Contracts at Other Colleges
If contingent faculty at St. John Fisher College become represented by SEIU Local 200United, the Union and the College will be required by law to meet and bargain in good faith to try to agree to a contract that sets the wages, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment for all members of the bargaining unit.
We reviewed as many Local 200United contracts as we could find online to determine what advantages, if any, contingent faculty have obtained from union representation. In short, it appears contingent faculty at other institutions are paying dues to the SEIU to get less than what Fisher faculty already have.
On their website, Local 200United lists nine colleges and universities in which they represent contingent faculty and, in a few instances, full-time and part-time non-tenure track faculty. Six of those institutions are in upstate New York:
- College of St. Rose, Albany, NY
- Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY
- Nazareth College, Pittsford, NY
- Schenectady County Community College, Schenectady, NY
- Siena College, Loudonville, NY
- Wells College, Aurora, NY
Institutions located elsewhere are:
- Champlain College, Burlington VT
- Fordham University, New York City
- St. Michael's College, Colchester VT
A review of Local 200United contracts in upstate New York colleges reveals why bargaining an initial contract often takes more than a year. Most simple is the Schenectady County Community College contract containing 20 articles in 13 pages; far more complex is the Ithaca College contract that contains 26 articles, a memorandum of understanding and a letter of agreement that extend over 38 pages. In all of these contracts, the college and the union had to reach agreement on every word.
SEIU Local 200United has a copy of every contract they have negotiated. As evidence of their effectiveness as a collective bargaining representative – the service that St. John Fisher College contingent faculty would have to pay them to provide – Local 200United should be willing to share all of them with you.
The sections that follow summarize key sections that appear in all of the contracts we were able to obtain from college web sites.
FAQs About Contracts
What do Local 200United contracts say about pay?
In available contracts covering contingent faculty, rates paid for the 2019 school year are:
- College of St. Rose, Albany: $3,225 for a 3-credit course
- Ithaca College, Ithaca: $5,225 for a 3-credit course
- Nazareth College: $3,400 for a 3-credit course
- Schenectady County Community College: $2,325 - $2,862 for a 3-credit course
- Siena College, Loudonville: $3,425.01 for a 3-credit course
None of the contracts call for cost of living increases, and it appears that the pay increase bargained at Nazareth College served simply to bring those faculty up to a rate Fisher and other institutions already provide.
Pay rates and practices vary widely among the institutions whose contracts are available online. Also, it should be noted that when pay for union-represented faculty increases, rates for faculty in non-union institutions nearby often increase as well. Just as the Ithaca College contract acknowledges that salaries for newly hired full time term faculty are "set by the College based on market factors," institutions whose faculty are not union-represented typically adjust pay rates as needed to remain market competitive.
College of St. Rose
- Although no contract is available online, press reports at the time of contract ratification in 2016 said adjunct instructors at St. Rose would receive $3,225 for a three-credit course in 2019, the last year of the contract.
- Full-time bargaining unit members "will receive an increase equal to the College wide increment" each year of the contract, with salaries for newly hired full time per course faculty "set by the College based on market factors."
- Bargaining unit faculty who are "compensated on a per credit hour rate basis" are paid a flat rate of $5,225 per 3-credit course beginning August 1, 2019.
- "Minimum course compensation rates for adjunct faculty instructional work teaching assigned three (3) Teaching Credit Hour (TCH) courses" is $3,400 in 2019.
Schenectady County Community College
Pay rates for 2019-2020 are:
- Adjunct Level M (music lesson instructor): $775 per credit hour ($2,325 for a 3-credit course)
- Adjunct Level I (initial appointment level): $832 per credit hour ($2,496 for a 3-credit course)
- Adjunct Level II (3 years since initial teaching assignment including at least 6 semesters of actual assignment): $902 per credit hour ($2,706 for a 3-credit course)
- Adjunct Level III (10 years since initial teaching assignment including at least 20 semesters of actual assignment or 5 years of service at Level II with 10 semesters of actual assignments): $954 per credit hour ($2,862 for a 3-credit course)
- "Full-time visiting, instructional, teaching, and specified term faculty will be paid at least the minimum starting salary that full-time tenure-track faculty in their rank receive. Full-time visiting, instructional, teaching, and specified term faculty shall receive any and all across-the-board pay increases that are awarded to tenured/tenure-track full-time faculty at the College."
