vote on the union in July. Macalester adjuncts were supposed to vote in early June, but the vote was cancelled.

As a St. Thomas student, I have taken several classes taught by adjunct professors but was unaware of the difficulties they face. Adjunct professors typically make around $4,000 to $5,000 per class (which is the same amount that I as a student pay for a class). From what I’ve seen, professors typically don’t teach more than four courses a semester. This means adjunct professors make at most (a large amount work part-time teaching only one or two classes) around $30,000 to $40,000 a year, compared to the more than $60,000 that their non-adjunct counterpart professors make.

Administrators said unionizing would make it difficult for them to accommodate the needs of their students. However, adjunct professors in favor of unionizing said it will help students by ensuring adjunct professors receive the same training and strengthening the entire higher education process.


Photo via: William Wesen


About Author

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal is a student at the University of St. Thomas majoring in Communication and Journalism with a minor in Spanish. She was born in California and has lived in four states since then, finally landing in Minnesota (maybe not for good). She loves to travel and studied abroad in London and Ireland last year with another planned trip to Argentina this upcoming year. She hopes to continue her travels after graduation without the excuse of class credit. She is an avid reader who enjoys anything she can get her hands on, from literature classics to popular trilogies. She enjoys writing in all forms, contributing to not only Minnesota Connect but also St. Thomas’s student-run online news source TommieMedia and the School of Social Work’s Perspectives.

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