Adjunct film professors at USC move to unionize: 'Enough is enough'


Adjunct professors at the University of Southern California’s prestigious film school are moving to unionize in pursuit of higher pay, benefits, better working conditions, expanded career opportunities and other demands.

The college’s Adjunct Faculty Alliance-UAW announced that its colleagues at the USC School of Cinematic Arts will march Wednesday to the provost’s office and deliver a letter of request for their union to be recognized.

In a news release, the AFA-UAW accused the film school of preventing its adjunct professors from teaching more than one class “to avoid providing health and other benefits.” The alleged class cuts have resulted in a “severe” loss of pay, the alliance said.

Other grievances outlined in the announcement include “low, fixed wages, gender disparity in divisions, lack of diversity school-wide, no clear path to full-time, expecting adjuncts to work unpaid on committees, training, meetings, etc.”

Adjunct professors make up approximately 75% of the film school faculty, according to the alliance, and specialize in a wide range of subjects, including screenwriting, producing, film editing, sound design, animation and cinematography.

“SCA Adjuncts are recognized creatives in their fields. They teach the majority of both undergraduate and graduate courses and are advisors, mentors, and often counselors. Students depend on adjuncts and they are often students’ first adult role models after leaving home,” the news release states.

“Adjuncts love what they do, love USC and the students, and want to continue to provide the excellence both the students and the school deserve. However, USC is severely hindering the adjuncts’ ability to do their job with new and existing policies. … Enough is enough.”

A spokesperson for USC was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

Earlier this week, about 3,000 graduate student workers at USC averted a strike by reaching a tentative labor agreement with the university that includes wage increases and anti-harassment protections.

“Graduate student workers’ first contract will improve the lives of thousands of workers at USC and create a culture of accountability,” said Stepp Mayes, a fifth-year doctoral student in environmental engineering and a bargaining team member. “This agreement marks the beginning of a stronger USC.”

Times staff writer Teresa Watanabe contributed to this report.



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