Adjunct equity has been a longstanding priority of the PSC. The union secured access to the City Health Plan for individual adjuncts without having to pay insurance premiums, provided professional development through a dedicated adjunct professional development fund and achieved job stability for long-serving Teaching Adjuncts in prior contracts. In the current contract, the PSC added to these advances for adjuncts by making historic gains in adjunct pay equity. Taken together, these contractual advances cracked the systemic exploitation of adjunct labor.
The union achieved a significant pay increase by employing three methods: 1) across-the-board step increases in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, 2) getting CUNY to recognize Teaching Adjuncts for work they already do by formalizing a paid office hour for a three-credit course and 3) an enhanced single rate of compensation for each title for most Teaching Adjuncts starting in Fall 2022.
Before the current contract, Teaching Adjuncts were required to wait years to move up to higher salary rates. Adjuncts moved to a higher salary step only after three years of service and many adjuncts left CUNY employment while on the lower-paying salary steps. With the single rates that go into effect on August 25, 2022, Adjunct Lecturers, Adjunct Assistant Professors, Adjunct Associate Professors and Adjunct Professors will be moved to a single rate: $91.67, $100, $108.33 and $112.50, respectively. Hourly rates for a three-credit course will be $5,500, $6,000, $6,500 and $6,750, respectively, and for a four-credit course will be $6,875, $7,500, $8,125 and $8438, respectively.
Seventy percent of Teaching Adjuncts are concentrated on the lowest salary step of the Adjunct Lecturer title. In Spring 2020, the semester immediately preceding contract ratification, those Adjunct Lecturers experienced a 37% increase for a three-credit course, first by two increases of 2% each, one in 2018 and one in 2019, as well as a paid office hour. The contract provided two more 2% increases (one in 2020 and one in 2021), before moving to a single salary step for each adjunct title in 2022.
This fall semester, an Adjunct Lecturer on the bottom step will receive an increase of 18%, from $77.49 to $91.67. For a three-credit course, an Adjunct Lecturer will be paid for 45 instructional hours, plus 15 office hours for a total of $5,500 per three-credit course, a 71% increase from $3,222 in 2017.
While the majority of Teaching Adjuncts will move to a single rate in 2022, there are some exceptions. Teaching Adjuncts whose salary rate as of August 25, 2022, is higher than the new single rate, will have their rate “red-circled.” Those adjuncts will continue to have their pay calculated on their teaching hours, including office hours, multiplied by their red-circled hourly rate of pay. No one is penalized by the implementation of the single rate. Before the single rates kick in on August 25, it is important for Teaching Adjuncts to claim the red-circled step immediately if one is entitled to it but not being properly compensated. The union wants to make sure that every Teaching Adjunct who is eligible for a movement onto a red-circled step is moved before the Fall 2022 semester.
If adjuncts encounter issues with their pay, teaching adjuncts should contact their chapter chair or the campus grievance officer. If there is no response within a few days, please contact the PSC grievance department at (212) 354-1252. Members should keep in mind that they have 30 working days to grieve an issue from the time of its occurrence or their awareness of it.
Pay for office hours and the higher single rates is a base to build on in future contracts. The restructuring of adjunct pay in our current contract is a breakthrough, but more is needed to reach equity for adjuncts. The union’s progress in narrowing the wage gap between full-time and part-time faculty pay has compelled colleges to create more full-time lines and appointment opportunities for adjunct faculty. The PSC will continue our fight for adjunct pay equity through the contract and through legislation like the New Deal for CUNY. It is a collective struggle that benefits all of our members and students.