Category Archives: Dear Colleagues

Contact Us

If you have any questions about your union contract, or if you’re having issues, please reach out to your union and your faculty union representatives.

 

Jeremy Thompson: jthompson@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

BUT NONE OF THIS MATTERS TO THEM.

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.

R.S.V.P. HERE



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

Sincerely,

Bentley Adjunct Faculty Union

We Prepare for Federal Mediation

 

 

We have scheduled three negotiation sessions with a federal mediator, but so far the administration has canceled two of them. Monday is our third scheduled mediation and we hope to make major progress towards ensuring higher pay and job security for all Bentley adjuncts.

 Your presence will help.

Support from the Bentley Community:

 Over the past few months, alumni, students and faculty have written letters of support for Bentley adjuncts, urging the administration to stop dragging their heels and come to a fair agreement. In the last month we’ve forwarded hundreds of these letters to the Board of Trustees, so the entire administration can see the real human impact of low pay and no job security on their faculty, and see the overwhelming support adjuncts have in the Bentley community.

Bentley Is Being Left Behind:

At the end of May, Boston University adjunct faculty approved their first Union contract. The agreement significantly improves compensation over the next three years and gives adjunct faculty preferred status to teach courses that they previously taught. Boston University now joins Tufts, Lesley and Northeastern as the latest university in the Boston area to reach an agreement that improves pay, shows greater respect for adjuncts, and provides greater job security.

Elected Officials Express Their Concern:

 Local politicians have written letters to Gloria Larson expressing their concern that the administration has not reached an agreement with the adjuncts. Bentley cannot be the only school in the area that refuses to give its faculty meaningful pay increases and some form of job security — local officials are paying attention.

If Bentley Won’t Come Around:

 If the administration continues to refuse to come to a reasonable agreement, we will shine a spotlight on the disparities between Bentley’s public commitment to business ethics and the reality the administrations treatment of adjunct faculty throughout negotiations. On July 25th we will come together at the Center for Business Ethics 40th Anniversary Celebration to protest this disparity. We will be joined by allies from other universities and many concerned outside organizations from all over Boston. In this effort we must stand united  a few of us cannot be left to fight on behalf of everyone else.

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

R.S.V.P. HERE

Fair Contract Now!

Dear Colleague,

We all know that it’s been over a year since we voted overwhelmingly to form a union, and we’ve been working towards a collective bargaining agreement ever since. The negotiation process has been long and difficult in the face of an administration that has vehemently resisted all of our attempts to improve pay and job security for adjuncts, but last week was an exciting week for our campaign!

Faculty Senate Speaks Out

At Faculty Senate on Wednesday, April 6th our only adjunct faculty representative, Joan Atlas, gave a statement about the state of adjunct negotiations and the oppressive atmosphere that permeates our school. The administration has insisted that Faculty Senate should not be informed about what is happening during negotiations, and they’ve worked hard to silence any public examination of these issues, so Joan had to speak up during the “other items” portion of the meeting. To see a full copy of Joan’s remarks, click here.

This inspired a 45-minute discussion where many members of Faculty Senate expressed support for our goals, especially fairer pay for adjunct faculty and more transparency around the process.

Adjunct Faculty Take Action at the Open HouseBentley 040916

Saturday, April 9th was Bentley’s Open House for accepted students. There were over 800 potential students on campus with their families learning about Bentley, but we had faculty, students and supporters there too — teaching them about the adjunct experience at Bentley.

We handed out flyers and spoke to people as they came in. Then we took to the stairs of the library to speak out about the    treatment we have faced from the administration. In addition to full-time and part-time Bentley faculty, allies from Interfaith Worker Justice and adjuncts from other schools in the area also came to show their support.

We didn’t try to discourage anyone from coming to Bentley, or undo all the work people had put in to make the Open House a success — but we did take the opportunity to make sure our voice was heard.

Sincerely,

Bentley University Adjunct Union

Happy Valentine’s Day, From Out Students

As our bargaining committee continues to push for higher pay and more job security for all adjuncts at Bentley, the students showed their love and support for our cause too. As we go back and forth with the administration, it’s heartwarming to recognize that the students see our hard work and support our efforts for fairer treatment. 

