Adjuncts unionize at MICA

According to — and a friend of mine on Facebook — adjunct professors at Maryland Institute College of Art voted in favor of forming a union yesterday, making them the first at a four-year institution in the state to do so.

The petition to unionize was filed on March 7 by the Service Employees Internation Union. On March 19, MICA president Fred Lazarus sent a memo around to “members of the MICA community” warning adjuncts that the decision to unionize “is a critical decision that will impact the entire College” and that the “busiest [period] of the year” is the wrong time to decide. He advised adjuncts to “vote against unionization at this time” and bring it back up next year. (I can only he assume he gave a big wink after writing that.)

It was the same day that City Paper ran a cover story on the unionization efforts that detailed the uncertainty and low pay that come with adjuncting at MICA and how that picture has worsened over time.

On April 3, United Students Against Sweatshops claimed on its website that Lazarus and department chairs had been using a range of tactics to “intimidate” adjunct faculty into abandoning unionization efforts. If that’s true, then it must have only underscored the need for a union.