A union at Seattle University, finally.
A union at Seattle University, finally. Seattle.gov

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After a two year delay caused by resistance from the university, adjunct faculty at Seattle University won a union today after their votes were counted by the National Labor Relations Board.

The vote was 73 to 63 to join Service Employees International Union 925.

In a statement, the union said the faculty had joined a movement around "winning better pay, improved working conditions, professional recognition and support from their employers."

Adjunct faculty—professors who are not tenure-track and often employed on a part-time basis—make up a majority of higher education instructors in the country and often face low wages.

University management had claimed it was exempt from federal labor rules because Seattle University—a Catholic college—is a religious institution.

"This is a culmination of a lot of hard word and it is a dream come true!" said adjunct faculty member Julie Harms Cannon."

Seattle University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Students who occupied the university's humanities college, ultimately winning the resignation of a dean they blamed for marginalizing students of color, had also called on the university to allow faculty to unionize.

Researchers have found strong connections between between the proliferation of unions, a thriving middle class and intergenerational income mobility.