The Suffolk Affiliated Faculty (SAF-AAUP) part-time faculty chapter signed its first contract with Suffolk University this June, bringing a welcome conclusion to three-year-long negotiations. The chapter has much cause to celebrate. The Suffolk administration acceded to part-time faculty members’ demands that they be compensated for extra classroom time that was a consequence of a course-credit restructuring plan; this resulted in 30 to 45 percent pay raises between 2007 and 2010, with annual increases of 3.5 percent in subsequent years. In addition to substantial pay increases, the new contract includes strong promotion and medical leave policies, dental insurance, and an elective retirement plan.
SAF-AAUP represents nearly four hundred part-time faculty members at the Boston institution. They unionized in 2005 after three years of informal attempts to negotiate with the university administration to improve working conditions for part-time faculty members failed to yield positive results. At the time, their pay lagged behind that of other part-time faculty in the city; the seniority required to obtain healthcare benefits barred most from doing so; and hiring, reappointment, and grievance policies varied in clarity and application. Under the new contract, SAF-AAUP members’ salaries match or exceed the average pay of their peers at other local institutions, the number of members eligible for health care has increased, and the grievance and promotion policies will protect members’ job security. Now that the contract has been signed, the chapter is focusing its attention on its upcoming fall membership drive.