Timely, Important Information on Part-Time Faculty Contract Negotiations
To our part-time faculty colleagues,
As you know, ACT-UAW Local 7902 and The New School have been meeting almost daily to get a fair, new contract in place for our part-time faculty. Today was an important day in the negotiations process and we wanted to provide you with an update on the latest.
An Enhanced New Contract Offer that Provides Pay Raises and More
To help get these negotiations completed successfully and avoid any distractions or disruptions for our students, today The New School presented an enhanced $31.7 million contract proposal, not including benefits, that addresses a comprehensive range of issues. This offer is fair; it is competitive; and it is achievable for this institution.
The proposed agreement from the university, which you can read more about in this chart, includes:
- PAY INCREASES FOR EVERY PART-TIME FACULTY MEMBER IN LOCAL 7902
- An across-the-board wage increase of 3.5% upon ratification with further yearly increases between 2% and 4.5% depending on course type
- Total increase over the contract = between 12% and 23.4% – with the higher percentages for those teaching studio classes to help address pay parity for these faculty members
- DEDICATED BONUSES FOR ELIGIBLE PART-TIME FACULTY
- Those who taught through the pandemic will be eligible for a special bonus of up to $4,500 per person
- EXPANDED MEDICAL BENEFITS AND PAID LEAVE
- Increases access to strong, university-subsidized health care coverage for all part-time faculty, a benefit offered at relatively few universities
- Also includes a 50% subsidy of the employee contribution for NY State Paid Family Leave
- A SIGNIFICANT RETIREMENT BENEFIT
- Continued retirement contributions of 10% of wages for eligible part-time faculty with no required employee contribution
- A UNIQUE PATH TO FULL-TIME FACULTY POSITIONS
- Two full-time faculty appointments each year will be filled exclusively from the ranks of part-time faculty in addition to their ability to apply for any position at the university
- ENHANCED TUITION BENEFITS
- Expansion of the existing tuition benefit will provide two extra years to utilize the waiver
- GREATER OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE IN SHARED GOVERNANCE
- Paid attendance for up to three department meetings each year
- Formal part-time faculty representation on the university’s Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (EISJ) Committee
Bringing in an Independent Mediator to Help Get to the Finish Line
Given everyone’s shared interest in reaching an agreement as quickly as possible while remaining focused on delivering an exceptional student experience, The New School has strongly suggested to the union that we engage the support of a jointly selected, independent mediator to help break through any impasses or delays. Union leaders have so far rejected the opportunity to bring in a mediator, but we believe it is a necessary step to get both sides to an effective outcome quickly.
Staying Focused on Solutions that Work for the Entire New School Community
The New School’s newly enhanced proposal is based on feedback received throughout this process from part-time faculty and the union. Despite what you may have heard, the university has made significant movement during bargaining, with proposals that deliver for part-time faculty, students, and the university community as a whole.
Unfortunately, union leaders have refused to come to the table with a consistent commitment to finding workable, equitable, and responsible solutions. Together, we have reached tentative agreements on some non-economic segments of the contract. However, a seemingly unmovable demand from union leadership for an immediate 18% pay raise, which would increase university instructional costs by more than $200 million over the course of the contract, regrettably have us far apart on key economic terms. This is an unsustainable budget increase for a smaller, tuition-dependent university like The New School, operating in a higher education environment of reduced enrollment and significant pandemic-related financial impacts.
Your union leaders now have a choice. We hope they will consider this competitive, good faith offer and our request to work with a mediator seriously and in the spirit with which they are intended – a sincere effort to get to a resolution that works for everyone without delay. Please know that the university bargaining team is available 24/7 and will continue to engage in productive discussions at any point.
We deeply value and truly respect the contributions that part-time faculty make to The New School’s extraordinary learning community and, with your input, have offered a significant – and significantly enhanced – new contract that reflects that respect. We remain committed to doing everything possible to getting an agreement in place quickly and moving our great university forward together.