All posts by Arseniy Gutnik

Welcome to the UCAN page!

Please review the tabs for important information regarding leadership of the union, contractual agreements for NJIT postdocs, adjuncts, and doctoral RA/TAs, and to contact the union. UCAN’s officers and staff are excited to hear from you and to work together building the union into a well-organized and powerful collective of members. We are stronger together!

Tentative Agreement for Grads and Reseachers

We are excited to announce that our union finally has a signed Tentative Agreement with the NJIT administration over a full union contract covering all graduate and research employees. We want to thank all of our members, union activists and officers, and our bargaining team members for all their hard work.

The graduate and research employee agreement contains some serious advances for graduate employees in terms of guaranteed funding, summer compensation, and wage increases. While we didn’t win everything we wanted, we feel this agreement moves the ball forward for graduate and research employees at NJIT. And we will return to the negotiating table in less than a year’s time for the next round of contract negotiations.

Some of the highlights include:
• New minimum salary of $24,000 per academic year starting in January (2019),
• Guaranteed 4 years of TA/RA funding for all PhD students,
• Guaranteed summer funding of 4 years at a minimum of $3,000,
• A one-time $400 stipend for graduate employees, who worked in the 2017-2018 academic year, paid within two weeks of the contract’s ratification,
• Increased minimum salaries and raises for research employees,
• Lowered parking costs (part-time student rate for all) and refunds for the Spring 2018

The next steps involve graduate and research employees joining the union and participating in the coming ratification vote, after a review of the contract’s terms.

Graduate and research employees will have every chance to read the UCAN-NJIT Graduate Student and Research Employee (7/1/15 – 6/30/19) Tentative Agreement and get questions answered on a series of upcoming conference calls before voting. Here are the dates and times of the conference calls, accessible for any and all graduate and research employees:

Wednesday, May 30: 12:00 – 1:00pm, EST
Thursday, May 31: 2:00 – 3:00pm, EST
Monday, June 4th: 11:00am – 12:00pm, EST

Call In Information:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

International numbers available:

Or Telephone: (646) 558-8656

The terms of the contract will begin immediately, and any appointments already signed will be adjusted appropriately to reflect new salary minimums as well as new terms and conditions of employment. Graduate and research employees will now have access to a strong grievance procedure and union representation should any disputes arise in the course of their employment.

We look forward to continuing our fight to improve the wages and working conditions for NJIT employees in the coming years, and working with you in the days ahead.

United Council of Academics at NJIT

Adjunct Faculty Compensation Agreement

MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT is made March 2018, by and between New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and the United Council of Academics at NJIT, Adjunct Instructor Bargaining Unit (UCAN Adjuncts), the Parties to this Agreement.

Whereas, the UCAN Adjuncts and NJIT are Parties to a collective bargaining agreement dated July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019, (the “Contract”);

Whereas, prior to ratification of the new Contract, individual written adjunct contracts were signed by UCAN Adjuncts and processed by NJIT for the Spring 2018 semester, and some of these contracts factored in load credit multipliers for certain courses and/or courses to paid by the contact hour;

Whereas, as part of the newly ratified Contract, the Parties agreed upon a new compensation program for UCAN Adjuncts that eliminated the use of load credit multipliers and based compensation increases on the credit hour rate;

Whereas, the Parties agree to the following non-precedential adjustments to the compensation program for the term of the Contract to ensure that the UCAN Adjuncts are not negatively impacted by the recent ratification of the new Contract:

Now, therefore the Parties agree as follows

Original contract

We Have A Tentative Agreement

In the final hours of the last day of the Fall semester, we reached a tentative agreement on a union contract covering adjunct instructors at NJIT. We went right down to the wire pushing for the most we could get, and are proud of our accomplishments for this first contract, which will technically start on July 1, 2017 and expire on June 30, 2019.

