new job security protections and 14% AVERAGE raises over 3 years

(Moraga, CA) – Saint Mary’s College adjunct professors ratified their first ever three-year agreement on Wednesday, May 20. The new agreement makes major gains in fair compensation, rewards for work experience and job security.

The major gains in the three-year contract include:


  • Adjuncts gain strong job security protections. St. Mary’s College adjuncts have had no guarantee of work from semester to semester. This agreement guarantees one- to three-year teaching contracts with a teaching load based on a rolling three-year average of courses taught. The agreement outlines a transparent, seniority-based system for assigning available courses. The agreement also includes just cause for discipline or termination.


  • Adjuncts win academic advancement opportunities. An automatic semi-finalist interview for tenure-track job openings, preference and stability for internal candidates for salaried full-time adjunct positions, and professional development grants.
  • Adjuncts win improved compensation. Raises of 12-20% to the per-course rates over three years, plus step advancements. Special compensation rates including $150 minimum for substitute teaching, course cancellation payments, $750 per unit for new course development, and $35/hour for other service as assigned.


  • Adjuncts and students earn improved teaching conditions. Performance evaluation process, a peer feedback, and a support system to ensure the development of high quality teaching with real job security.

The ratified agreement ends a two-year effort by 400 lecturers and adjunct faculty at St. Mary’s College, who voted to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 Faculty Forward in December 2014, and began contract negotiations in February 2015.


"We went into contract negotiations seeking job security, as well as a path or advancement. We fought for and won better pay and better access to benefits. Each of us will now receive the respect due to a professional educator, and never again will SMC get away with treating us like we’re disposable," said Lain Hart, St Mary’s faculty.


The settlement at St. Mary’s College marks the third union contract ratified by adjunct professors among the seven private Bay Area colleges newly organized by the SEIU 1021: Mills College, Dominican University, Notre Dame de Namur University, Holy Names University, California College of the Arts, and the San Francisco Art Institute. All of the colleges or universities listed are currently or headed to contract negotiations. The seven colleges and universities employ over 1700 adjuncts in five counties, who have joined with SEIU 1021 and the national Faculty Forward movement to address deteriorating working conditions in higher education.

"The union is not some mysterious third party that effects changes from without. We all are the union. Yes, it will take some time for all of us to realize how strong we are as a union, but I have absolutely no doubt that at the end of our metamorphosis, we will emerge positive and energized," said Rali Christo St. Mary’s faculty.



SEIU Local 1021 represents over 50,000 public sector and private nonprofit workers across Northern California. Faculty Forward Northern California is a local arm of the nationwide Faculty Forward campaign. Our goal: to raise standards in higher education and improve student-learning conditions by organizing full-time and adjunct faculty.