We are the non-tenure track faculty at Skidmore College. Many of us serve in administrative roles, running programs and departments, offering events and coordinating community engagement. Like our tenure-line colleagues, we pursue our own research and creative agendas; our work appears in journals, galleries, and performance venues locally and nationwide. Our labor is an essential part of what makes Skidmore College the exceptional school and community it is.
Along with SEIU Local 200United and SEIU’s Faculty Forward movement we have come together to improve job security, ensure pay equity, and to ensure non-tenure track faculty have a voice on campus.
“I support a union for Skidmore NTT faculty because …. first-year writing courses should be taught by faculty who have job security and academic freedom. Almost all sections of English 103 and 105 are taught by faculty on precarious terminal contracts with no path to job security. That isn’t right. The faculty in this vital program need more support.”
Ruth McAdams, Teaching Professor, English
“Coming from a blue-collar family, I have seen the value of unions firsthand. My father and his union worked hard to negotiate for benefits, fair wages, and so much more. Because of those efforts, he was able to support our family while my mother went back to school to achieve her dreams. I will be so proud to call myself a union member someday soon!”
Jenessa Seymour, Visiting Assistant Professor, Psychology
“You might talk theoretically about community, but you can also put that concept into practice. So I stand with my colleagues because together we can make Skidmore an even better place in which to work and learn.”
Greg Spinner, Teaching Professor, Religious Studies
“In my seven years at Skidmore, I’ve had five different terminal contracts. I love my job and my students but it is frustrating and exhausting to live without job security. The students deserve professors who can plan ahead.”
Olivia Dunn, Teaching Professor, English
“I’m voting yes for a union because of my students. Our students chose Skidmore in part because they wanted to work closely with their professors, but the college’s current reliance on repeated short-term contracts is standing in the way of building those relationships. Students deserve faculty with job security, who aren’t constantly worried about whether or not they’ll be rehired next year. Joining SEIU will allow NTT faculty at Skidmore to negotiate for more secure positions – positions that offer us more security, and that offer our students a more stable, consistent learning environment.”
Eileen Sperry, Lecturer, English
“I support unionization because it will help give a voice to people who effectively have none. We’ve seen unionization bring better benefits, higher wages, and job security for faculty at other colleges. Forming a union will allow non-tenure track faculty to speak as one and advocate for those very things. It will also help recruit and retain diverse faculty while also allowing students to benefit from the stability which comes with the certainty of knowing one’s job next year is secure.”
Mike Paulmeno, Systems Librarian
“I have been an adjunct at Skidmore for 27 years. In all those years I have been on short-term contracts. No job security. No voice at the table. No salary equity. It’s time to change this because we all deserve a contract that reflects our labor value, I join my colleagues to unionize. I vote for strength in our solidarity, justice in our working conditions, and power in our voices.”
Diana Barnes, Senior Teaching Professor, World Languages and Literatures
“I support the union because NTT faculty make up an integral part of Skidmore’s educational mission. In fact, we are told by the administration that our value is immeasurable. I certainly don’t disagree, but I think we can come up with some measurable values—let’s start with a living wage and better contracts for the most vulnerable of us. In order to effect these changes, our voices need to be heard, and we need to take our place in the room when decisions about our employment are being made.”
Amy Oh, Teaching Professor, Classics
I am enormously proud that Skidmore’s non-tenure-track faculty have organized a union to address long-standing inequities and protect the most vulnerable among us. Our union will benefit the entire College community, and it represents an important and concrete step towards realizing our community’s commitment to justice. Hopefully, our success will inspire other NTT faculty to organize unions at their institutions. Together, we can end the precarious and unjust working conditions of non-tenure-track faculty.
Peter Murray, Teaching Professor, Philosophy
“I support unionization because faculty deserve a mechanism by which they can advocate for themselves and their community. Our students deserve teachers unencumbered by the anxiety and fear that arises from unfair labor practices. NTT faculty uphold the college’s mission of excellence in teaching, mentorship, and research while faced with stark inequities in job security, pay, and benefits. Forming a union is an opportunity to protect the most vulnerable among us, and a chance for our institution to put into practice its values and the values of the communities it serves. This is an opportunity to lead on issues affecting higher education as a whole and to demonstrate to our students that Skidmore recognizes and values the humanity of all on campus.”
Kristi Peterson, Visiting Assistant Professor, Art History
Upon my arrival at Skidmore College in September 2021, I was surprised to learn that I would not be able to join a union. After 34 years of union membership in New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and United University Professions (UUP), this news was disappointing. At every stage of my career, as a new teacher, a working parent, an educator during contentious political moments, and navigating retirement, I enjoyed the support, security, protection, and benefits of union representation and collective bargaining. I cannot imagine what my contracts at various institutions would have been without a union. I am grateful for the improved quality of life my family and I enjoyed thanks to NYSUT and UUP. Now, I look forward to joining my third union – the Service Employees International Union.
Visiting Assistant Professor,
I am very excited by this movement that is building nationally and at Skidmore College to address long standing inequities in wages and the distribution of labor for NTT faculty at campuses across the country. I am a full-time NTT faculty at Skidmore, but I started my academic career on semester contracts as an adjunct, and I believe that this movement will address these inequities starting with the most precariously employed. The academic hierarchy maintains that different job titles still dictate salary, while job expectations and work loads have become increasingly similar across positions, as colleges and universities fill long term staffing shortages with underpaid, short term contracts. Equal pay for equal labor!
John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative
I am a part of the NTT union because I am committed to improving job security and compensation for everyone at Skidmore. Not only do I believe that an NTT union can benefit all employees, I believe that our students’ conditions are improved by having a strong and stable faculty presence in the classroom and in administrative affairs.
Susan Blake, Visiting Assistant Professor, Philosophy