Tufts University part-time faculty have overwhelmingly approved a landmark first union contract that covers roughly 200 part-time instructional faculty. The three-year agreement makes groundbreaking progress in job stability, includes a significant increase in per course pay and establishes new pathways for professional development.
In September 2013, Tufts part-time lecturers were the first Boston area faculty to form a union through the Adjunct Action campaign, a national project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). A year later, more than 2,000 adjunct faculty in Boston are united in SEIU. Lesley and Northeastern University are currently in the early stages of contract negotiations, while Boston University part-time faculty are building towards a union vote.
Andy Klatt teaches Spanish at Tufts. He said, “We are pleased that part-time faculty and the administration have come together in a positive and collaborative process to produce an agreement that will improve the working lives of faculty, advance the goals that we share as a learning community, and benefit our students. We hope that our non-confrontational process and the agreement that we reached will serve as positive models for other universities in the Boston area and around the country as we work together to address the national crisis of contingent academic labor.”
The Tufts contract is an important milestone in the national conversation on contingent faculty. Half of the nation’s faculty are now part-time with little or no job security from semester to semester. The Tufts part-time lecturer contract includes pay increases, in some cases up to 40 percent per course over the life of the agreement and multiyear teaching appointments with pay protections for cancelled courses.
Tufts part time lecturer Elizabeth Lemons said, “We made real progress toward equitable working conditions and full inclusion in the Tufts community. Our work, our contributions, our value are now more acknowledged. This is an important beginning, not only for us at Tufts, but also for our colleagues at other universities in Boston and nationally who are committed to raising standards in higher education.”
At a Glance: 2014 Tufts Part-time Lecturer Contract
For the first time, most part-time faculty will have the security of knowing that they have a job next year – reversing the trend towards contingency that has marginalized the profession.
• Everyone will have at least 1 year contracts.
• By the end of the contract period, lecturers with more than 4 years of service will be eligible for 2 year appointments and those with more than 8 years will be eligible for 3 year contracts.
• Part-time lecturers will get first notice and fair consideration for full-time positions including a guaranteed interview. If the part-time faculty member isn’t offered the position, the instructor can find out why in a meeting with the dean or head of the department.
All Tufts part-time Lecturers will receive a meaningful pay increase – as much as a 40 percent raise over the life of the contract in Romance Languages.
• By September 2016, all Tufts part-time faculty will make at least $7,300 a course. Minimum for someone with more than 8 years of service is $8,760.
• The contract clearly states that work outside the classroom (e.g., advising, mentoring and independent studies) will be compensated.
• Those with a 3-year contract will receive full compensation for a cancelled course.
Tufts part-time lecturers contract reflects how critically important part-time faculty are to the full life of the university.
• A revamped evaluation process will be used to improve performance, not punish.
• The contract sets up a professional development fund for scholarship and artistic practice that contributes to teaching excellence.