Skip to main content

Non-tenure faculty vote against union representation

- The following message was delivered Oct. 9 from Provost Jonathan Holloway to members of the Northwestern faculty.

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

I am writing to inform you that the remaining 25 votes cast by our Northwestern non-tenure-eligible faculty members in a July 2016 election were counted today, and a final count showed that a majority of participating faculty from six schools have voted against representation by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). 

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C., recently granted Northwestern’s request that the last 25 ballots be reviewed and tallied. As you may recall, the counting of these last ballots had been challenged by the SEIU.

The six Northwestern schools involved are the Bienen School of Music, the School of Communication, the School of Education and Social Policy, the McCormick School of Engineering, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

When the final votes were counted at the NLRB Chicago regional office, there were 23 no votes and 2 yes votes. With those votes counted, the overall result of the vote by non-tenure-eligible faculty from the six schools showed 242 against and 231 in favor of the union, defeating the bid for these faculty to join the SEIU.

An initial count of the ballots in 2016 was not conclusive because of challenges to a number of the ballots. Since then, the NLRB had been deliberating the University’s request to have all the ballots counted, including those challenged by the SEIU. The vote would have affected approximately 700 non-tenure-track faculty in the six schools at Northwestern. 

The University is grateful to the NLRB for ensuring that all the votes were counted and that every voice was heard. We appreciate that our faculty participated in the process and acknowledge how close the election was in the end.

We greatly value our non-tenure-eligible faculty and will continue to work hard to make Northwestern an exceptional place for them and for all of our faculty.  The University has been and remains committed to cultivating its relationship with its non-tenure-track faculty and improving the work environment for all faculty members, including non-tenure-eligible faculty.

At times like these, it is worth remembering that first and foremost, we all share an abiding commitment to the education of our students. Let us continue to work together toward that end.


Jonathan Holloway
Provost and Professor

Editor's Picks

Back to top