The economic improvements in the contract are substantial for most members and will begin this semester (Spring 2018). Any adjunct contract already signed will be automatically adjusted to reflect the new salary minimum of $1,500 per credit, as well as other new terms and conditions of employment. Adjunct instructors will now have access to a strong grievance procedure and union representation should any disputes arise in the course of their employment.

Some of our proudest accomplishments in the contract include:
· Significant increases to the adjunct per credit minimum rising to $1,500 for Spring 2018 and then to $1,550 per credit hour for Fall of 2018,
· Those currently above the minimum will receive a $300 bonus in Spring 2018 and a 2% increase for Fall 2018,
· 50% tuition remission for classes at NJIT,
· A $10,000 Professional Development Fund for adjuncts to reimburse travel and professional expenses,
· Internal posting and full consideration in applying for full time University Lecturer positions,
· Recognition and protection of academic freedom in the classroom,
· Orientations for adjunct instructors,
· Movement towards guaranteed office space and work resources,
· A joint committee to continue negotiating over long term contracts, adjunct healthcare, promotions, evaluations, and career advancement.

adjunct ta 2018

Download full tentative agreement (3 mb .pdf) >>

The next step involves adjunct instructors Adjunct instructors participating in the ratification vote, after a review of the contract’s terms. Join the union now and voting information will be made available shortly.

We want to recognize the Bargaining Team members and UCAN officers who volunteered their time over the past six months to achieve what we think is a historic and ground-breaking contract for NJIT’s adjunct instructors. Thank you to all of our members who participated in the organizing drive over the last year and came out on campus for actions and meetings to push this forward. Adjuncts at NJIT now possess a stable and permanent organization which will act as a strong advocate for adjunct instructors moving forward. And while we didn’t win all of what we wanted, we wholeheartedly recommend that you ratify this agreement so we can continue working to improve the wages and conditions for adjunct instructors at NJIT.

Bargaining Report #9

We were back in negotiations on Wednesday, November 15th in bargaining over a new graduate student worker and post-doc contract.

The impact of our successful rally continues to be felt at the table, where we brought a large and articulate group of graduate student employees to discuss different aspects of the administration’s proposals.

We negotiated back and forth over healthcare costs, summer funding for graduate student workers, parking costs, and wages. Like with our proposed adjunct contract, the administration has agreed to our framework of a contract running up to the summer of 2019, ramping up the timeline for our members to receive salary increases and improved conditions.

The administration’s team was cordial and also engaged with us in a discussion about the impending Trump tax plan, which if passed unchanged, would lead to huge increases for graduate student workers’ tax burden. By our calculations, the average out of state NJIT graduate student would now pay around $5,000 per year in federal income taxes.

This is an unacceptable provision that would saddle already underpaid grads with an enormous tax bill every year, and we aim to win NJIT’s support to stand with us against the Trump tax plan. Their team offered to sign on to a joint letter opposing the graduate income provision of the tax bill, which we are moving quickly to organize against. We are hopeful that if the bill goes through, our union can negotiate a suitable workaround with the administration to avoid this attack on our member’s take home pay.

We have additional bargaining sessions scheduled in the coming weeks, and look forward to pulling together a fair contract that advances all of our members.

Your Bargaining Team,

Subash Ray, Graduate Employee, Biology
Nikola Bosnjak, Graduate Employee, Mechanical Engineering
Patrick Nowlan, Executive Director, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Joe Richard, Lead Organizer, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Jacob Chaffin, Organizer, Rutgers AAUP-AFT

Adjunct Faculty Contract Rally 11/0817

Newark Adjunct Teachers Rally At NJIT For More Pay, ‘Recognition’

Adjunct teachers at NJIT in Newark say they’re taking a stand against a “toxic culture” that asks too much of its lowest-paid faculty.

By Eric Kiefer, Patch Staff

NEWARK, NJ — Adjunct teachers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark say they’re taking a stand against a “toxic culture” that is asking too much from its lowest-paid faculty members. That’s what spurred NJIT adjuncts to rally on campus last week, according to a statement from AFT New Jersey.

