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This is the third in a series of short messages providing accurate information about an aspect of the proposed contract. The introduction of single rates of pay for each adjunct teaching title is a significant change, and it’s not surprising that there has been some confusion about how it would work. This message aims to clarify the new structure.
1. The biggest increase for adjunct faculty will start almost immediately if the contract is ratified; adjuncts do not have to wait until the final year. Beginning next semester, every adjunct will see a significant increase through the progressive provision of paying adjuncts for more of the hours they actually work. Adjuncts will be paid for office hours at their full hourly rate. As a result, the minimum pay for a three-credit course, currently $3,222, will rise right away to $4,469, an increase of 39%.
2. The single rates are a way of delivering the largest increase to the lowest-paid. Our focus in this contract has been on raising the minimum, and that’s what the movement to the single rate does. Take a look at the adjunct salary tables, and you will be able to trace how the largest increase goes to the lowest-paid. Here are the new single rates, based on a three-credit course:
- 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)
3. The best way to think of the new single rates is as a single top step. The movement to the single rate was negotiated in the context of a major salary increase for all adjunct faculty, 45% on average and 71% at the lowest end. Factoring in the increased office hour pay and the single rates, all teaching adjuncts will see increases above the across-the-board increase. Adjunct faculty at steps below the top step will move to the top step in 2022, after four 2% increases and the additional office hour pay.
4. Currently, salary steps for adjuncts delay movement to higher rates of pay. Movement in salary steps for adjuncts generally takes three years, not one. Many adjuncts lose continuity of employment during the three years and have to begin counting all over again. As a result, more than 30% of teaching adjuncts are on the lowest step of the Adjunct Lecturer title. The churning of adjuncts in the lowest-paid position helps management to maintain low pay. The proposed contract eliminates the wait to get to the highest salary for the title and lifts the floor of adjunct pay.
5. The new single rates, in effect, collapse all the steps upwards, so that all adjunct faculty move to the highest rate for their title. The bargaining team, which included several adjuncts with seniority, was conscious of the hard-won movement up the steps by many adjuncts. Under the proposed contract, adjuncts on the second, third and fourth steps will see smaller increases than adjuncts on the lowest step, but all adjunct faculty will experience significant increases. An Adjunct Lecturer on the middle step teaching a three-credit course, for instance, will see an increase of 58% through the across-the-board increases, the additional paid office hours and the movement to the single rate.
6. Contrary to what you may have heard, the new single rates do not eliminate all salary steps for adjuncts. There are projected to be more than 2,500 adjuncts on the top step of the adjunct faculty titles by Fall 2022 (and the top three steps of the Adjunct Professor schedule). Adjuncts on the top step at that point will not move to the single rate; instead, they will receive an additional 2% salary increase and be paid at a higher rate than the single rate. An Adjunct Lecturer on the top step as of Fall 2022 will be paid $5,904 per three-credit course.
7. The single salary rates do not “lock in” adjuncts to a permanent rate of pay. The new single rates are a beginning, a base on which to build in future contracts. Almost immediately after the single rates are applied, the proposed contract will expire and new negotiations will begin. The next contract could seek to increase the single rates themselves, to add longevity increments based on total past service, to pay adjuncts for even more hours of work outside of class—or all of these gains. The proposed new contract creates a pathway to future advances.
The pay for office hours and the higher single rates negotiated in this contract are a breakthrough, but they are not all that is needed. The PSC will not stop fighting for adjuncts until full equity for adjuncts is achieved and the exploitative two-tier labor system is ended.
By voting yes on ratification, you vote for these major new raises to begin and to enable the union to add to these gains in the future.
In solidarity, Barbara Bowen President, PSC