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Emerson Adjuncts Ratify New Contract

April 21, 2015
Contacts: David KociembaBrian McNeil, or Diane Pansen

Boston, MA—In a mail-in vote counted today, affiliated faculty voted 184-3 to ratify a new contract. The new collectively bargained contract includes up to a 30% increase in some faculty’s pay, doubles professional development funding awards, and provides better job security. The negotiations between the Affiliated Faculty of Emerson College collective bargaining chapter of the American Association of University Professors began in June, 2014. 

“It’s another solid win for contingent faculty in our city and AAUP nationally,” said David Kociemba, president of the AFEC-AAUP and member of the national AAUP’s committee on Contingency and the Profession. “We hope that our fellow AAUP union members at Suffolk University and other faculty unions at Boston University and Northeastern University can build on this foundation in negotiations this summer.”

“The students are also winners here. Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions,” Kociemba said. “Better pay and greater job security mean that students are more likely to have access to their professors for mentoring and recommendations. Affiliated faculty are the majority faculty on campus, so this is the most cost-effective way that Emerson College could invest in its classrooms.”

Faculty on part-time contracts are unionizing nationwide to fight for a living wage. According to AAUP research, a majority of professors nationwide work on part-time contracts for less than $3,000 per course taught. Entry level pay at Emerson College will range from about $5,800 to $8,000 per course at the end of the contract.

In 2001, affiliated faculty members at Emerson College became the first adjunct-only union in the Boston metropolitan area. It was 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 New Contract at a Glance

  • Raises and an annual cost of living adjustment of 2%-4% will increase some faculty members’ pay by an estimated 30% by the end of the four-year contract.
  • For the first time, the process for evaluating affiliated faculty’s teaching performance was codified. Senior affiliated faculty can grieve arbitrary and capricious decisions to not rehire them based on those teaching performance criteria.
  • Many more adjunct faculty will gain access to year-long contract offers and become eligible for benefits and pay raises, due to earlier access to seniority status. The most senior faculty will receive contracts lasting three years.
  • Awards for professional development doubled in size, with a 50% increase in the available funding pool. A new merit pay bonus for excellent teaching and service was instituted. Senior affiliated faculty can pursue a new graduate degree at Emerson College without paying tuition.
  • Affiliated faculty will be better integrated into shared governance of the college through paid representatives at department meetings and the right to be paid for committee service. All affiliated faculty will provide anonymous feedback on the job performance of their department chairs, program heads, and deans.

The Affiliated Faculty of Emerson College is a collective bargaining chapter of the American Association of University Professors that is dedicated to improving classroom conditions for affiliated faculty and their students. Ever since AFEC-AAUP formed in 2001, we protect faculty rights to academic freedom, represent the interests of affiliated faculty to the administration, and collectively bargain the contract that governs part-time faculty employment at Emerson College. We work in solidarity with other faculty and staff unions on this campus and others.


Publication Date: 
Tuesday, April 21, 2015