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Faculty at Hagerstown Community College to Unionize with AFT Maryland



Faculty at Hagerstown Community College have declared their intention to unionize and affiliate with American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Maryland. Earlier today, faculty members and AFT Maryland officials filed unionization cards with the Maryland Public Employees Labor Relations Board. Once certified, the faculty will be a part of the United Academics of Maryland - Hagerstown, affiliated with the AFT Maryland, AFT, AAUP, and AFL-CIO. This effort continues AFT’s engagement with organizing higher education workers. The organizing has taken off since AFT and AAUP affiliated in 2022. Unionization provides faculty with an organized body to participate in the decision making process of the college. Many longtime faculty members are excited about a chance to collaborate with administrators to demonstrate their knowledge and move Hagerstown Community College forward. 

“Over the years, the degree to which the collective content expertise and professional insights of the Hagerstown Community College Faculty have been welcomed, valued, and incorporated into academic decisions - that are rightly within our purview - has been eroded. We are, in part, taking this collective action to restore the import of the Faculty body in those decisions and ensure HCC provides a teaching and learning environment that will secure an academic future that is as strong as its stellar academic legacy,” said Tom Crawford, a professor of Math.  

Lore Kuehnert, a professor of History commented “I support our faculty unionizing at HCC because current classroom experience and subject matter expertise matter in planning for the future of our college. Through collective bargaining I want to strengthen faculty member's ability to advocate effectively for our students and our community.”

Faculty on campus understand the unique contribution unionizing can make to enriching the academic experience of students, and academic inquiry of educators. “A union is not just about negotiations and contracts. It's more about safeguarding the heart of academia. It's about ensuring that every educator has a voice, fair treatment, and the freedom to pursue their own proficiency and research. Together, we fortify the foundation of higher education, nurturing an environment where faculty can excel, students can thrive and the pursuit of knowledge has no bounds," said Dawn Nally, a professor of Nursing.

Hagerstown Community College marks the fifth community college in the state to organize and affiliate with AFT Maryland through the United Academics Maryland. AFT Maryland President Kenya Campbell sees the state federation’s growth as an example of the growing movement for worker power taking place across the country. “Now more than ever, workers across every industry are recognizing how important their job is and are realizing that unionization is the best way to ensure their voices are heard in the workplace. The goals of higher education are consistent with other public employees that we represent in that our members are dedicated to public goods and services that enrich the lives of everyone in our community,” said Campbell. 


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