Settlements with CUNY
The PSC recently secured important victories in two cases that expand eligibility for adjunct three-year appointments. The two settlements expand eligibility for three-year appointments to adjuncts who receive additional workload credit for teaching oversize or “jumbo” courses, and who teach in programs with links to an academic department. Both settlement agreements went into effect this Spring semester. Newly eligible adjuncts should be considered for appointments for the 2019-2020 academic year.
“Both settlements increase the number of adjuncts eligible for the appointments, and while they are not perfect, together they represent an increase in the fairness of the contractual provision,” PSC President Barbara Bowen said in an email to department chairs, involved in the comprehensive review process to determine three-year appointments.
The college human resources office or the provost’s office is responsible for determining eligibility (not department chairs), and they should be applying these recent settlement agreements when determining eligibility for consideration this spring.
The pilot program for three-year adjunct appointments was one of the major improvements secured in the last contract. The appointments give eligible long-serving adjuncts increased job security, because adjuncts with three-year appointments have guaranteed assignments and income and cannot be dismissed without just cause.
The settlement involving jumbo courses is in effect only at colleges that have the existing practice of paying adjuncts for more hours for teaching especially large courses. Under the new settlement agreement, if a college pays six contact hours for a three-hour jumbo course, the adjunct will now be credited with six contact teaching hours that can count toward their eligibility for a three-year appointment. A number of CUNY colleges do not have an established practice of paying adjuncts extra or giving full-time faculty extra workload credits for teaching unusually large courses, so an adjunct teaching an unusually large course should inquire at the college provost’s office about the college’s compensation policy for “jumbo” classes taught by part-time and full-time faculty. Contact an adjunct grievance counselor at PSC if you are concerned you are not being compensated in a way that is consistent with the college’s practice.
The settlement agreement covering adjuncts who teach courses offered by “programs” with links to academic departments, such as – at some colleges –“First Year Initiative” or College Now, affects every CUNY college. Adjuncts’ workload credits for teaching in specified programs with links to academic departments will be counted toward eligibility for a three-year appointment by that department. Each college handles the relationship between programs and departments differently, so refer to Appendix B in the Programs Settlement Agreement to identify them.
The agreement can be found at this link: tinyurl.com/Programs-settlement-agreement. Adjunct appointments to certain programs are handled by administrators, such as provosts, not academic departments, and the University was unwilling to count teaching credits in those programs for eligibility.
To date, more than 2,200 adjuncts have received three-year appointments. These settlement agreements are the result of class-action grievances at the university level that the PSC filed in 2017 when certain adjuncts were improperly excluded from consideration for multiyear appointments.
Stan Wine, the PSC adjunct grievance counselor who worked on both class-action grievances, said the cases represent CUNY trying to “maximize its advantage and minimize any pay or benefits afforded to adjuncts.” The union prevailed in both cases, he said, because members across titles – adjuncts, a PSC chapter chair and department chairs – were ready to testify.