The 300-plus adjunct faculty members – who voted to form a union in May – want “better pay, recognition of their critical roles in the campus community and opportunities for professional development and career advancement.”

Adjuncts at Rutgers earn about $5,200 per class, compared to $3,900 at NJIT for the same work, forcing NJIT adjuncts to scramble to pick up extra classes to make ends meet, union representatives said in May. Many adjuncts at NJIT have no access to employer-sponsored health insurance because they teach at multiple institutions part-time, union leaders added.


Bargaining Update #8

Wednesday was a huge success! Despite the cold weather, we had a great rally over the lunch hour in front of Fenster Hall, featuring adjuncts, graduate student workers, post-doctoral researchers, and guest union speakers from across the state of New Jersey. Speaker after speaker reiterated their support for UCAN’s efforts at the bargaining table, and our fight for better pay, decent healthcare and professional treatment for all of our members.

Check out our Facebook page and “like” our social media presence to see some pictures of the event!

Our efforts paid off. It may not seem like much to attend a lunchtime rally, but the administration was definitely paying attention: NJIT President Joel Bloom even walked through our gathering at one point and saw our growing numbers.

At the bargaining session a short hour later, the administration’s team made movement towards our adjunct wage demands, and accepted the framework of a two-year contract. We are insistent on a two-year collective bargaining agreement, dated to the beginning of this semester, in order to raise adjunct pay as much as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. The administration has also offered to involve the Provost in the next bargaining session, which we look forward to.

While the administration’s increased monetary offer is a positive development, it still doesn’t go far enough. We’re also looking for other areas of improvement in order to achieve what we consider a fair contract.

This week we will be in negotiations over graduate student worker and post-doc conditions, and we have future dates for adjunct bargaining. We’re committed to winning a fair contract that raises up conditions for ALL of our members.

On Thursday, November 16th we’ll be having our UCAN General Membership Meeting for November in the NJIT Campus Center. We urge you to attend with your questions about negotiations and to get involved in our growing new union. We look forward to seeing you there!

Susan Bristol, Adjunct Instructor, CoAD
Jeffrey Reaves, Adjunct Instructor, NCE
Patrick Nowlan, Executive Director, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Vicky Pacheco, Staff Associate, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Joe Richard, Lead Organizer, Rutgers AAUP-AFT

United Council of Academics at NJIT
191 Central Ave
Newark, NJ 07103

Adjunct Faculty Contract Rally 11/0817

Newly Unionized NJIT Adjunct Faculty Rally On Campus For Contract

NEWARK…NJIT adjunct faculty, who voted to form a union in May, rallied for a fair first contract on campus Wednesday, calling for better pay, recognition of their critical roles in the campus community and opportunities for professional development and career advancement.

Susan Bristol
Susan Bristol

Susan Bristol, a NJ native, attended University of Virginia’s architecture program before NJIT’s was accredited and wanted to bring some of the excellence from that program and her professional experience back to New Jersey as an adjunct faculty member. Bristol said, “We are calling for NJIT management to bargain a fair contract that recognizes the contributions of highly-skilled, experienced adjunct faculty and addresses what has become a toxic culture of over-reliance on severely under-compensated professionals to teach and perform many vital campus functions.”

Despite her part-time status as an adjunct faculty member, Bristol has created new curriculum & original courses, participated in national accreditation, recruited high school students, made calls to admitted students, delivered public lectures at other universities, taken students on field trips to important architectural sites, and arranged meetings with prominent architects to enrich students’ experience. “I love teaching NJIT students, but what are the institutional ethics of asking the lowest-paid faculty to perform so many uncompensated professional functions on top of their teaching responsibilities?”

Jeff Reaves
Jeff Reaves

Jeff Reaves believes that NJIT could do a better job of creating bridges to full-time employment for adjuncts by integrating campus functions and research or other professional responsibilities between semesters. Enrollment is strong at NJIT because students are attracted to the new technologies such as developing applications and adjunct faculty members offer significant real-world professional and corporate background to the student experience.

