Contract Highlights From George Washington University, American University, Montgomery College
Currently, SEIU Local 500 represents the part-time faculty in four institutions of higher education for the purposes of collective bargaining – the George Washington University, Montgomery College, American University and Georgetown University. Collective bargaining agreements are in place at George Washington University, Montgomery College, and American University. Adjuncts at Georgetown University began negotiating their first contract in summer 2013. This document summarizes the key improvements in each contract.
1. Salary Increases- all adjuncts in each institution have received pay increases since the formation of their union.
GWU – The first contract established minimum rates per course (a floor not a ceiling). Many adjuncts received a 30 percent increase or more. Currently, the minimum rate for a 3-credit course is $3,500 for lecturers without a terminal degree in their field. There is a higher minimum rate for part-time faculty members who have a terminal degree in the field in which they teach – $4,030 per course currently. Applied Music faculty receive a 50% increase.
Montgomery College – Since forming their union in 2008, part-time faculty at Montgomery College have seen a 14 percent 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.
American University – Minimum rates per course established by first contract, with the lowest paid seeing significant increase. Currently, the minimum rate for a 3-credit course is $3,450 for lecturers without a terminal degree in their field. There is a higher minimum rate for part-time faculty members who have a terminal degree in the field in which they teach – $4,000 per course currently. Applied Music professors receive a 43% increase.
2. Job security – through protections on being re-appointed, access to academic freedom, and a “just cause” standard on discipline and dismissal part-time faculty are now much more secure in their jobs.
GWU – Part-time faculty can only be denied reappointment to courses they have previously taught (4 times) under limited, specified circumstances. These circumstances include elimination or down-sizing of departments, elimination of courses due to changes in curricular requirements, or demonstrated inferior job performance. Notifications of assignments made as early as possible
Montgomery College – Part-time faculty members who have taught for 4 semesters may be denied reassignment of courses only in limited circumstances and are re-appointed for at least their existing course load. Such circumstances include elimination or downsizing of a department or program, unsatisfactory performance, or other academic, fiscal, programmatic or organizational changes made by the College. 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.
American University – Part-time faculty members who have taught a course three times are re-appointed to those assignments except in certain circumstances. Those circumstances surround 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.
GWU, Montgomery College and American U. – Establishment of a ‘just cause’ standard for discipline and dismissal. This means that the employer must provide substantial evidence of wrong doing 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.
GWU and American U. – Part-time faculty are guaranteed the same academic freedom as full-time faculty.
3. Professional Development Funds help adjuncts attend conferences and grow as teachers
GWU, Montgomery College and American U.
Each contract creates a professional development fund for part-time faculty through which they may apply for reimbursement for professional development opportunities related to teaching: GW – up to $600 per person until June 2014. Montgomery College – up to $600 per person per academic year. American U. – up to $550 per person per academic year
4. Fair and Transparent Evaluations protect part-time faculty from capricious treatment
GWU, Montgomery College and American U. – Student feedback alone cannot be used to judge a part-time faculty members 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.
5. Labor-Management Collaboration committees provide a forum on-going problem solving
GWU, Montgomery College and American U. –
On-going Labor-Management committees at each institution create a collaborative and productive arena to address issues of concern to part-time faculty above and beyond the collective bargaining process.
6. Supports for teaching give adjuncts the tools they need to do their jobs well
GWU, Montgomery College and American U. – 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.
7. Other Gains
Montgomery College – Paid personal, court attendance, and bereavement leave. Access to College Wellness program and Flexible Spending Accounts. Transparency around rank assignment.
GWU. – 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.
American U. – 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.