Tentative Agreement Reached!

Averting Mass Faculty Protest, Administrators Reach Contract Settlement with Adjuncts at Bentley University

Tentative four-year agreement improves wages and teaching conditions for more than 200 faculty at the Waltham campus

WALTHAM, MA – Adjunct faculty at Bentley University reached a contract settlement late Friday evening with campus administrators – a four-year agreement that makes meaningful progress in compensation and course stability, professional development and the faculty role in decisions that affect their work. Facing anunprecedented faculty and alumni protest that was set to begin Monday, administrators came back to the table this week for negotiation sessions overseen by a federal mediator. The resulting settlement is subject to a ratification vote by affected Bentley faculty.

Among the gains in the four-year tentative agreement:

  • Meaningful increases in compensation: Adjunct faculty will receive across-the-board
    increases in per-course pay over the life of the contract.
  • Improved Course Stability: For the first time, Bentley has committed to promoting greater predictability and consistency in who teaches courses semester-to-semester.
  • Professional Development Fund: Bentley adjuncts will have access to funding to support research, scholarship, civic engagement and professional practice that contribute to the learning experience on campus.
  • A True Voice on Campus: Adjunct faculty have codified their academic freedoms and established a formal process to weigh in and address workplace conflicts and violations. 

“Negotiations like these are never easy, but both faculty and the administration remained committed to the process,” said Summar Sparks, a bargaining team leader and Adjunct Lecturer in Expository Writing. “After Friday’s marathon mediation session, I’m glad we were able to reach an agreement that we can bring back to our colleagues for a vote.”

The tentative agreement caps off a three-year effort by more than 200 professors at Bentley, who voted to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509’s Faculty Forward division in February of 2015. In the ensuing months, elected officials, community leaders, students and alumni joined part- and full-time faculty in an unprecedented public campaign to improve teaching and learning conditions at the Waltham campus.

“Thank you to all the students, alumni, community members and faculty from other institutions who took the time to write letters and keep the campus community informed,” said Joan Atlas, an Adjunct Professor in English and Media Studies who represents her colleagues in the Bentley Faculty Senate. “We know their support and activism made a big difference at the bargaining table.”

Friday’s settlement marked the latest milestone in the growing faculty union movement in Massachusetts – with nearly 4,000 instructors now joined in a shared effort to raise standards and improve the overall quality of higher education through SEIU Local 509. Contingent faculty broke new ground this spring with strong first contracts at Boston University and Northeastern, following landmark agreements atTufts and Lesley last year. Negotiations are underway among non-tenure-stream faculty at Brandeis University. Full-time lecturers and instructors have also entered the fray in recent months, netting landslide union victories at Tufts, BU and Lesley.

For interviews with professors leading the bargaining process, contact Gabriela Camargo Martins at (774) 326-0535 or gcmartins@seiu509.org. 

Pay Us What We’re Worth

Dear Colleague,

Last week we finally had federal mediation with the administration. While we were able to make progress around some unresolved issues in the contract, it is clear that the administration has no intention of paying us what we are worth.

After a Year of Negotiations, and Three Years Without a Raise, The Administration Still Insults Us.

The administration proposed to increase per course pay from $5,000 to $5,788 by the 2020-2021 academic year. That means in five years, an adjunct faculty member teaching four courses a year would earn $23,152 without benefits.

A floor specialist at Bentley makes $43,000 with benefits. A dispatcher makes $35,000 with benefits. These are full time jobs and these people deserve to make a living wage, but adjuncts, with advanced degrees, who are integral to the educational mission of the university, will continue to be the lowest paid people on campus.

What We Should Be Paid:

Our proposal would increase per course pay to $7,500 per course by the 2018-2019 academic year. That means three years from now an adjunct teaching four courses would earn $30,000 with no benefits. It would cost the university well under a million dollars more in the third year, which is just .5% of revenue and about .7% of net tuition revenue at the end of the third year — a tiny fraction of what the university spends each year.

Bentley’s lawyers and deans conceded that:

  1. We may be right in our contention that the adjuncts’ work is valuable to the university.
  2. We may be right that there is a 20% increase in work because of the per course contact hours that have been added this year and last
  3. We may be right about the minimal cost to the university


The administration feels they don’t need to pay us a cent more than they already do – according to the administration, this minimal increase comes out of pure generosity.

It is clear that we have to proceed with our protest on July 25th.

Direct action is the only way to get the media attention and community support that we need to pressure the administration into offering us a deal we can work with.


Monday, July 25th

4:00 PM

Bentley University

175 Forest St.

Waltham, MA 02452

All of us must be involved in order to make progress.


We have one more mediation scheduled before our protest.


Your presence will help. Will you be there?R.S.V.P. Here

Friday, July 22nd

9:30 AM

99 Summer St., Boston, MA

Suite #510

Facebook Event: www.BentleyAdjuncts.org/Facebook725


Bentley Adjunct Faculty Union