After graduating from NJIT with dual masters’ degrees in Information Systems and Environmental Sciences, Reaves spent years implementing technology systems with a specialty in legal systems before discovering his aptitude for teaching while training to roll out the systems. “NJIT has the resources to compensate adjunct faculty fairly and create additional professional opportunities for full-time employment and accompanying benefits such as health insurance,” he said.

Bristol and Reaves were among the 300-plus adjunct faculty members who voted to form a union in May, affiliating with Rutgers American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers.

dmc 110817
Donna M. Chiera, AFT New Jersey President

More than 10,000 adjunct faculty members at Rutgers and all of New Jersey’s public four-year institutions and 10 community colleges are members of AFT New Jersey bargaining units. Donna M. Chiera, AFT New Jersey President, attended Wednesday’s rally to support the call for a fair contract. “We support better opportunities and fair compensation for adjunct faculty,” said Chiera. “As a premier research institution, we know NJIT can do better in its treatment of adjunct faculty.”

noonan 110817
Robert Noonan, Montclair State Adjunct Faculty Union President

Montclair State University Adjunct Professor of Education Robert Noonan is President of the Montclair Adjuncts local, representing more than 1,200 adjunct faculty. Noonan addressed the rally, “You teach 42 percent of the classes at NJIT. We teach 50 percent of the classes at Montclair. If higher education is going to have credibility, we have to bring adjuncts into the fold, pay a decent wage and have equity with other teaching faculty.”

Bargaining Update #6

Dear Colleague,

Yesterday afternoon we returned to the negotiating table, and had an unproductive session marred by management posturing over who we choose to bring to the table as members of our bargaining team. Right from the beginning, management’s team objected to the presence of both adjunct instructors and graduate student employees coming in to negotiate together, despite an earlier agreement that we would spend the afternoon negotiating over both proposed contracts, and no earlier objections when we had representatives of both groups on our team in a single session.

After rejecting our adjunct salary proposal for parity between adjuncts and the NJIT University Lecturer minima for a three credit course, yesterday we proposed significant raises for adjuncts that would at least equate to equal pay with adjuncts at Rutgers University across the street. We refuse to accept their counter that NJIT adjuncts should be the lowest paid of all adjunct instructors at any public 4 year institution in the state of New Jersey.

We countered management’s refusal to offer healthcare to adjunct instructors, presented on wage demands for the graduate student and research employees, as well as a fair grievance procedure that guarantees due process for all of our members. They took our counters, and will respond to us in the coming weeks.

In order to show management’s team that we will not accept sub-par wage increases for all adjuncts, graduate student workers and research employees, we are calling on all of our members and supporters to stand with us outside of Fenster Hall over the lunch hour on Wednesday, November 8th.

Our last action outside of bargaining showed we were serious: this time around we want to show the administration that in order to secure a contract, they will have to deal fairly with us and raise up the wages and working conditions for the academic employees on campus who, according to their self-reported Institutional Profile from 2016, teach 42% of all course sections across campus.

Will you commit to joining your colleagues on November 8th to show the administration that graduate students, research employees and adjuncts all deserve fair wage increases, access to decent healthcare and an equitable union contract? RSVP to this message and let us know, so we can plan on bringing t-shirts and placards for everyone.

We’ll also be discussing the details at our upcoming October General Membership Meeting on Monday, October 30th at 4:30pm in Room 240 of the NJIT Campus Center. See you there!

Your Bargaining Team,
Susan Bristol, Adjunct Instructor, CoAD
Jeffrey Reaves, Adjunct Instructor, NCE
Subash Ray, Research Assistant, Biological Sciences
Patrick Nowlan, Executive Director, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Victoria Pacheco, Staff Associate, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Joe Richard, Lead Organizer, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, UCAN
Jacob Chaffin, Organizer, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, UCAN