Adjuncts, Professors and other employees at the City University of New York have overwhelmingly ratified a contract that provides 10-percent salary increases and will boost minimum adjunct salaries by 71 percent to $5,500 per course, the Professional Staff Congress announced Nov. 27.
A record number of members participated in the mail-ballot election: of the 21,416 eligible members, 15,976 cast votes, or about 75 percent. Eighty-six percent of those who voted, or 13,660 members, supported the pact, while 2,316 voted against it.
The 63-month contract, which runs from Dec. 1, 2017 to Feb. 28, 2023, provides a 10-percent salary increase for 30,000 employees, including a 2-percent raise retroactive to Oct. 1, 2018, with the final of five 2-percent increases set for Nov. 1, 2022.
For years, the PSC pushed for adjunct pay to be doubled to $7,000 per course. And while this agreement does not achieve that goal, the minimum pay for three-credit classes will increase by 71 percent to $5,500, and for four-credit courses to $6,875, in 2022.
“The new contract originated in a vision of what New York City's public university should be, and it takes us a few steps closer to making the vision real,” PSC President Barbara Bowen said in a statement that was sent out to members. “Let's build on the momentum of the hard-fought contract campaign and the big voter turnout to tackle the hardest issues that still confront faculty, staff and students at CUNY.”
The union’s delegate assembly approved the deal Nov. 7. The contract boosts adjunct pay in multiple ways: adjuncts will receive 2-percent raises over the first four years of the agreement, will be paid at their full hourly rate for up to 45 office hours per semester, and see an increase in their hourly rate at the start of the Fall 2022 semester.
Course Hikes Imminent
According to the union's website, the biggest raise would take place during the next semester: the minimum salary for a three-credit course would increase to $4,469, up from $3,222. The minimum pay for four-credit courses would jump from $4,295 to $5,586 by the start of the Spring 2020 semester.
The deal also includes equity raises for full-time College Laboratory Technicians, all Lecturers, entry-level Higher Education Officers, and full-time CUNY Start and CUNY Language Immersion Program instructors. It provides research accounts for department chairs, expands access to the state health insurance program for graduate employees, and establishes a committee to implement the state Paid Family Leave benefit for both adjuncts and full-time staff.
Since the deal was announced Oct. 23, some faculty members argued that the pact did not do enough to improve adjunct salaries, and were concerned that the required additional office hours would overburden contingent employees.
“Ratification does not mean that this contract resolves every labor issue PSC members face at CUNY or that it alone can fix CUNY's austerity budget,” Ms. Bowen said in the email statement. “And it certainly doesn't mean that the union will stop organizing and fighting. Just the opposite: the PSC's ability to win…increases for adjunct faculty averaging 45 percent and as high as 71 percent, should give us confidence in our ability to demand and accomplish even more.”
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