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.

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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.”

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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

Bargaining Report #5: No Raises Unacceptable

Thank you to everyone for coming out yesterday to show your support for a fair adjunct contract! We had a successful action that featured 25 or 30 adjuncts and their supporters holding “I Love Adjunct Unionization” signs, and then went back to the table with the administration bargaining over an adjunct contract. Our action had an impact inside the room, by showing the administration’s team that adjuncts at NJIT are watching closely what happens. Tomorrow we will negotiate over a graduate and research employee contract.

On Monday the 25th we received a more complete offer from the administration, which included more counter-proposals but still no language around access to health care. We went back and forth with them over the issue of guaranteed office space and resources for adjuncts, support in the classroom from TA’s for large class sizes, paid orientations for all new adjunct hires, a fair and efficient grievance procedure, and also wages.

We made it clear to them that a 0.0% increase is absolutely unacceptable, especially in a context where NJIT is on a solid financial footing, tuition and enrollment continue to rise (as well as administrative salaries), and the administration has continued plowing millions of dollars into acquiring new property in the surrounding community and launching new construction projects. Adjuncts deserve a fair wage increase and we are waiting for a good faith economic offer.

Our next date for adjunct bargaining is set for October 11th, in order for us to receive the final counter-proposals from the administration and to formally counter their offers. We very much look forward to getting back to the table and continuing to fight for a fair adjunct contract.

Also, mark your calendars now! Our monthly General Membership Meeting for October is set for Monday, October 16th from 4:30 to 6:00 pm in Room TBA of the NJIT campus center. We’ll see you there!

Your Bargaining Team,
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

Bargaining Report #4: NJIT Offers Adjuncts 0.0% Raises

Important Information: We need you to join us at bargaining on Tuesday, September 26th at 2:00pm on the 5th

Along with rejecting our proposals for longer term contracts, language around promotions, guarantees of significant timelines for reappointment, seniority, and basic requests for union stability like wifi access, they offered literally nothing for salary increases for adjunct instructors. Zip. Zero. By proposing the current salary minimum of $1,300 per credit hour as their economic offer for the 2018 academic year, they’ve proposed that hundreds of adjunct instructors receive no raises for the life of our contract.

Their team also didn’t respond to the final 11 articles in our proposed adjunct instructor contract. To our negotiating team, this hardly signifies a good faith effort to negotiate a fair agreement.

We were at the negotiating table again yesterday, the first time since August 22nd. We argued with the administration over issues of longer term contracts, the need for stable and continuous employment for adjunct instructors, and the real need for significant amounts of advance notice about teaching classes. We also formally requested a clear answer as to the minimum enrollment numbers before a class is cancelled.

floor of Fenster Hall. Adjunct Instructors deserve a fair contract that recognizes our professional contributions to NJIT!

After cancelling a bargaining session in early September and repeated delays in sending our team their counter-proposal, the NJIT administration finally responded to our proposed contract covering adjunct instructors, and it was a whopper: 0.0%

We will be back at the table on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 26th. We expect a full counter-proposal by that time, and look forward to receiving a serious economic offer, given the university’s strong financial position, as recently reported by the NJIT Chief Financial Officer at a recent Faculty Senate meeting.

But we need your help. We want to show the administration that adjunct instructors are a valuable part of the NJIT community, and that we expect a fair contract that recognizes our contributions to be bargained on time and in good faith.

Will you join us on Tuesday, September 26th at 2:00pm on the 5th floor of Fenster Hall to stand with your colleagues? Please RSVP so we can bring union t-shirts for everyone!