- Part-time bargaining unit members receive a flat rate of $1,141.67 per credit hour ($3,425.01 for a 3-credit course) for the 2019-2020 academic year
In each of these contracts, pay day is the same as it is for other employees throughout the institution, and pay for bargaining unit members does not commence any earlier than it does for other employees working the same time periods.
What do Local 200United contracts say about benefits?
In none of these contracts – nor those at Fordham University and Champlain College – does the college provide matching payments for part-time bargaining unit member contributions to the 403(b) plan – a benefit St. John Fisher College offers to adjunct faculty. In addition, none of these contracts provide health, dental, vision or life insurance coverage for part-time bargaining unit members, nor do they provide paid sick or family medical leave beyond that guaranteed by federal and state laws.
Each of the reviewed contracts has a section titled "Benefits" or "Salary and Benefits" listing the benefits bargaining unit members receive.
- Again, the contract applies to "limited term faculty teaching with term appointments on a full time non-tenured and non-tenure track basis" and "part-time faculty...in the titles of Lecturer or Adjunct." Bargaining unit members who already are benefits eligible ("as defined by the College in its discretion") can participate in health benefits and receive tuition remission. Benefits-eligible and other bargaining unit members can make contributions to the College's 403(b) plan, but matching contributions are made by the College only for benefits-eligible faculty "on the same terms as other full time faculty, as may be amended, modified or terminated by the College."
- All bargaining unit members "shall continue to be eligible" for library services, free use of athletic facilities, free faculty/staff permit parking, a free bus pass, participation in the "Mind, Body, Me" wellness program, and discounts offered to other College employees which "may be amended, modified or terminated by the College in its discretion."
- Bargaining unit members may make voluntary pre-tax contributions to the College's 403(b) plan (contributions are not matched by the College) and get free parking during terms or semesters in which they are teaching. They also are eligible for other benefits available to "similarly situated part-time employees of the College, such as access to athletic and fitness facilities and employee discounts, subject to the College’s policies, processes, and procedures governing such benefits, which may be amended from time to time by the College at its sole discretion."
Schenectady County Community College
- The only item listed under "Benefits" in the contract is "Tuition Remission – Adjunct Faculty Members shall be eligible for tuition remission for themselves for attending classes at the College. This benefit shall be capped at a total of $10,000 per year for all claims made by members of the bargaining unit."
- Under both contracts, bargaining unit members have access to campus athletic facilities, receive one campus parking pass free of charge, and receive the same bookstore and cafeteria discounts as tenured/tenure-track faculty.
- Full-time bargaining unit members are offered the same health, dental, vision, life insurance, disability, retirement, and tuition benefits that are offered to full-time tenured/tenure track faculty in their rank and full-time start year.
- Part-time bargain unit members may contribute to an unspecified retirement account (contributions are not matched by the College) and "core adjunct faculty may apply to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for permission to enroll in courses at Siena College without tuition or fee charges, which the Vice President for Academic Affairs may grant at his or her sole discretion." Bargaining unit members who have successfully taught at least two courses per academic year for the previous three years can apply to become "core adjunct" faculty.
What do Local 200United contracts say about professional development?
While the Ithaca College contract states simply that "bargaining unit members may apply for professional development funding," the other contracts require the college to create a pool of funds for which bargaining unit members may apply when they want to travel to professional conferences. Fisher already has a similar fund and uses the same procedures for reviewing and approving applications.
None of the upstate New York contracts – nor others bargained for contingent faculty by Local 200United – guarantee that part-time bargaining unit members receive financial support for professional development; all say bargaining unit members may apply for reimbursement that may or may not be given at the sole discretion of the college.
