Universities exist primarily to educate students and to conduct research for the public good. We believe that the exchange between students and faculty is vital to the university’s education and research missions. This is true for all faculty and for all students, regardless of whether faculty are full-time or part-time, tenured or non-tenured. It is true regardless of the university’s size and age or the number and newness of its facilities. We claim the primacy and inseparability of teaching and research, and thus the primary value of the people who carry out this work. We are faculty of all ranks at the University of Pittsburgh. The University works because we do.
We are committed to working together for equity, job security, transparency, and workplace democracy. These values have been undermined by precarious employment, top-down decision-making, and policies that compromise the University’s core missions of teaching and research. Part-time faculty are paid poverty wages for contracts that terminate every semester. Full-time non-tenure stream faculty shoulder an increasingly disproportionate administrative burden. Tenured and tenure-track faculty are subject to constantly increasing research expectations. Entire departments—Classics, Religious Studies, and German—have received notice of their graduate programs’ suspension or closure with no consultation or effective recourse.
All of us share a lack of voice. When faculty experience unfair or discriminatory treatment, we have no access to an independent process through which to address it. Faculty across the University of Pittsburgh are told that to save our profession, we must make fundamental changes in how we work, but few of us have any meaningful say in what these changes should be or how they will be carried out.
We call for a union across all faculty ranks and campuses at the University of Pittsburgh. Our union will be a powerful means to achieve the core goals of equity, job security, transparency, and workplace democracy by acting collectively against precarious employment, and for the inclusion and empowerment of all people who work for the University of Pittsburgh, including people of color, women, LGBTQ* people, indigenous people, poor people, and people with disabilities.
Together, we can shape a more open and democratic future for education at the University of Pittsburgh, a future where faculty labor is valued and protected, and where all of us receive resources to create new knowledge and teach our students. We invite all faculty to join us in working for this future.