My name is Christopher Shreve, and I’m an instructor in the Biology Department. As you may have heard, contingent faculty at Duke have formed a union to help represent our collective interests in maintaining the high standards in education at Duke University. Through our union, we aim to make the processes for promotion and retention clearer and more consistent, to improve benefits and job security, and to establish a more forthright relationship with the University’s administration.
While some of my colleagues here at Duke initially felt they had no need for a union, after even a short conversation, they realized that their good fortune was not guaranteed to them or to anyone else who might follow in their tracks. That’s why we came together, and, by a vote of 174 to 29, agreed to represent our colleague’s interests as well as our own through collective bargaining with the University.
The sciences, both natural and social, are firmly committed to improving the working conditions of teachers in the humanities, and vice versa. As we begin our bargaining discussions, we are reminded that each department has its own character and its own needs and standards, but we have chosen to come together and combine our efforts to ensure that all faculty are treated fairly and with respect.
I’m excited that graduate student employees at Duke are considering joining us by uniting with SEIU Graduate Workers Forward. Together we are stronger!