Adjunct activist Lynne Turner during a protest of the CUNY Board of Trustees
Salaries of teaching adjuncts will increase significantly if the proposed contract is approved and ratified, with minimum adjunct pay increasing by more than 70% by the final year of the contract. Minimum pay will reach $5,500 for a three-credit course and minimum pay for a four-credit course will be $6,875 at end of the contract.
A major portion of the adjunct raises begins as early as next semester, Spring 2020. The minimum salary for a three-credit course will be $4,469, and it will be $5,586 for a four-credit course. Here’s how it works.
Reaching agreement on raises many times higher than the 2% raises in the state and city’s collective bargaining “pattern” required a combination of approaches.
Across-the-Board Increases: 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021
The hourly pay rate of teaching adjuncts and of full-time faculty and staff teaching on overload will be raised by 2% in each of the first four years of the contract, just as all other salaries will be raised. The raises following the first one will be compounded.
Paid Office Hours: 2020, starting next semester
One of the breakthroughs of the proposed contract is that it recognizes the professionalism of CUNY adjuncts and their commitment to students. The first big jump in adjunct pay rates will begin next semester. Starting in the Spring 2020 semester, every adjunct (and full-timer on overload) who teaches a course of at least three credit hours will be responsible for and paid at their full hourly rate for formal office hours. For an adjunct currently teaching a three-credit course who does not now receive any paid professional hours, this change will mean an increase of 33%, on top of the across-the-board increases of 2018 and 2019. For adjuncts who are currently being paid for professional hours, the increase will be less dramatic, but still significant.
The Introduction of a Single Rate for Each Adjunct Title: August 25, 2022
The second big jump in adjunct pay comes at the start of the Fall 2022 semester, when the current salary steps within teaching adjunct titles will be replaced by a single rate. Instead of receiving a final 2% raise in 2022, teaching adjuncts (except adjuncts in the special circumstances explained below) will see their pay raised to a new hourly rate, based on a single pay rate for each title. The new rates for a three-credit course for both adjunct faculty and full-timers on overloads will be:
- Adjunct Lecturer: $5,500 ($91.67 per hour)
- Adjunct Assistant Professor: $6,000 ($100.00 per hour)
- Adjunct Associate Professor: $6,500 ($108.33 per hour)
- Adjunct Professor: $6,750 ($112.50 per hour)
By introducing the new single rates, the union was able to build a second major raise into adjunct faculty salaries, beyond the increase through paid office hours. The single rates also allowed us to structure the raises so that the largest increase applies to the lowest-paid adjuncts in the Adjunct Lecturer title, the title in which about 70% of adjuncts are concentrated.
Once the single rates are introduced, the salary steps within adjunct titles (with the exceptions noted below) will disappear. While salary steps do increase pay, they also delay being paid the top amount for the title. Adjuncts currently move to a higher salary step only after three years of service.
Exceptions for Adjuncts in Special Circumstances
- Adjuncts in certain professional schools within CUNY – at the Law School, Medical School, Graduate School of Journalism and Executive Programs in the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch – will achieve higher raises if they receive the final 2% increase than if they were to be paid at the new single pay-rates for each title. These adjuncts will receive the final 2% and not be moved to the single rates.
- Teaching adjuncts who, on the day when the single rates are applied, are already being paid at an hourly rate higher than the new hourly rate derived from the single rate will not be moved to the new single rates. Adjuncts on the top three steps of the Adjunct Professor title and the top step of the Adjunct Lecturer, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Adjunct Associate Professor titles on August 25, 2022, will be in this group. These individuals will be “red-circled,” in labor parlance, and will receive the final 2% raise on November 1, 2022, instead of being moved to the single rate for their title. Their pay will continue to be calculated based on the number of hours worked, including office hours, multiplied by their “red-circled” hourly rate of pay.
- Note that full-time faculty and staff teaching an additional course as an overload assignment are not an exception to the new rates of pay and responsibility for office hours.
- The introduction of paid office hours will boost adjunct pay in Spring 2020 and will mean that every CUNY course of three or more credit hours will come with compensation for work adjuncts are doing meeting individually with students outside of class.
- Starting with the Spring 2020 semester, the current provision for adjunct professional hours will be replaced with a new provision for office hours. Teaching adjuncts and full-timers on overload will be responsible for and paid for an office hour at their full hourly rate.
- Totals are calculated based on the total number of classroom contact hours you teach at a single college (not in a single department or CUNY-wide). If you teach at two colleges, you will be entitled to be paid for office hours at both, following the provisions below:
- Fewer than 3 classroom contact hours: 0 paid office hours. Adjuncts teaching fewer than 3 classroom contact hours at a single college will not be paid for or responsible for office hours at that college, but those teaching at least 1 credit hour will be paid for and responsible for professional development hours
- 3 or more but fewer than 6 classroom contact hours: 15 paid office hours/semester
- 6 or more but fewer than 9 classroom contact hours: 30 paid office hours/semester
- 9 or more classroom contact hours: 45 paid office hours/semester
- The hours are to be spent “engaged in or available for student contact,” as the MOA states. The MOA also says that the office hours are to be “formalized” as directed by the department chair. That is, the hours are to be posted in your department, listed on your syllabus or otherwise published and observed as is normally done in your department and as the department chair directs.
- If your course is conducted wholly or in part through distance learning, a proportionate share of your office hours may also be conducted through distance technology.
- If you do not have an office, you are still required to hold the office hours, even if it means posting on your syllabus that your “office” is the cafeteria. If the proposed contract is ratified, the PSC will immediately begin working with departments and colleges to address the need for adjunct office space.
Professional Development Hours
- Professional development hours are hours that college administrations may designate in order for adjuncts to complete trainings required by law, to participate in other professional development and to meet with union representatives for orientation, while being paid at their full hourly rate. These hours are contained within the adjunct’s total number of office hours:
- Up to 3 hours per semester may be designated professional development hours for adjuncts with 15 office hours.
- Up to 6 hours may be so designated for adjuncts with more than 15 office hours.
- Teaching adjuncts and those on overload whose total teaching load at a single college is 1 or more but fewer than 3 contact teaching hours will be paid for 2 professional hours per semester at the full hourly rate, to be used for required trainings, professional development, etc., as described above.
- With agreement by the PSC, professional development hours may be used for meetings with union representatives under the new provisions in the Taylor Law added following the Supreme Court Janus decision.