Contract Bargaining Report #3

Our negotiating team was back at the table on Tuesday the 22nd to bargain with the administration for both adjunct instructors as well as graduate and research employees. You can find the UCAN graduate employee proposal here and the adjunct proposal here.
Their team responded to our proposals by only sending us counter-proposals for a graduate and research employee contract (found here). We’re still waiting to receive their counter-proposals for an adjunct contract. Both our original proposals and their counters are posted on the website. Take a look, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to talk with a bargaining team member for clarification.
We sparred with the administration’s team over the issue of wages, parking fees, dates for reappointment, union representation, paid orientations for graduate and research employees, an effective grievance procedure, as well as workload. The administration’s team is insisting on raising the minimum graduate employee salary to $22,000 per year, despite the fact that most graduate employees already earn more or a comparable amount, effectively putting forward a 0% increase for most graduate employees.
We pushed for equity with graduate employees at Rutgers University, which means we want a 15 hour workweek rather than the current 20, equal pay for equal work, better healthcare, and cheaper parking. The administration insists that graduate employees are students first, and should be treated as students rather than as workers. We insist that as legally recognized public employees in the state of New Jersey, graduate employees deserve the same treatment as any other employee in higher education.
We also pushed for the elimination of a probationary period for research employees, to guarantee the payout of unused vacation time, as well as wage increases.
We made a number of additional information requests, and the administration’s team agreed to supply us with documentation about their policies on:
  1. violence in the workplace,
  2. academic freedom,
  3. tuition remission,
  4. health care benefits,
The administration’s team also told us in no uncertain terms that their standing orders are to settle our two contracts rather than delaying, so we look forward to meaningful good faith negotiations. We’ll be back at the table next week. We’ve proposed six more bargaining dates for the month of September, and we’re eagerly awaiting their counter-proposals for an adjunct contract, which we expect next week. If you have any questions or would like any clarifications, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Finally, we are looking to set up department meetings to update everyone on the contract negotiations and discuss next steps. Please email Jacob Chaffin at if you are interested in having a union representative talk to your department.

Contract Bargaining Report #2

Our team was back at the negotiating table with the administration Tuesday, July 25th, and we’re happy to report on our second bargaining session.

Using the information we’ve collected over the last academic year through hundreds of in-person interviews, and supplemented with all of your responses to our recent bargaining surveys, we put forward a batch of creative proposals that would dramatically improve the lives and working conditions for the nearly 800 academic workers that will be covered under any future contracts.

Among many other things, we put forward proposals to:

Significantly raise adjunct salaries and create a system of additional ranks of Adjunct Instructor II and III with higher salaries and multi-year contracts,
Raise graduate employee wages to the level of parity with Rutgers salaries and lower the expected clock hour workload from 20 to 15,
Early mandatory deadlines for reappointment for all covered employees,
Full tuition remission for adjuncts and their dependent children,
Lowered parking costs for all covered employees,
Paid orientations for all new employees to provide them with access to necessary information and resources in order to perform effectively at work
Expanded sick and personal leave for all covered employees,
Unused vacation payout for research employees and post-docs

We also formally requested information from the administration around issues of graduate employee summer funding, health insurance plans for all covered employees, and mandatory fees in order to have accurate data with which to craft specific improvements which we will also submit soon.

The administration spent the session listening to our proposals, and informed us that they would give us a complete response at our next session, as well as some proposals of their own. We agreed on multiple bargaining dates in late August to give them time to prepare, and are ready to work hard to reach a fair settlement soon.

Susan Bristol, Adjunct Instructor, CoAD
Subash K. Ray, Research Assistant, Biology
Jeffrey Reaves, Adjunct Instructor, NCE
Patrick Nowlan, Executive Director, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Joe Richard, Organizer, AAUP-AFT
Victoria Pacheco, Staff Associate, AAUP-AFT
Jacob Chaffin, Organizer, AAUP-AFT

Contract Bargaining Report 1

June 28, 2017

It’s our pleasure to report to you on our first bargaining session with the administration of NJIT, which took place on Tuesday afternoon, June 27th. Given that this was our first meeting between our union’s bargaining team and representatives from the administration, it was a short session focused mainly around introductions and outlining our goals in broad strokes.