- The contract simply says, "bargaining unit members may apply for professional development funding." (page 18)
- "Adjunct faculty members who have completed the Introductory Period...may request funding for external professional development opportunities relating to the adjunct faculty member's teaching of assigned courses at the College through the same processes and procedures as full-time College faculty." Bargaining unit members on a one or two-year academic appointment may receive up to $900 in an academic year, while all others may be given a maximum of $750. Reimbursement is determined "at the sole discretion of the College" and bargaining unit members cannot file grievances over funding denials.
Schenectady County Community College
- Adjunct faculty may apply for funding from a pool of $10,000 made available each fiscal year. To qualify they must have at least three years' experience at the College and teach a minimum of two courses per year. Applications must be approved by "the appropriate Dean and the Vice President of Academics."
- Under both contracts the College maintains an annual fund of $20,000 through which bargaining unit members may apply for reimbursement for professional development opportunities, although only "core adjunct" faculty are eligible among part-time bargaining unit members. Funding requests based on anticipated travel are processed on a first-come first-served basis, with the dean giving priority to presenters over attendees.
What do Local 200United contracts say about appointments, assignments and job security?
No two contracts are alike: each has a unique approach to making appointments and assignments, although nearly all try to give some priority based on seniority. No contract guarantees job security: all state that if sections or courses are not available, contingent faculty do not teach.
Contract language concerning appointments and assignments of contingent faculty varies greatly among the four upstate New York contracts, underlining how unpredictable the outcome of collective bargaining can be.
As bargaining unit members gain seniority, they become eligible for longer appointments "at the discretion of the College."
- Full-time bargaining unit: The College determines whether to hire for a limited duration of one semester or one year. Offers of appointment are made in order of seniority among qualified applicants. Bargaining unit members are not "limited in the number of courses they can teach per semester or per academic year in the College's discretion." Full-time bargaining unit members with more than three years' seniority become eligible for a two-year term appointment, and with more than five years' seniority become eligible for a three-year term appointment. "Reappointment shall be at the discretion of the College."
- Part-time bargaining unit: The College determines whether to hire for a limited duration of one semester or one year. Offers of appointment are made in order of seniority when qualifications are equal. "Reappointment during the first three (3) years of appointments shall be at the discretion of the College." "Where patterns of enrollment are known" part-time bargaining unit members may be eligible for two-year appointments after three years of continuous appointments (both semesters) or the College "may offer a longer appointment in its discretion." Reappointment after 3 years of continuous appointments may be denied due to reductions in the number of courses or sections, hiring of new full-time faculty, low enrollment, or "changes in General Curriculum requirements or major or minor or program offerings."
- Assignments should be communicated by July 1 for fall semester and December 1 for spring, and if a course is canceled within 30 days prior to the beginning of the semester, the impacted part-time faculty member is paid $1,300 per three credit course or a pro-rated amount for a course with lesser credits.
- Bargaining unit members who have taught a course for four consecutive academic year semesters shall be offered an academic year appointment for the course taught, so long as the College anticipates that it will continue to offer the course throughout such appointment period. Bargaining unit members who have completed three consecutive academic year appointments shall be offered a two academic year appointment, so long as the College anticipates that it will continue to offer the applicable course throughout such appointment period. Bargaining unit members who have completed the Introductory Period "shall have a presumption of reappointment to a course taught by the adjunct faculty member the next time the course is offered by the College, provided the next time the course is offered is within a calendar year of the adjunct faculty member's last teaching of the course for the College."
- Introductory Period: "Each adjunct faculty member shall be in an Introductory Period until the adjunct faculty member has completed: (a) two (2) Academic Year Semesters (i.e., the Fall/Spring Semesters); (b) three (3) summer terms (i.e., summer A/summer B); or (c) one (1) Academic Year Semester and one (1) summer term, of teaching for the College as an adjunct faculty member."
