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truthoutAn adjunct professor who just helped lead a successful unionization effort at his university doesn’t understand why SEIU demanded $15,000 per course for adjunct professors during its unionization campaign but then told professors the demand was unrealistic.

For now, says SEIU, the $15,000 proposal will not necessarily serve as a benchmark in contract negotiations at individual schools where adjuncts have won unions. Some recently unionized adjuncts are balking, however, at a strategy of proposing one figure to the media while asking for substantially less at the bargaining table. At Bentley University, where adjuncts voted to unionize with SEIU last month, some faculty organizers say they were confused when the union rolled out the $15,000 proposal publicly, then told them that aiming for a pay increase of that magnitude in their upcoming contract negotiations was unrealistic.

“This doesn’t seem to square with the Faculty Forward initiative,” says Jack Dempsey, an adjunct professor of English at Bentley who helped lead the union drive. “Why should our own negotiators be telling us to settle before we even reach the bargaining table?”