We told the administration that we anticipate bargaining in good faith and working to achieve just and equitable contracts improving the wages and working conditions for all graduate employees, adjuncts, and post-doctoral researchers in every academic unit at NJIT. We told them we are eager to get to work negotiating, and that we intend to spend the summer putting forward concrete proposals for their consideration.

The administration’s team responded to us, and though we can anticipate areas of disagreement, their lead negotiator assured us of treating our union’s bargaining team and the entire workforce with respect and dignity. We plan to hold them to their promise. We committed to working straightaway to get into meaningful negotiations with them and commit our proposals to paper for them to review.

During our recent unionization campaign, adjunct, post-doc and graduate employee members of our Organizing Committee met with and interviewed hundreds of people all across NJIT from different backgrounds. We heard loud and clear the serious issues we need to improve upon at NJIT.

UCAN Bargaining Team
Susan Bristol, CoAD, Adjunct Instructor
Jeff Reaves, NCE, Adjunct Instructor
Subash K. Ray, Biology, Research Assistant
Patrick Nolan, Rutgers AAUP-AFT Executive Director
Joe Richard, Rutgers AAUP-AFT Organizer
Jacob Chaffin, Rutgers AAUP-AFT Organizer

April General Membership Meeting

On February 22nd, United Council of Academics at NJIT (UCAN) held an election to ratify a constitution, which included an affiliation and alliance with the Rutgers Council of AAUP Chapters, and to elect interim-Officers. This election represented a major step forward for UCAN in pursuit of building a strong labor organization for academic workers on campus. In accordance with the constitution, UCAN must hold another election for the coming year.

Important Voting Info:
General Membership Meeting and Election Nominations
When: Monday, April 10th
Where: Campus Center 240

General Election– April 26th and 27th

You must be a member of UCAN to participate and vote in the upcoming election.

We will be holding the first General Membership Meeting on April 10th where we will be accepting nominations for the following positions:
– serves on the Executive Board and committees, represents UCAN in all official capacities, and is responsible for annual reports the membership.

Vice President– serves in the absence of the president, maintains official non-financial records of the organization, oversees the Elections Committee.

Secretary– Treasurer- oversee and maintain all financial and membership records.

Executive Board– Meet monthly to set policy for the organization. Open seats for:
One graduate employee or postdoctoral fellow

All information pertaining to the duties of the Executive Committee can be found in Article VI and V of the UCAN Constitution. To request a copy of the constitution, please respond to this email and a copy will be delivered to you.

UCAN Officers and Executive Committee members can be nominated:
From the Floor— Nominations may be made from the floor of the April 10th General Membership Meeting, with candidates approved by vote of the membership meeting.

By Petition–To be nominated a candidate must submit to the Elections Committee a petition containing the signatures of twenty (20) signed up union members. Petitions must be submitted by the April 10th General Membership Meeting.

Any signed-up union member is eligible to hold office. Members nominated to run for office must affirmatively accept their nomination, and the terms for all positions are 1 year.

Elections for UCAN officers will be held by secret ballot on April 26th and 27th. The majority of the ballots cast shall determine the outcome of the election. Results of the election will be published and notifications will be sent to members after fifteen (15) days of the election.

Only members of UCAN will be allowed to vote in the election. The mission of UCAN is to create an active membership that sets the priorities and activities of the union for continued organizing and advocacy. I have attached a membership form to this email. In order to vote  you must fill out and return the membership form.

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Constitution Vote

Constitution vote
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In order to lay the foundation for a permanent and strong union organization, members will be voting to adopt a draft constitution, elect officers, and decide upon affiliations with local, state, and national organizations. Members of UCAN will be able to vote to ratify the constitution and elect officers on Wednesday, February 22nd. 

We will be holding a vote by secret ballot in the Robeson Center— Hudson Rm 255 (Rutgers campus, 350 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd ) from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM. You can stop by at any time during those hours to review the constitution, ask questions, join the union and vote. In order to vote, you must first become a member of the union by filling out a membership card.

Please contact Jacob Chaffin with any questions.