The Campaign for Just Employment Practices at LMU

A guest contribution from CLN Member Prof. Anna Harrison

The cry for just employment practices is ringing out on the campus of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. Non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty went public in November, 2023 with their unionizing effort. And LMU Solidarity/Solidaridad—an umbrella organization of students, staff, and faculty—is pleading with the administration to enact a just employment policy, modeled on the policy developed at Georgetown University.


Launching their movement’s website, NTT faculty — a majority of LMU’s faculty – announced:

Faculty at Loyola Marymount University are coming together to improve our campus and address multiple crises. For too long, faculty have been marginalized at LMU, with most relegated to contingent, non-tenure-track positions that offer low pay, inadequate benefits, no job security, no meaningful academic freedom, and no true opportunity to share governance with our administration. This is unjust and unfair, and we have had enough. We do the core work of our university, and we deserve respect.

Part-time and full time NTT faculty across all categories have aligned with SEIU Local 721 to demand job security, better pay, and improved access to professional development. Claiming their crucial role in their students’ education, NTT faculty and their supporters are likewise asserting what we should all have recognized all along: faculty working conditions are student learning conditions.

Ten years ago, LMU’s administration, under then President David Burcham, engaged in classic union-busting techniques that successfully quashed NTT faculty’s hopes for collective bargaining. This time around, LMU’s administration may encounter stronger and more widespread resistance. Students know the damage to their education that results when over half their faculty are routinely disregarded, left to work under conditions that undermine creative intellectual work in the classroom, and which limit their availability to meet students’ needs for advisors and mentors.


Following on a successful campaign waged with LMU’s facility’s management workers that enacted a minimum wage of $21.00, LMU Solidarity/Solidaridad is urging the adoption of just employment practices to extend to all employees on campus, including those employed by outside contractors. On November 14, 2023, students took advantage of University President Timothy Law Snyder’s convocation address to distribute informational flyers to those assembled. They reminded LMU that as wealth inequality in the United States continues to spiral, institutions of higher education are no exceptions to the larger trend. And even as the numbers and salaries of the LMU’s top administrators balloon, too many staff and faculty live paycheck to paycheck and have difficulty affording groceries, transportation, and rent in one of the most expensive regions in the country.

LMU Solidarity/Solidaridad proposes a just employment policy (like that which Georgetown University adopted) as a means to heal hurtful labor practices. Animating principles include a living wage, a preference for full-time employees and employee continuity, and freedom of association—no union busting. LMU Solidarity/Solidaridad insists: “LMU has a choice to make. As a Jesuit university committed to the service of faith the promotion of justice, we have the opportunity to teach solidarity by example, or we can remain yet one more player increasing economic inequality.” Meanwhile, LMU’s Faculty Senate and the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts’ College Council both ratified motions signaling their support of the University’s adoption of a just employment policy. Further actions are planned, including bringing attention to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, whose goals of combating climate change LMU has committed to advancing, and which insists on an integral ecology that joins care of our common home with the repairing of human relationships and that “to stop investing in people, in order to gain greater short-term financial gain, is bad business for society.”

Can you help? President Timothy Law Snyder needs to hear that Catholic Social Teaching is on the side of those organizing. Email [email protected]!