US Conference of Bishops Statement Supports Adjunct Union at Duquesne

PITTSBURGH–(ENEWSPF)–August 31, 2012.  In the spirit of the Labor Day Statement delivered by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Adjuncts Association will distribute flyers at Monday’s parade asking Duquesne to treat all faculty members with dignity and to recognize their union. 

The Conference of Catholic Bishops points out that millions of workers, like adjuncts, “are underemployed; they are willing and able to work full time, but there are not enough jobs available.”  And, “they work hard, but their jobs do not pay enough to meet their basic needs.”  The statement continues, “Many are forced to work second or third jobs, which places further strain on their children’s well-being, and millions of young adults are denied the ability to begin families.”  The statement describes perfectly the working conditions of adjunct faculty members, who often work multiple jobs or teach at multiple universities to make ends meet (many take on double the course load of full-time faculty). 

The flyer distributed at the parade will share information on adjuncts’ wages and lack of access to healthcare, as well as some words from the Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2004): “They commit a grave injustice who refuse to pay a just wage,” and because labor unions ensure that workers are paid a “just wage” they are an “indispensable element of social life.” 

According to the Bishop’s Conference, unions represent “the traditional Catholic principles of solidarity and subsidiarity in action,” and they, “[bring] workers together to speak and act collectively to protect their rights and pursue the common good.” 

The adjuncts make up a strong majority of the faculty workforce at Duquesne, especially in the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts where adjunct faculty members have formed a union under the United Steelworkers.  

Even though some adjunct faculty members have taught at Duquesne since the 1980’s, before students in this year’s incoming freshmen were born, they’re called “Ad-hoc” by University President Charles Dougherty. 

The union’s flyer asks supporters to call Dougherty’s office to express their support for the adjuncts’ right to organize for just wages, health care and the resources needed to serve Duquesne’s educational mission.  

The USW represents about 850,000 working men and women in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tires and rubber to the public sector, education, clerical, service workers and health care industries.