By Ally Uhlendorf
The College’s branch of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has reached a verbal agreement with the state and college presidents on a new full-time contract, as well as a new adjunct faculty contract, after nine months of back-and-forth negotiating with the state. The deal was reached on Nov. 3.
“I am delighted that we finally have what seems to be a fair and reasonable contract,” said interdisciplinary business professor and union member Susanna Monseau, “and I am very grateful for the hard work of our negotiating team in getting us there.”
None of the following contractual agreements have been officially documented in writing, nor have they been ratified by the union’s members. An agreement with the state is in principle, according to biology professor and AFT President Matthew Wund.
Full-time employees will receive a 3.5% cost of living increase in each of the four years the contract will be in place. In addition, a 13th step will be added to the salary guide.
“The step system is an additional way that full-time employees accrue raises for time served in their positions,” Wund explained.“After a certain amount of time in their position, employees move up a step to a higher salary. We had previously had 12 steps, with some members frozen at this step for 5-10 years or more. This 13th step provides an additional opportunity for advancement.”
More protections for non-tenured teaching professionals, such as lecturers or clinical specialists, will also be in the new contract. Finally, a substantial raise in the rate of pay for summer, winter and overload teaching will be provided. Previously, when full-time faculty have taught in the summer or beyond the contractual obligation, they have been paid at a rate lower than the standard salary.
In the new adjunct agreement, a 30.5% increase in adjunct salary over the four years of the contract will be added. Adjunct pay will now match the pay that full-time faculty earn for overload teaching. Due to this salary increase, the adjunct negotiating team agreed to guarantee availability to students for guaranteed office hours outside of the classroom.
“This is a great recognition of the work many adjuncts have been doing for free, and of course is a real benefit to students,” Wund said.
The next step of this process is for the state to provide the final version of both contracts. Once the agreement is written and finalized, “[The union] will then present these tentative contracts to our members for a ratification vote,” Wund said. “We will be strongly encouraging our members to ratify them.”
This is a developing story and will be updated if new information is released.