We are organizing a union because we heard too many stories of non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty at Skidmore being given terminal one-year contracts for ten years and more in a row, despite filling obviously long-term curricular needs. Lacking any assurance of future employment, faculty on iterative contracts must constantly be on the job market, drawing their attention away from their classes and making them less available to students. The college relies heavily on NTT labor, yet does little to mitigate the precarity of their employment.
We are organizing a union because we heard too many stories about instructors working very hard for too little pay. NTT faculty not only mentor students and take on advisees, some are asked to chair departments and programs, and many maintain their own highly productive academic research programs, despite not being compensated for that work. There are full-time faculty at Skidmore struggling to make ends meet: to pay for rent, for groceries, for childcare. Some full-time faculty take on additional jobs in order to afford living in Saratoga Springs. The situation for part-time faculty is often more dire, and some Skidmore instructors rely on WIC benefits (federal aid for supplemental nutrition services) to survive.
We are organizing a union because although these stories are anonymous, they reflect the widespread reality of our colleagues. While the exploitative working conditions outlined here do not represent everybody’s experience as NTT faculty, we believe that nobody should have to tell these kinds of stories. Hoping to make this narrative a thing of the past, we move forward together by forming a union.