On Thursday, in LaCava, students collected signatures on a Valentine to adjuncts and handed out flyers explaining how the school can afford to pay adjuncts fairly and that it has a moral obligation to do so.
The truth is that it would cost about 1 penny more out of each dollar of Bentley’s revenue to improve the pay of adjunct faculty over the next three years. At a time when the school is preparing to spend $45 million to build a new hockey rink, committing an extra one percent for fair adjunct professor pay seems trivial. 
The students understand that it is time for the Bentley administration stop trivializing its commitment to pay for teaching. The students are demanding that the administration make the choice to increase the pay of their lowest paid professors. They see it as a choice and a statement of the values that Bentley says that it stands for. Bentley should choose to treat and pay faculty fairly; we know it, the students know it, and soon the administration will know it too.

December Bargaining Update

The Bentley Administration Should Value Teaching

 

Students pay the same tuition, receive the same credits and have the same expectations from their professors whether a course is taught by an adjunct or full-time teaching faculty member. There is no reason we should be paid less for the same work – teaching.

Further, adjunct pay has not gone up in over two years and now the administration is planning to increase contact hours 20% per course by increasing the length of classes and the semester.

We proposed increasing our pay by at least $1,000 per course each year for the next three years. This covers the increased contact time with students and makes meaningful progress toward parity with full time teaching faculty.

The Bentley administration’s response is to continue to use adjunct faculty as a source of cheap labor that reduces the cost of classroom teaching rather than as filling an important instructional need for our university and our students.

The administration’s proposal:

• Offers only a one-time $75 increase for arts & science classes and a $375 increase for business classes.
• Tries to create a wedge between business and arts & science adjunct faculty by offering pennies more for teaching business courses.
• Ignores the 20% increase in classroom time by not offering to pay for our additional time.

Adjuncts must make it clear that pay for our work and making meaningful progress towards parity is important to all of us and to our students.

​OCTOBER 28 BARGAINING UPDATE

It’s time for Bentley to stop the bullying and start bargaining with adjunct faculty

Given our contribution to the university, we should not be treated as cheap, disposable academic labor. We made this point clear in our contract negotiation session Wednesday – and asserted that it is time for the Bentley administration to stop bullying and start bargaining in good faith.

The Vital Role We Play

At Bentley, adjunct faculty are hired to meet critical educational and staffing needs.We often teach courses that full-time faculty don’t teach. We contribute a unique perspective based on our professional experience and academic knowledge, which expands departmental offerings. We also teach many of the required introductory courses, giving tenured and tenure-track faculty more opportunity to focus on scholarship and teaching upper-level and graduate courses.
In fact, we teach one out of four courses to Bentley students. Our courses and expertise are vital to the educational mission of the university.

Changing the Paradigm

Our contract proposals aim to change the current paradigm and force the administration to face how it views the role of adjuncts in the university. Most recently, we proposed contract language that increases job security with one-year contracts and course guarantees – as well as a compensation proposal that, over three years, gets pay per course equal to full-time lecturers. Our proposal would also secure benefits equal to that of other part-time employees at the university.
These proposals challenge the administration to decide whether adjuncts are in fact filling an instructional staffing need, or are merely a way to reduce the cost of instruction.

Disappointing Response from the Administration

Instead of offering constructive counter proposals, the Bentley administration responded in two disappointing ways:
  • First, they warned us that if they paid adjuncts fairly and made the positions more stable, they may have less of a need for us because they would lose all the operational financial advantages of having adjuncts in the first place.
  • Second, they questioned our teaching ability and threatened that too many adjuncts survived not because of excellent teaching, but through the inertia and laziness of department chairs who don’t evaluate teaching performance.

Threats Won’t Be Tolerated    

We were clear in our response. As long as Bentley continues to rely on adjunct faculty, adjuncts should have more stable, predictable jobs and our teaching should be paid equally to other teaching faculty.
Threats won’t be tolerated, and we hope you’ll join us at an upcoming negotiation session to drive this point home. It is time that the Bentley administration stops bullying and starts bargaining!

Protect Your Academic Freedom

Bargaining Update from October 2, 2015

On Friday we had our most recent bargaining session with the administration. It is clear we have very different ideas of what is important to students and faculty as a whole. A glaring difference is the fact that administrators don’t value the academic freedom of the faculty.

The gradual erosion of tenure and increased use of adjunct faculty undermines academic freedom throughout the university. In the administration’s view, adjuncts are disposable; they don’t need a reason to fire (or not-reappoint) an adjunct. The lack of job security means we are forced to be cautious about the content of our courses, our independent scholarship and practice or are public activity. None of this bodes well for the intellectual life of Bentley or the educational experience of our students.

