Dear Manhattanville Adjunct Faculty and Tutors,
It's Daniel Esakoff and Julie Berman from the staff of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the Teachers Union, writing with an update on contract negotiations between the Union of Adjunct Faculty and Tutors at Manhattanville and Manhattanville College's Administration.
For those who are new to Manhattanville College, you missed the union election in the Spring 2011 semester in which adjunct faculty and tutors voted overwhelmingly in favor of union representation. The summer months were spent drafting a comprehensive set of proposals for improving your working/teaching life at Mville.
The proposals include Mville paying salaries that are on par with fulltime faculty salaries; raising the salaries of tutors; providing health insurance and a retirement plan; guaranteeing reappointment after several semesters of teaching; implementing a seniority system for purposes of reappointment, an absence policy that includes sick, personal, religious, and jury duty leave, and a classroom observation policy; providing money for attending professional conferences; and the like. All the proposals seek to raise the professional status of adjunct faculty and tutors. All the proposals seek to ensure that Mville treats adjunct faculty with the same level of financial and professional respect as they treat fulltime faculty, for after all, you do the exact same work in the classroom as fulltime faculty.
During the course of the past few months, the Union's bargaining team (the two of us plus adjunct faculty) met four times with Mville's administration's bargaining team (comprised of a number of administrators). We presented our comprehensive set of proposals, explaining why our proposals, if accepted by administration, will make Mville a better place for adjunct faculty and tutors to teach and in turn, a better place for students to learn.
Mville's team asked a lot of questions. They made a lot of comments, some of which display a lack of respect for the work you do. (Example: Mville Administration has referred to adjunct faculty not being faculty but rather being "plugged in" to teach courses. At a recent bargaining session, the lead negotiator for the Administration's team said that they "...can't fathom that adjuncts are any sort of derivative of fulltime faculty. The roles are different. The jobs are different.")
It's clear from their questions and comments that it will not be easy getting Mville to treat you in the manner you deserve. But all of us will persist until Mville does the right thing.
Do you want to join us in this cause?
The more adjunct faculty and tutors participating, the stronger we'll be. Also, it's more realistic, and effective, to have a lot of people participating in the process than only a small handful of folks responsible for everything.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for Monday, February 13th at 3:30pm. Mville's team says it'll have a set of counterproposals for the union. Please consider joining our team. Bargaining is not only important work, it's interesting, too. Best of all, no experience is necessary.
Want to come to negotiations? Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Julie and Daniel at 212/989-3470.
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Union of Adjunct Faculty and Tutors at Manhattanville / NYSUT / AFT / NEA / AFL-CIO