What a CUNY Contract Can Look Like

As we begin a year that will find the PSC back at the bargaining table with CUNY management, CUNY Struggle has prepared a comparison of the most recently won PSC-CUNY and LIU-Brooklyn faculty contracts. Both bargaining units work at campuses in New York City, and are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Looking at the two labor agreements side-by-side brings to light the stark differences between what the PSC has achieved at CUNY and what was achieved at LIU.

In particular, the faculty at LIU-Brooklyn have made important gains in terms remedying the two-tier system: their contract requires LIU to create more full-time faculty lines, ensuring that 50% of classes will be taught by full-timers by the end of the 2017. Per their contract, adjuncts with at least 4 years in rank and no more than 1 year gap in service must be reviewed for promotion; no promotion can be unreasonably withheld. Note also that the criteria requisite for promotion are carefully specified and that decisions regarding promotion are made by a committee of peers rather than a college president or department chair. Finally, full workloads (which in LIU’s contract amount to 12 contact hours) must be assigned to adjuncts before other employees are assigned overloads. Additional LIU contract highlights include: restrictions on class size and an agreement for instructors to receive extra pay commensurate with class size enrollment, raises that are commensurate with tuition and fees revenue, and seniority procedures for promotions and layoffs.

AFT locals such as the one at LIU have made impressive gains and have used contracts as the occasion to improve working conditions, learning conditions, wages, and benefits. This is what a contract can look like — with the right strategy, a mobilized base, and the courage to exercise meaningful leverage.

