Next Steps on a New Agreement for Our Part-Time Faculty
A message from Dr. Dwight A. McBride, President and University Professor
As you may have heard, members of our part-time faculty, represented by ACT-UAW Local 7902, have voted against the contract proposed by the university. While we are disappointed by this outcome, we remain committed to resuming negotiations and working to finalize a contract that is fair, equitable, financially responsible, and ends this strike. So, where do we go now?
First, we are encouraged by the union’s willingness to bring in a mediator to work with the parties, and the university has informed the union it has agreed to mediation. We are at a pivotal moment and the need, obviously, is urgent. As we aim to reach agreement as quickly as possible, the university’s bargaining team remains ready to meet at any time.
We have listened – and will continue to listen – closely to our part-time faculty, whose input over these past months of negotiations helped inform our latest offer. This proposal, which remains open as a centerpiece for further discussions:
- Raises pay rates by 18% over a five year period;
- Expands access to high-quality, university-subsidized health care;
- Increases job security;
- Establishes a professional development fund;
- Creates more flexibility to use tuition benefits;
- Enhances the ability to provide input on curricular matters; and
- Provides a unique pathway to full-time faculty employment.
This proposal remains a very significant financial stretch for The New School. It will create a budget deficit of approximately $60 million over the next five years that the university will need to work hard to address. That’s how committed we are to reaching an agreement. Additional details on the university’s finances and the impact of a part-time faculty agreement are available here.
Above all, The New School takes very seriously its commitment to delivering for our students. While we remain committed to achieving a fair and equitable contract as quickly as possible and believe differences between the university and the union can be bridged, we have a duty to our students to make contingency plans in the event the work stoppage continues. The Provost’s Office will provide more details on those plans by Monday.
There will, of course, be real costs associated with these contingencies, and we will need to manage our resources carefully. Out of respect for our colleagues and the hope that we might be able to reach an agreement together, we have to-date continued to compensate our faculty and staff who have chosen to exercise their right to strike. We do not have the resources to be able to continue that indefinitely and hope a new agreement will have everyone back in our classrooms, labs, theaters, and studios very quickly.
As we have acknowledged, this moment has elevated concerns about issues impacting our campus and that relate to the university’s financial model and the deep and ongoing work we need to do in order to create a more sustainable university. We remain fully dedicated to advancing this work as a unified community.
We will get beyond this moment together – and we will step up and through to an even brighter future – united in our values, our belief in our legacy, and our trust in the power of an extraordinary New School education.
Now is the moment to get this done.