Contingent Faculty & Collective Bargaining

Some local AAUP chapters act as the collective bargaining agents for campus faculty, often including non-tenure-track part- or full-time faculty. A number of AAUP collective bargaining chapters, including those at Wright State University. Curry College, Kent State University, Oakland University, Rider University, Rutgers University, and Western Michigan University, have made important headway on the issue of job security for contingent faculty members.

The University of Cincinnati AAUP chapter contract extends all the same benefits to full-time non-tenure-track faculty as are available to tenure-track faculty (except tenure itself). This includes sabbaticals, health and life insurance, and retirement benefits. Additionally, in 2010 the union negotiated new language for an "expedited reappointment" process for full-time non-tenure-track faculty who have been with the University for 7 years or more. The new process greatly streamlines the reappointment process, resulting in lowered stress and paperwork for everyone involved. In that same contract, new language was also inserted that specifies that reappointment terms can be as long as 7 years.

In addition, several local AAUP chapters represent part-time faculty in stand-alone units.  In October 2007, the part-time faculty at the University of Rhode Island voted overwhelmingly to be represented in collective bargaining by a campus AAUP chapter. Ninety-four percent of faculty participating in the secret ballot election voted in favor of the AAUP chapter. Separate chapters at URI represent the full time faculty and graduate employees.

In January 2006, by a margin of more than 2 to 1, adjunct faculty at Suffolk University elected Suffolk Affiliated Faculty-AAUP as their collective bargaining representative. Nearly two-thirds of the 450 adjunct faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, the New England School of Art and Design, and the Sawyer School of Management participated in the election, and voted 194 – 89 for collective bargaining representation. At Suffolk, as at many institutions, part-time faculty outnumber tenured and tenure-track faculty, and they teach a growing percentage of courses—especially those taken by undergraduates. Read more.

In 2003, part-time faculty of the University of Vermont voted 41-6 to form a union that will be jointly affiliated with the AAUP and the United Professions of Vermont/American Federation of Teachers. The part-time faculty will work to institute and protect Association-supported standards on their campus, as well as to improve pay equity, access to benefits such as health care, and compensation for time spent with students outside of the classroom. The full-time faculty at UVM are also represented by a local chapter affiliated with the AAUP and AFT.

In 2001, part-time and adjunct faculty members at Emerson College in Boston voted by a three-to-one margin to be represented in collective bargaining by the Affiliated Faculty of Emerson College/American Association of University Professors (AFEC/AAUP). This victory marked the first time an all-adjunct unit in the Boston metropolitan area was able to unionize. It was also the first union triumph at a private institution in the Boston area since the U.S. Supreme Court's 1980 decision in National Labor Relations Board v. Yeshiva University, which erected substantial roadblocks to organizing full-time faculty at private colleges and universities.

The local Emerson chapter, which now represents the 240-member unit, settled its first contract in March 2004. By raising pay and instituting a healthcare benefit for some faculty, the contract brought Emerson's part-time faculty closer to the Association's policy that equal work should be equally compensated. Full-time faculty at Emerson College are also represented by a local AAUP unit.