Wages, Benefits and Conditions of Employment
LIU 2016 PSC 2016
Includes profs, assistant profs, instructors, adjunct profs, adjunct associate profs, adjunct assistant profs, adjunct instructors, professional librarians, guidance counselors, dpt chairs, all persons teaching courses for academic credit (6+ hours/ semester) Bargaining Unit Assistant profs, associate profs, adjunct profs, instructors, full-time faculty, lecturer, graduate assistants, RAs, registrar, lab techs, higher education officers
All bona fide past practices deemed part of the agreement Past Practices No provision
2% raises/ year, PLUS yearly lump sump payments commensurate with gross tuition and fees revenue, as determined by audited reports; the lump sums range from 1% to 2% of member annual salaries. Wage scale specifies minimum appointment salaries. In 2015 these were: $80,544 for Full Profs;$70,882 for Associate Profs; $62,874 for Assistant Profs; $57,998 for Instructors. Raises Percentage raises range from 1% to 2.5%/ year. 2017 Salary schedules for starting salaries: $75,971 for Full-Time Faculty (FTF); $61,394 for Associate Prof; $47,340 for Assistant Profs; $47,503 for Instructors.
Existing class size maxima shall not be exceeded without the concurrence of the full-time faculty of the affected dept. For new courses, maximum class size will be set by FTF and admin. Departments may petition for reduction of class size. Extra payment is distributed for instructures of oversized classes, commensurate with enrollment percentage over quota. Class Size No provision
University agreed to reach 50/50 adjunct/ full-time teaching credit ratio by end of contract. This requires University to hire additional full-time faculty. Staffing Provisions Parties recognize in the contract that teaching load is too high for undergraduate instructors; state that the labor-management partnership council will address workload reduction. No specific provisions.
Any adjunct having taught at least 36 credits should be assigned to teach the courses they normally teach; when this is not the case, they can grieve the assignment. Protest of Assignments No provision.
No Labor/ Management Partnership, instead employer and the union sit at different sides of the table, and must meet once a semester, with an agenda set at least 5 days ahead of time Labor/ Manage-ment Professional Practice Committee (LMP) Labor/ Management Partnership (in which labor and management sit together at the table) is established and is tasked with resolving workload issues.
All full-timers eligible for retirement (a contribution plan). Adjuncts eligible for healthcare plans after two years of employment. A benefit trust fund is maintained by the union for the sole benefit of adjunct members, paid into by university at rate of $80,000/ year. Three levels of employer health care plans provided, 2 HMOs and 1 PPO. Health Insurance/ Retirement Full-timers eligible for either pension or contribution plan. PSC members working more than 10 or more hours/ week for more than 2 consecutive semesters (including adjuncts) are eligible for New York State Health Insurance Plan.
Scheduling will be structured so as to limit number of days required at off-site location. Floating between campuses No provision.
Defined for each category of employment. Full-time faculty must teach 9 semester hours. Full workloads shall be provided before unit personnel are assigned overloads. Faculty member decides when to hold office hours. These must be scheduled on at least 2 days/ week; 1 office hour/ week for each section taught, but no requirements for more than 3 office hours/ week. Adjuncts teaching 10 or more credits/ semester shall be compensated for 1 office hour at the appropriate adjunct rate of pay. Adjuuncts may teach up to 12 semester/ contact hours. Workload Contract states that workloads “shall be reasonable.” No further specifications. Adjuncts may not teach more than 9 contact hours at one campus and an additional 6 contact hours at another campus. Adjunct Professors, Adjunct Associate Professors, Adjunct Assistant Professors, Adjunct Instructors and Adjunct Lecturers who are assigned a teaching workload of six (6) or more contact hours at the same college, will be paid at the appropriate teaching adjunct rate of pay for one (1) additional hour per week in order to engage in professional assignments related to their academic responsibilities, such as office hours, professional development, participation in campus activities and training. Provision prohibiting split schedules.
In full for full-time employees and spourses, full for 8 semesters of dependents. For adjuncts, 1 semester hour of tuition per semeter hour taught. Interest-free loans of up $22,000 available for full-time faculty matriculated in PhD program. Tuition Reimburse-ment In full for FTF enrolling undergraduate courses; 6 credits/ semester for graduate courses; any adjunct having taught one course/ semester for 10 consecutive semesters receives tuition remission for one course/ semester. No provisions for dependents.
Defined, no censorship allowed Academic Freedom Not defined.
Peer reviews for appointment, reappointment, promotion and tenure. Evaluation committees notify each candidate of their recommendation within 10 days, forwards copy of evaluation to dept chair, candidate has opportunity to address errors of fact. Visiting Faculty can only be appointed w/ approval of peer review committees, for no more than 1 year. Nonrenewal of any instructor in the bargaining unit may be made for academic reasons/ economic reasons. If reasons are economic, such action must be proved to be “reasonably required by decreased or inadequate enrollments, elimination of educational program(s), expiration of grant(s), endowment(s), or analogous funding situations”; president must inform staff of a required reduction; committee decides who shall be released. If no timely decision is made by the peer review committee reduction shall take place on the basis of seniority. Appoint-ment Renewal Initial appointments for full-time positions made by the President or his designee. Decisions of reappointment/ noreappointment can be grieved. These grievances are reviewed by a committee of 3 tenured faculty appointed by the board. Adjuncts hired on a semester basis. Decisions for reappointment rest with the President. Faculty evaluated once a semester. Pilot program as of 2016 wherein any adjuncts having worked at least 6 contact hours at one campus for 10 consecutive semesters must be considred for a 3 year contract, subject to programmatic and financial consideration. Under this contract, CUNY must “make every effort” to provide 6 contact teaching hours per semester to adjuncts, and when teaching hours are unavailable, CUNY must make every effort to provide commensurate hours of non-teaching work. The programmatic and financial considerations that can cause an adjunct to be denied a contract are not specified. Those denied a contract following their review will be fired from the departments in which they had been teaching.
No unit member may be reprimanded, suspended, discharged, reduced in rank or compensation except for just cause and with due process. Any member subject to disciplinary action shall be advised in writing, notice will also be sent to union. Discipline No unit member may be reprimanded, suspended, discharged, reduced in rank or compensation except for just cause and with due process. Any member subject to disciplinary action shall be advised in writing, notice will also be sent to union.
Informal and formal procedures are detailed. Grievances of reappointment and tenure limited to procedural issues. Grievances that go to arbitration must be resolved within 30 days. Grievance and Arbitration rights Informal and formal procedures are detailed. Grievances of reappointment and tenure limited to procedural issues. Grievances that go to arbitration must be resolved within 30 days; PSC and CUNY appoint members to arbitration panel.
Qualifications for each step defined, no full-time unit may be promoted with having been recommended by FRC. Final approval for tenure rests with the Board. With faculty member’s approval, faculty member may be temporarily reassigned to other campus, retaining full seniority, tenure, and voting rights. Faculty can also request voluntary transfer. Seniority and benefits transfer in this case too. Seniority determined by years of uninterrupted full-time service. Adjuncts with at least 4 years in rank and no more than 1 year gap in service will be reviewed for promotion: no promotion will be unreasonably withheld. Merit promotions may be awarded before 4 years. Seniority procedures for transfer, promotion, and layoff All full-time appointments and reappointments are for no less than one year. No other provisions to specify promotional procedures/ layoff procedures.
Maximum probation is 7 years; if candidate has comparable experience probation can be no more than 3 years . No tenured faculty shall be laid off. Recall list is structured by seniority. Lay-off & Recall Any non-tenured employee who is discontinued will be placed on a recall list, and will return with seniority of recalled. No order is specified for recall list.
Just cause clause, recall rights. Job Security Just cause clause.
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