School of Medicine Faculty File for Union Election

Dozens of tenured and tenure-track educators petition to join FacultyForward/SEIU


MEDFORD, MA – Faculty at the Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) filed a formal petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) late Friday, seeking to join Faculty Forward – a division of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509. The election would join more than 70 assistant, associate and full professors at the School of Medicine with unionized part- and full-time colleagues at Tufts and other campuses throughout Greater Boston – including Boston University, Lesley, Northeastern and Bentley.

“Within Boston’s high profile, high intensity biomedical research and education world, Tufts University School of Medicine has had a long-standing reputation for collegiality as well as excellence. As we recover from a tough economic decade, our goal is to grow that reputation,” said Henry Wortis, Professor of Integrated Physiology and Pathobiology. “Partnering with a 21st century forward-looking union like SEIU will ensure that the faculty’s voice retains its rightful place in School leadership, so we can all continue to serve effectively the research and teaching mission of Tufts University School of Medicine.”

The election petition among tenured and tenure-track faculty at TUSM marks the latest milestone in the growing faculty union movement in Massachusetts – with more than 3,200 educators now joined in a shared effort to raise standards and improve the overall quality of higher education through unionization. Whether employed on a contingent, contract or tenure-track basis, thousands of faculty here and across the country have come together in recent months to address worsening challenges around educators’ working conditions and overall voice in the decision-making process.

“We hope that a union will build a new sense of community at the Tufts University School of Medicine in which all faculty can better contribute to the shared mission of educating the next generation of physicians and scientists,” said Amy Yee, Professor of Developmental, Molecular and Chemical Biology. “We hope to have a real voice in the decisions that matter most for faculty and, importantly, for our students. Together, we look forward to building a brighter future for the School of Medicine and Tufts University.”

Following consultation with Tufts University administrators and affected faculty at the School of Medicine, balloting details for a faculty union vote will be determined by the National Labor Relations Board office in Boston in the coming weeks.

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SEIU Local 509 represents more than 19,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including more than 3,200 non-tenure track faculty in Greater Boston. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities — as well as educational opportunities from early learning to higher education. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. For more information, visit