Recently, Ellen Martins, a 28-year adjunct faculty member of the Music Department at UMass Lowell, and president of her union, received notification that her contract will not be renewed for the 2013-2014 school year. A temporary, non-union position has been created to replace Ms. Martins. Though qualified, Martins was not given the opportunity to apply nor to be considered for the position. She also was not offered substitute courses, as had been the practice at UML. It is important to note that Martins helped lead the fight to unionize the adjunct faculty of UMass Lowell and has been outspoken in defense of aggrieved union members.
As part of our organizing principles, PHENOM believes that colleges and universities should respect the autonomy of campus governance bodies, particularly student and worker organizations, and increase democracy on campus and throughout public higher education. We believe the firing of union President Ellen Martins to be in conflict with this tenet. As such, we support her in her quest for reinstatement at UMass Lowell.
We encourage our members to express support for Ellen Martins by visiting the UML Union of Adjunct Faculty page on Facebook and signing an on-line letter by Jobs with Justice to President Caret of the UMass System, and Chancellor Meehan and Provost Abdelala of UML.
See also an article Ms. Martins wrote for PHENOM’s newsletter last year about adjunct organizing at UMass Lowell.