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CUNY adjuncts win pay for some work outside classroom.

NEW YORK -- In what is being called a "break, through" settlement, part-time instructors at the City University of New York soon will be compensated for some work outside the classroom. The system's board of trustees agreed late last month to increase the salaries of some of the 7,250 CUNY adjunct staff by 23 percent, effective Sept. 1, according to Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress.

It is the first time CUNY adjuncts, who comprise nearly 43 percent of the two-and four-year college system's faculty, will be paid for office hours and other work outside the classroom.

According to the contract, adjunct faculty members who teach at least six hours per week at any one CUNY college will now be paid for an additional hour of work each week at the same rate they earn in the classroom.

The new terms also included new titles such as "distinguished lecturer" for some adjuncts, and granted the equivalent of a semester of fully paid release time for tenured faculty to do research. The total economic package is equal to a 9 percent increase over a period of 27 months. But every faculty member, adjunct and full-time, will get at least a 7 percent salary raise, retroactive to last August.

Bowen said negotiations for the contract were "long and tough" but they had committed themselves from the beginning to winning more equitable pay for adjuncts.

"(I)t's a great beginning because it brings structural changes to the university," Bowen said.

She said they were still trying to make improvements to health and pension benefits, but so tar part-timers have been "thrilled and delighted" with the results.

American Association of University Professors national field director Richard Moser agreed. He said the compensation agreement is an important break-through in a city where part-time faculty members teach about half of all undergraduate courses.

But the pay raise did not impress everyone.

Vincent Tirelli, an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College, said the contract had made significant gains only in terms of the additional professional hours. "It (the pay raise) was expected ... we're so far behind anyway," said Tirelli. "The contract just allows us to do the work we've already been doing."

Tirelli said the changes in health and pension benefits were nominal. Before the contract, adjunct faculty would get health coverage only after a year's work. Now they would have that option after two semesters.

Jamie Horowitz, a spokesman for the American Federation of Teachers, acknowledged that while the favorable terms of the new contract had attracted many additional CUNY faculty to union membership, college concessions to adjunct members are still largely a "West Coast phenomenon."

At California State University, for instance, where part-time "lecturers" comprise 53 percent of total faculty at its 23 campuses, both tenured and temporary staff are on the same pay scale, said Elizabeth Hoffman, the associate vice-president for lecturers of the California State University-Long Beach's Faculty Center for Professional Development.

Temporary lecturers at CSU campuses are also eligible for long-term appointments after six years, she said.

"CUNY has got itself a good contract and nationwide it is a milestone," Hoffman said.

Still, compared to CUNY, she said, health and pension benefits for part-timers at California colleges are way ahead.

But as the Professional Staff Congress's Bowen pointed out, the new agreement is "one of the few contracts in recent New York labor history to make an investment in achieving equity among salaries--at both the bottom and the top of the salary scale."

The last time CUNY adjuncts got a pay hike was on Oct. 1, 1999, said Rita Rodin, a spokeswoman from the CUNY Board of Trustees. But even as adjuncts celebrate their recent gains, the Professional Staff Congress will be back at the bargaining table by the end of October.
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Title Annotation:City University of New York
Author:Banerji, Shilpa
Publication:Community College Week
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 22, 2002
Words:631
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