SEIU represents over 21,000 adjunct and contingent faculty nationwide, including adjunct faculty in the California State University system. Contract language is negotiated by a bargaining team made up of members and an experienced negotiator, with legal counsel. Contract priorities are determined before negotiations begin through bargaining surveys and group discussions. Here are just a few highlights of what these unionized educators have been able to achieve through collective bargaining:
Salary Increases: All adjuncts in each institution have received pay increases since the formation of their union.
Pay per course for adjuncts will be raised by 22-40% over the next 3 years, with a floor of $7,300 per course by September 2016. They will also be paid for work done outside of teaching, such as advising and mentoring.
First contract guarantees a minimum compensation rate of $4,700 by the end of the contract, an improvement over the current rate, and will also receive bonuses for longevity. They cannot be required to perform work for which they are not compensated.
California State University (CSU):
Salary schedule in place, with minimum rates and range elevations for lecturers. Everyone receives across-the-board COLAs when they have been bargained into contract. If a class is cancelled after meeting at least three times, lecturers are paid for the semester; otherwise they are paid pro-rata.
George Washington University (GWU):
The first contract established minimum rates per course (a floor, not a ceiling). Many adjuncts received a 30% increase or more.
Since forming their union in 2008, part-time faculty at Montgomery College have seen a 14% increase in pay. In 2013, they are entering into negotiations with the College to establish a framework for reaching pay parity with the full-time faculty over a number of years.
Minimum rates per course established by first contract, with the lowest paid seeing significant increase. There is a higher minimum rate for part-time faculty members who have a terminal degree in the field in which they teach. Applied Music professors receive $60 per hour - increased from an average of $42 prior to the contract.
Job Security: Through protections on being reappointed, access to academic freedom, and longer contracts, part-time faculty are now much more secure in their jobs.
All adjuncts with less than 5 years will receive one-year appointments. At 5 years, they will receive two-year appointments, and after 8 years, 3-year appointments. They will enjoy the same academic freedom as tenure-line professors.
Adjuncts who have taught a specific course for at least 2 calendar years and a minimum of 4 times within 4 calendar years must be reappointed to teach the same course except in very limited circumstances, and in specific cases with 75% compensation for the course. Adjuncts will enjoy the same academic freedom as all faculty members.
Lecturers teaching at least one class per year for 6 years are entitled to a 3-year contract, which also gives top priority of available classes. Lecturers can also get an annual contract depending on availability of classes.
Part-time faculty members who have taught for 4 semesters may be denied reassignment of courses they have previously taught (4 times) only in limited, specified circumstances, including elimination or downsizing of departments, elimination of courses dues to changes in curricular requirements, or demonstrated inferior job performance. Notification of assignments is made as early as possible. Guarantees in contract that part-time faculty enjoy same academic freedom as full-time faculty.
Part-time faculty members who have taught for 4 semesters may be denied reassignment of courses only in limited circumstances (elimination or downsizing of a department or program, unsatisfactory performance, or other academic, fiscal, programmatic or organizational changes made by the College) and are reappointed for at least their existing course load. Notification of assignments made in April for fall and November for spring semesters. Part-time faculty members who have taught a minimum for seven semesters may apply for an annual appointment for at least their existing course load.
Part-time faculty members who have taught a course three times are reappointed to those assignments except in certain circumstances: program or departmental downsizing, absorption of the course by a full-time faculty member, course cancellation for under-enrollment, or misconduct. Notification of assignments are made in a timely manner. Guarantees in contract that part-time faculty enjoy same academic freedom as full-time faculty.
Tufts, Georgetown, GWU, Montgomery College and American U.:
There is a ‘just cause’ standard for discipline and dismissal. This means that the employer must provide substantial evidence of wrongdoing to justify discipline or dismissal, and must not act in an arbitrary, capricious or illegal manner. Prior to these contracts, a part-time faculty member could be dismissed for any or no reason whatsoever. Disputes over discipline or dismissal may be resolved through “binding arbitration” by a neutral third party.
Benefits, Perks and Supports:
Part-time faculty may receive funding for professional development up to $500 per year. Adjuncts with 3-year appointments will receive full pay for a cancelled class. Adjuncts will be given special consideration and guaranteed interviews for full-time positions; if they do not get the position, they are guaranteed a meeting with dean or department chair to find out why.
Adjunct faculty who have taught the same course at least 4 times in 4 calendar years are eligible for up to $600 reimbursement for professional development. They are eligible to participate in a voluntary retirement plan. Adjuncts will be paid $300 for a course cancelled within 21 calendar days before classes begin.
Lecturers teaching more than 6 months at 40% (2 classes of 3 units) are entitled to health benefits and retirement (PERS), even in their first year. Lecturers teaching at least 6 weighted teaching units during the entire summer term will receive a $400 monthly stipend for any pay period in which they were not eligible for health benefits, provided they were enrolled in CalPERS health benefits the preceding semester.
Paid personal, court attendance, and bereavement leave. Access to College Wellness program and Flexible Spending Accounts. Transparency around rank assignment. Access to materials, supplies, services and administrative support needed to teach courses. Access to computer work stations, reimbursements for classroom and other teaching-related expenses. Up to $600 reimbursement per academic year for teaching-related professional development opportunities.
Access to non-contributory retirement plan and SmartBenefits. Course reduction fee of 20% of course rate if your course is cancelled 21 days or less before the start of classes. Same access to pool and gym as full-time faculty. Access to materials, supplies, services and administrative support needed to teach courses. Access to computer work stations, reimbursements for classroom and other teaching-related expenses. Up to $600 reimbursement for teaching-related professional development opportunities.
Access to professional development opportunities, non-contributory retirement plan, and compensation for non-teaching duties. Course reduction fee of $300 if course is cancelled within three weeks of the start of classes. Funds available for developing new courses. Access to materials, supplies, services and administrative support needed to teach courses. Access to computer work stations, reimbursements for classroom and other teaching-related expenses. Up to $550 reimbursement per academic year for teaching-related professional development.
Fair and Transparent Evaluations: Contract language protects part-time faculty from capricious treatment.
A transparent evaluation process is laid out in the contract; lecturers are given all evaluation criteria no later than 14 days after the beginning of the term, and the procedures and criteria may not be changed once the evaluation process has begun. Lecturers may include any documentation they wish to be reviewed for their evaluation, and may write a rebuttal to a recommendation following an evaluation. Lecturers are notified before any materials are placed in their personnel file and are given copies of the materials 5 days before they are placed in the file; the lecturer may request a meeting before those materials are placed in the file. Lecturers have access to their personnel file.
Tufts, Georgetown, GWU, Montgomery College and American U.:
Student feedback alone cannot be used to judge a part-time faculty member’s performance, and negative student reviews cannot be the sole basis for dismissal or non-renewal. Other materials and evidence of good teaching and scholarship may be submitted as part of the evaluation and the part-time faculty member may receive a classroom observation. Part-time faculty members have to right to respond to their evaluations and discuss them with their department chairs.
Part-time faculty members are notified about any concerns regarding their performance, and are given the opportunity to address those concerns.