- The presumption of reappointment shall not apply if the College "in its sole discretion" reduces the number of sections or courses offered, assigns the course to a full-time College faculty member, assigns the course to another bargaining unit member who also has a presumption of reappointment, or determines that reappointment is not warranted based on evaluations.
- Assignments should be communicated by July 15 for fall semester and December 15 for spring, and if a course is canceled the College pays "a gross course cancellation payment of $150 per Teaching Credit Hour or Continuing Education Unit applicable to the canceled course."
Schenectady County Community College
- "The College shall retain the right to determine whether to hire an adjunct faculty member and whether to assign a course to an adjunct faculty member." "It is the policy of the College that available teaching positions [courses which have not been assigned to a full-time or part-time member of the faculty] will be offered to adjunct faculty members who have taught in the prior semester." If more than one bargaining unit member is qualified, the course shall be offered in order of seniority. Level III faculty may request an appointment for an entire year, which administration may approve or deny, and "Nothing in this section provides a guarantee of continued appointment beyond the current term of an adjunct faculty member's appointment."
- Assignments should be communicated at least 3 weeks before the start of the semester, and if a course is canceled less than 5 days before the first scheduled class meeting the impacted bargaining unit member shall be paid an amount equal to one credit hour's pay.
- Full-time bargaining unit: visiting faculty may initially be appointed for periods up to one year. After one year, if the visiting faculty is reappointed, the College may offer up to two follow-on appointments of up to a year. A visiting faculty member who has successfully taught for the previous two academic years will be offered a three-year appointment as a teaching faculty member "if the College determines there is a need for the faculty member to teach for at least the next three academic years." The College may continue to offer three-year appointments "so long as there is a continued need for the teaching faculty member." Bargaining unit members beginning a sixth year as a teaching faculty member may apply to promotion to senior teaching faculty status which carries a $3,500 raise in annual salary.
- Part-time bargaining unit: bargaining unit members who have successfully taught at least two courses per academic year for the previous three years will be provided an opportunity to become a "core adjunct" faculty member for a 3-year period. Core adjunct faculty members are given preference when selecting adjunct faculty for course instruction, although non-core faculty can be selected when they have "substantially greater qualifications to teach a specific course."
- Assignments should be communicated to core adjuncts by June 15 and non-core adjuncts by August 1 for the upcoming fall semester and by December 1 for core adjuncts and December 15 for non-core adjuncts for spring semester. If a course is canceled the College is only required to notify the bargaining unit member "as timely as possible."
How do Local 200United contracts benefit Local 200United?
A significant portion of each contract is devoted to items that benefit the union, not the faculty members the union represents. Contract provisions guarantee that faculty in the bargaining unit pay dues or fees to the union, that dues automatically are deducted from faculty paychecks and sent to the union, that the union can contact bargaining unit members at any time, and that the union has access to College facilities and faculty orientation meetings.
Unions enter collective bargaining with a set of goals they want to achieve for themselves, and the law allows them to sacrifice the interests of the workers they represent in order to achieve interests of their own. Every contract SEIU Local 200United has bargained for contingent faculty provides the union with significant benefits, described below.
Although these contract provisions are of far greater benefit to the union than they are to bargaining unit members, it is not uncommon for unions to call workers out on strike when employers refuse to accept them.
Local 200United contracts require payment to the union
Both of the Siena College contracts and the Ithaca College contract say bargaining unit members must become and remain members in good standing of Local 200United, while the Nazareth College and Schenectady County Community College contracts acknowledge that bargaining unit members may refuse to join Local 200United and elect instead to pay an "agency shop fee" or "non-member fee" to the union.
The Siena College and Ithaca College contracts also say bargaining unit members must pay the union an amount equal to the member dues, while the Nazareth College contract requires non-members to pay a fee "based on the Union's costs directly related to representation" and the Schenectady County Community College contract says non-members pay an amount equal to the regular union dues and can request a refund "of any portion of this agency shop fee that is used for the advancement of political or ideological purposes."
