Just over 14 months after part-time faculty voted 2 to 1 in favor of representation by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509, the University and the union have signed a tentative agreement that if approved by adjunct faculty vote, will increase per-course pay, extend appointments, improve consistency in course scheduling, and provide greater opportunities for professional development. The three-year agreement, reached in the early hours of Thursday morning, increases wages for all adjuncts over the next three years. It also provides compensation for classes canceled shortly before the semester begins and funding for teaching and professional development.
Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer, says the University is pleased to have reached the tentative agreement. “This contract will facilitate our collaborative and respectful relationship with our part-time faculty,” says Morrison. “We look forward to implementing the elements of the contract once it is ratified by the members of the part-time faculty union.”
“The tentative agreement reached this morning reflects a measured and fair approach with respect to addressing terms and conditions of employment of our part-time faculty,” says Judi Burgess, BU’s labor relations director. “It also preserves critical management rights for Boston University and ensures that our schools and colleges maintain autonomy and flexibility in their ability to attract and retain the best teachers and students.” She says the contract is not a one-size-fits-all model, but rather, is unique to BU and respects the value and dignity of the University’s part-time faculty.
In a press release issued by SEIU Local 509, College of Communication lecturer David Kociemba, who teaches television aesthetics and history, says the part-time faculty is “excited to build on this strong foundation of solidarity with other faculty to improve our teaching conditions, which are our students’ learning conditions.”
In recent months, part-time faculty have pushed for unionization at colleges and universities across the country. In October 2014, Tufts University became the first local institution whose part-time faculty approved a contract. Lesley signed a similar agreement last year, and adjuncts at Northeastern reached an agreement in January. Part-time faculty at Brandeis and Bentley have also voted to unionize.
In March, Boston University’s full-time nontenured lecturers and instructors voted by a margin of 4-to-1 to join Faculty Forward, a division of SEIU Local 509. The vote means that about 280 full-time and salaried faculty members will join the roughly 800 part-time faculty already represented by the union.