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Non-Negotiable: Adjunct Parity in the Next PSC-CUNY Contract
A Joint Statement by the PSC GC Adjunct Committee, the Adjunct Project, and CUNY Struggle
January 30, 2017
Adjunct parity can mean either a complete end to the multi-tier system of faculty labor (such as in the case of Vancouver Community College, where all faculty do the same work, have the same working conditions, and are on the same salary schedule, pro-rated for those working less than full time) or a pro-rata salary schedule for “part-time” faculty so that their wages are in proportion to that of full-time lecturers (as in the case of the California State University). Although many of us would like to see the “Vancouver model” in place at the City University of New York, where adjuncts make roughly 29% to 38% of full-time salaries, have little to no job security, and are largely sidelined from service and research, we recognize that the U.S. labor context and the much-larger scale of CUNY complicate the achievement of that goal.
Nevertheless, as we—a group of graduate students at the Graduate Center working as both graduate assistants and adjuncts—have discussed adjunct parity over the last few months, we have come to agreement on the following bottom-line, non-negotiable demands for the upcoming round of bargaining vis-à-vis the expiration of the current PSC-CUNY contract in November 2017:
- A pro-rata salary schedule for all part-time faculty in proportion to the full-time lecturer salary schedules, with a minimum salary of $7,000 per three-credit course;
- Genuine job security in the form of a seniority system based on date of original appointment and the number of credits taught over time;
- Representation of part-time faculty and graduate employees on the bargaining committee in proportion to their numbers in the overall bargaining unit.
Although the first two demands would not end the multi-tier system of faculty labor at CUNY, they would produce substantial movement toward parity between the salary and job security of part-time and full-time faculty. The last demand, meanwhile, would produce parity in the bargaining committee, which we hope would help the overall bargaining committee hold fast to the first two demands.
Graduate Center Graduate Assistants and Adjuncts of:
the PSC GC Adjunct Committee
the Adjunct Project
Did you know that if you adjunct even a single class, you are eligible to enroll in the Teacher’s Retirement System, New York City’s defined benefit pension? Read more about the benefit on the PSC website.
Applying is relatively easy. Here is the application you need to get started.
Also, once you are enrolled, please note that you are eligible for the Tax Deferred Annuity account, which offers an 8% return.
If you have any questions, please reach out to the PSC and ask for the benefits office: 212-354-1252
*Note: If you just learned about this benefit but have been an adjunct professor for years, you are allowed to “buy back” past years of service.
There are five committees that have been formed which any chapter member can join: the Adjunct Organizing Committee, the Contract and Grievance Committee, the Internal Organizing and Steward Committee, Legislative and Elections Committee, the Solidarity Committee. You can find brief descriptions of each of them here. Please reach out the the point person associated with each committee if you’d like to get involved!
Dear PSC Members –
On September 22-23, 2016, the Graduate Center chapter of the PSC along with six other PSC chapters (Bronx Community College, LaGuardia College, City College, Brooklyn College, and College of Staten Island), the First Fridays Committee and the Adjunct Project, organized a public meeting and workshop series entitled “Contingent Labor in a Time of Austerity.” We invited an adjunct organizer from the California Faculty Association, Jonathan Karpf, to speak on how the California Faculty Association won contractual language for pay parity and job security for lecturers (the CSU designation for all non-tenure track faculty) in the California State University system.
At the public meeting, Jonathan described how the CFA mobilized mass demonstrations to coincide with collective bargaining, which brought together lecturers, tenure-line faculty, and students to flex the muscles of organized labor in the CSU system. Lecturers built solidarity with tenure-line faculty through an “inside/outside strategy:” lecturers first organized themselves, then gained the respect of tenure-line faculty by serving in indispensable roles such as leading informational workshops on the contract and union pension plan. Jonathan highlighted the importance of working with students to ensure that administrators do not attempt to divide and conquer by pitting student tuitions against faculty pay. In fact, CFA employs two full-time staff organizers who oversee a robust student internship program. Many students who participated in this program have gone on to become labor organizers. Furthermore, the full-time staffers have given much-needed material support to ongoing adjunct organizing efforts. CFA also found it effective to focus on adjunct job security as the basis upon which other demands for parity and equity could be made. Jonathan’s talk led to a lively discussion, and we could feel a sense of forward momentum in the room.
The workshops were a natural outgrowth of the insights we gained from the CFA struggle, adapted for the CUNY and New York City-specific context. The activists who attended these workshops shared their ideas for building adjunct power in the CUNY system, which we documented in a list of priorities and strategies that to help center our work for the coming years. The workshops also facilitated cross-campus coordination by bringing in leaders from the different colleges into face-to-face contact to discuss current strategies and collectively craft plans for future work. The strategies document created at the workshops accompanies this report, along with Jonathan’s Powerpoint presentation, which highlights the timeline of the CFA struggle, the tactics they employed, and the contract that they won out of their struggle for adjunct parity and job security. We hope union members and our allies will find these resources useful for adjunct-oriented organizing on CUNY campuses and beyond.
Graduate Center PSC Adjunct Organizing Committee
Graduate Center PSC Solidarity Committee