While the administration claims to recognize the importance of academic freedom – as higher education institutions do – there is a serious disconnected between what Bentley says and what they do. The Bentley Faculty Handbook recognizes academic freedomrights of tenured faculty. The administration says this policy applies to adjuncts, but there is no recourse if our academic freedom is violated. The easy answer is to provideprotection and recourse in our union contract, but the administration refuses to agree.

Academic freedom is central to the mission of how universities across the country. If the Bentley administration can’t grant this basic right, how are we supposed to come to any agreement?

Bargaining Update – September 11th

We Are Not Disposable Faculty

As we  discussed our contract proposals during negotiations with the Bentley administration, the most telling conversations revolved around our goal of “moving past contingency” and our assertion that academic freedom is a protected and valued right of all faculty, including adjuncts.

We are interested in more stable and predictable employment for adjunct faculty.  We think such employment arrangements will benefit students’ educational experiences which are defined in large measure by educational and mentoring relationships with faculty members, including adjuncts. These relationships commonly extend well beyond a single semester. Since many of us have taught regularly for several years, we also think longer appointments with greater guarantees for adjuncts reflect the actual experience at the University. Semester appointments are inefficient for the university and create unnecessary anxiety about whether we will be reappointed.

The Bentley administration seems committed to treating adjuncts as temporary, even if this “temporary” status spans many years.  The administration wants to preserve a status quo that allows them to dispose of adjuncts at any time and for any reason.

In negotiations, some representatives of the administration even asked if we would agree to allow them to terminate any adjunct who does not hold a terminal degree, regardless of the quality of his or her teaching or commitment to our students. (Our response was an emphatic “‘no.”)

Likewise, the administration rejected including academic freedom protections for adjunct faculty in the contract, and incorrectly wrongly stated that academic freedom only applies to research. In fact, the Bentley Academic Freedom Policy specifically states that academic freedom is related to classroom teaching and public citizenship as well as research. (Incidentally, many adjuncts also engage in research.)

Moreover, in many ways academic freedom protections are more important for adjuncts than tenured faculty, since we are not protected by tenure and are vulnerable to non-reappointment simply for what we say, do, or teach both inside and outside the classroom.

The challenge in further negotiations will be to find a balance between the administration’s demand to preserve their absolute authority and our need for stability and predictability. Our students need adjuncts with job security and academic freedoms who can focus their time and energy exclusively on excellent teaching. A more balanced approach is in the best interest of our students and the faculty.

Do you support our bargaining priorities? Make that clear by signing our open letter!

 

Next bargaining session → October 2nd: 11am-4pm

Moving Towards Parity

bentley moving towards parity logo color

Bentley University communicated to its students how it values teaching and ethical and social responsible leadership by how it treats its adjunct faculty. Adjunct compensation is typically 8% of net tuition revenue per course, which is about equal to the tuition rate for just over one (1.17) student enrolled in a given course.

Whether a course is taught by an adjunct faculty or a full-time faculty member:

• Students — and their parents — pay the same tuition.

• Students receive the same number of credits.

• Students and the university expect the same standards of teaching excellence.

An adjunct faculty member, usually with an advanced degree, teaching 4 courses online casino per year is paidbelow the Federal Poverty Level for a family of four ($24,250) but without any benefits (82% of FPL).

Comparing the compensation of adjunct faculty to others who teach at Bentley, an adjunct faculty member would have to teach 26 courses per year at the current rate to equal the pay of the average assistant professor”s compensation, or about 15 courses to equal the compensation of a full-time lecturer. Assistant professors have additional responsibilities beyond teaching, but this comparison reflects the value that the university places on teaching. The value assigned to teaching by adjunct faculty is relatively low compared to junior tenure track faculty. 

Adjunct compensation should equal compensation paid to full time faculty for teaching. Parity is as simple as equal pay for equal work, which emphasizes the importance of teaching and learning to our core mission and to our students.

It doesn”t matter if an adjunct teaches as an avocation or a vocation, teaching should be valued the same.

On Behalf of the Bargaining Committee,

Joan Atlas, English & Media Studies

Eric Graber, Economics 

Thomas Johnson, History

Charles Saccardo, Economics

Elaine Saunders, Mathematical Science

Clarissa Sawyer, Natural & Applied Sciences

George Seeley, Global Studies

Jonathan Speros, Accountancy