Local 200United contracts provide automatic collection and payment to the union of dues and fees
All of the contracts say payments will automatically be deducted from bargaining unit members’ paychecks (once they have signed deduction authorization forms) and sent by the College to the union. While bargaining unit members who fail to sign a deduction authorization form cannot have their appointments canceled after they have been accepted, the institution is prohibited from assigning them any additional courses.
All of the contracts also say the College will deduct bargaining unit members’ voluntary contributions to the SEIU Local 200United Committee On Political Education (COPE) and send them to the union.
Local 200United contracts provide 24/7 access to bargaining unit members
Every contract requires the College to provide information about every bargaining unit member each semester. This information typically includes:
- Home address
- Work phone number
- Personal phone number
- University email address
- Employee ID number
- Hire date or date of first semester taught
- Length of current appointment
- Current course(s) taught
- Compensation for such course(s)
Local 200United contracts provide access to campus facilities
Each contract provides Local 200United with:
- Access to the College's academic facilities for the transaction of necessary Union business as long as normal business and classroom activities are not disrupted. The Schenectady County Community College also requires the College to provide office space for the union on campus.
- Access to meeting space on campus for conducing necessary Union business.
- Bulletin boards where the union can post notices pertaining to the bargaining unit.
- Use of College electronic mail and college mail services to send correspondence to bargaining unit members.
- Recognition of one or more faculty members designated by the union as "workplace leaders" to adjust grievances and process disciplinary appeals.
- An opportunity to share information about the union, the contract and union membership during orientation sessions for new or returning bargaining unit members.
Do Local 200United contracts give the union the power to manage the workplace?
Local 200United contracts do not give the union the right to manage the workplace.
Even when a union is present, the College continues to have the right to manage the institution and make the most important decisions that impact the work lives of bargaining unit members.
Each of the available contracts bargained by Local 200United for contingent faculty has a section called "Management Rights" or, for Schenectady County Community College, "Employer Rights and Responsibilities." Several begin with the phrase, "Management of the University is vested exclusively in the College." All of them list rights management continues to have, and verbiage in the Siena College contract (pages 3-4) is typical:
"Management of the College is vested exclusively in the College. Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, the Union agrees that the College has the right to:"
- Establish, plan, direct, alter, and control the College's mission, programs, objectives, activities, resources, and priorities
- Establish, alter and administer procedures, policies, handbooks, and direct and control College operations
- Alter, extend or discontinue existing programs, courses, equipment, facilities, and location of operations
- Determine or modify the number, qualifications, scheduling, responsibilities, and assignment of unit faculty members
- Establish, maintain, modify or enforce standards of performance, conduct, order and safety
- Evaluate unit faculty, determine the content of evaluations, and determine the processes and criteria by which unit faculty members’ performance is evaluated
- Establish and require faculty members to comply with College procedures, rules, and regulations
- Discipline, dismiss, or layoff unit faculty members
- Establish or modify the academic calendars, including holidays and holiday scheduling
- To assign work locations
- To schedule hours of work
- To recruit, hire, appoint (or not appoint or reappoint), promote and/or demote, and transfer unit faculty member members
- To enter into contracts of employment with unit members
- To determine how and when and by whom instructions is delivered
- To determine all matters relating to unit faculty hiring and retention, tenure, and student admissions
- To exercise sole authority on all decisions involving academic matters
"Decisions regarding who is taught, what is taught, how it is taught, and who does the teaching involve academic judgment and shall be made at the sole direction of the College."
A few sections of the contract contain procedures to be followed when certain decisions are made, such as taking disciplinary action or making appointments and assignments. Nevertheless, the decision to initiate those procedures continues to be management's, exclusively.
Lastly, it is important to note that SEIU Local 200United also has the right to manage and discipline its members, separate from the contract bargained by the union and the college. The union's constitution and bylaws list a variety of rules union members must follow, as well as procedures for putting members on trial and punishing them if they are found guilty of a rule violation. These are described in the section of this web site titled "What does it mean to be a member of the SEIU?" Nothing in the contract protects members from being disciplined by their union.