Brian Messing, Section Editor
As students returned from Christmas break and started classes this semester, they received an email from Saint Martin’s President Roy Heynderickx. The email, entitled “Letter from the President” opened with wishes from the President for academic success and a happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The email went on to discuss some news that Heynderickx received over break.
According to the email, “…SEIU withdrew its petition to represent Saint Martin’s contingent faculty and therefore the NLRB has administratively de-certified the election held in spring 2016.” This email comes as little surprise to the Saint Martin’s community as the Faculty Union Organizing Committee had sent an email to all faculty and staff on Sept. 27 of last year announcing the withdrawal of their petition to unionize through the NLRB.
The Belltower covered this development in our Oct. 16 issue from last year. This recent letter from President Heynderickx falls in line with what we discovered in our previous article. After interviewing several members of the Faculty Union Organizing Committee, the Belltower learned that faculty pursuing unionization would seek an alternative route outside of the NLRB.
Heynderickx continued his email to discuss how this most recent change would affect the community at Saint Martin’s. Heynderickx stated that despite the SEIU no longer representing the contingent faculty at Saint Martin’s, that the issues raised by the community would not go unanswered. Heynderickx noted that “The Abbey and the University have heard faculty’s concerns about compensation, working conditions and representation.” Heynderickx noted that he would continue to work with faculty and staff to make changes to normalize salaries per 3-credit hour classes as well as adding non-tenure track faculty to university and academic committees.
Heynderickx concluded his email by discussing Saint Martin’s mission to “educate and serve you, our students.” This email should serve as hope for contingent faculty affiliated with the union that their concerns have been heard and will be addressed, as relief for students who were unhappy with the situation caused by unionization, and pride for all as our school confronts its struggles through our Benedictine values, setting the stage for future success.