The Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP), the union representing 2800 full-time and part-time faculty, full-time librarians, and academic professionals at Temple University, has approved a new collective bargaining agreement that includes adjuncts for the first time and offers gains for everyone in the union. The vote–with 97% of those who voted voting “yes”–affirms the strength of the newly-enlarged Union. If Temple’s Board of Trustees votes to ratify at their meeting next Tuesday, the contract will go into effect.
Adjuncts voted to join the bargaining unit in November of 2015, and this contract initiates a new era for the Union. The inclusion of adjuncts means that all teaching faculty at the schools TAUP represents have a voice in improving the working conditions at the University.
“By ratifying this contract, our membership is sending a clear message that both adjunct and full-time faculty deserve high-quality working conditions when teaching our students. Now that we’ll all be working under the same contract and bargaining together in 2019, we’ll be in a stronger position to insist that the necessary improvements occur,” said Steve Newman, President of TAUP. Jennie Shanker, Vice President of TAUP added: “The University has not treated adjuncts as professionals. Because of that, those who have been interested in pursuing teaching as a career have had to struggle. This hasn’t kept us from wanting to perform at our best for our students. Having a union contract brings the University one step closer to acknowledging that as an employer, it is responsible for providing equitable working conditions for everyone who educates Temple students.”
This new contract will expire in 2019 for both full-time and part-time members. That means that for the first time in 2019, the entire union, including all faculty, librarians and academic professionals, will be able to negotiate together in solidarity. This replaces an earlier fulltime contract that would have expired in 2018.
The contract also:
- Provides processes and protections on academic freedom, workload, discipline/dismissal, and grievance and arbitration;
- Raises the minimum rate of pay for adjuncts immediately from $1300/credit hour to $1425 and then by July 1st, 2018 to $1500–a 15% increase. Since most Temple courses are 3 credits, this means a $600 increase per course;
- Makes it easier to qualify for health benefit subsidies;
- Creates labor-management committees to investigate job security, promotion, affirmative action and office space;
- Extends the current contract (which covers full-time faculty, librarians and academic professionals), including the raise from the previous year and staving off any increase in health-care costs. This protects employees at a moment of uncertainty while the state budget remains in limbo, and allowing all TAUP constituencies to come together for negotiations in 2019.
Nationally, awareness has been growing around the harsh working conditions of adjuncts at many institutions since the 2013 death of long-term Duquesne University adjunct Margaret Mary Vojtko. Since then adjunct organizing has increased, involving unions such as SEIU, UAW, the NEA, and TAUP’s national union, AFT.
Locally, TAUP is hopeful about what this win could mean for other local academic union organizing campaigns and negotiations, including upcoming talks between Temple and its graduate student union (TUGSA), and ongoing efforts led by the AFT’s United Academics of Philadelphia in negotiations at Arcadia University and in organizing graduate students at Penn (GET-UP).