Faculty at Notre Dame de Namur (NDNU) University in Belmont, Calif., have ratified a first contract that wins better pay, job security for part-time adjunct professors and protects shared governance. The historic agreement covers all contingent faculty who won their union through the National Labor Relations Board process and tenure-track, and tenured faculty, including department chairs. The combined units cover more than 250 faculty.
“Despite being certified by the NLRB as two separate bargaining units, we set a priority of winning a single contract covering full-time tenured/tenure-track and part-time (adjunct) faculty,” Kristen Edwards, part-time lecturer at NDNU. “The process of working together to support each other’s priorities brought together the entire faculty at NDNU and yielded a stronger contract for all of us.”
Inside Higher Ed reported that deciding to unionize alongside adjunct faculty and tenured-track faculty could have backfired during negotiations.
Tenure-track and tenured faculty members at Notre Dame de Namur University were beyond hopeful last year when their institution voluntarily recognized their new union; legal precedent holds that tenure-track faculty members on private campuses are managers and so not entitled to collective bargaining.
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The San Mateo Daily Journal reported that NDNU President Judith Greig’s “admiration for the collaboration required to make the new contract possible.”
“Both the university and the union recognized that it is important to strike a balance between fair pay for faculty and keeping college affordable for the students; after all, tuition funds pay for faculty,” she said. “The president of the university believes that the new union contract strikes the best possible balance.”
Highlights of the contract include:
- Full-time faculty raises of 8 percent to 9.5 percent and between 11.5 percent and 35 percent for part-time faculty over three years.
- Several provisions that will ensure job security for part-time faculty and an end to “hired and fired every semester.”
- Extend a professional development fund and grant part-time faculty $150 per semester for professional development.
- Part-time faculty will be paid for writing references for students, course development, $80/hour for substitute teaching, $250 for classes cancelled less than 30 days before the start of the term.
- The university will offer racism and implicit bias training with union input and allocate dedicated funding for specific outreach to recruit faculty of color. The university will provide data to the union to benchmark progress on diversity.