Writing Faculty United Requests Recognition of Unionization in Petition to Administration

WFU, representing social sciences core writing advisors, humanities core writing specialists, Little Red Schoolhouse lectors, and writing and research advisors, calls for job security, better pay and benefits, and transparency.


Adyant Kanakamedala

The south face of Harper Library.

By Casey Kim

Writing Faculty United (WFU) members submitted a petition to University administration requesting voluntary recognition on Friday, April 28. The union represents social sciences core (Sosc) writing advisors, humanities core (Hum) writing specialists, advanced writing course Little Red Schoolhouse lectors, and writing and research advisors in the English department.

The letter calls for improved job security, pay, and benefits, as well as transparency, recognition, and a voice in how writing instruction is conceived and executed.

“When it comes to the aims of the union, I tend to think of it as having two key components,” Hum Writing Specialist Cameron Powell told The Maroon. “One component is the bread and butter issues. For example, our members struggle with only having marginal job security, our pay is not kept up with inflation.”

Writing Specialist Elizabeth Fielder, who has been working as a full-time specialist at the University for the past four years, expressed her concerns about the declining working conditions and lack of pay adjustment to inflation. Fielder said she seeks to help represent all writing instructional staff who are not yet represented by Graduate Students United or Faculty Forward, the non-tenure track faculty union.

“We are all people who teach writing or do classroom instruction in some form and are assigned to classes,” Fielder said.

According to Writing Specialist Sarah Osment, 88.64 percent of the people who would be represented by the union have signed the unionization cards calling for reclassification to faculty instead of staff.

“We are currently on year-to-year contracts, and I’m hoping we can gain more job security with multi-year contracts,” Osment said. “We bring a ton of expertise, and we’d like our compensation and positions to reflect that. We’d also like to have greater say in how writing is taught at the University. We want transparency and equity across the writing staff.”

The second component of the demand, as Powell explained, touches on demands regarding equity, democracy, and transparency.

“As members of the on-campus community, it is important to us to have our voices heard,” he said. “We want to be part of that conversation and be involved in those decisions with other stakeholders and not just receive them.”

Correction, May 16, 1:05 p.m.: A previous version of this article included statements from members of WFU incorrectly claiming that Sosc writing advisors could opt to be classified as full-time employees. Sosc writing advisors are appointed quarterly and are thus ineligible for classification as full-time employees.