Welcome to the Adjunct Message Center. Our goal is to gather comments dealing with adjunct related issues and forward them to the PSC. Given that the contract is currently under negotiation, this is an opportune time to voice your concerns. 
 What we would especially like to know is how you feel about the workload (article 15.2 in the contract) which limits adjunct faculty to nine classroom contact hours at one campus and six at another. Many adjuncts would like a more flexible workload that does not compel them to endure the hardships of traveling between multiple campuses and negotiating conflicting schedules.  Over time, this problem has been exacerbated by three to four hours transformations of core courses typically taught by adjuncts.  Since three does not divide evenly into nine, adjuncts who are accustomed to teaching three courses at their home campus are at risk of losing one of these.  This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
 We would also like to know how you feel about job security. The letter adjuncts receive from their employer offers re-employment contingent on “sufficiency of enrollment, financial availability, and curriculum need.” Many adjuncts would like a seniority system that provides greater job stability.  Since adjuncts have already been subject to ten semesters of peer review, imposing additional review as a prerequisite for contracts offering greater job stability would be unwarranted.
Please scroll all the way down past the comments below and LEAVE A COMMENT of your own including your name, campus, and title. Please provide a detailed response to one or more than one of the following questions:  
  1. Are you in favor of a more flexible workload?  Discuss the problem(s) with the nine hour per campus limit. Would you vote in favor of a contract that did NOT provide a more flexible workload?
  2. Are you in favor of a seniority system based solely on date of hire?  Would you vote in favor of a contract that did not proved a seniority system based solely on date of hire?
  3. Would you vote in favor of  a contract that subjected adjuncts to mandatory, perpetual review as a prerequisite for greater job stability?
 If you are  would like to SIGN OUR PETITION promoting seniority system based solely on date of initial hire, a significant movement toward pay equity, and a more flexible workload, click on the word PETITION. If you have already sign it, we thank you.  
If you would like to be added to our contact list, include your email address as well. We are looking forward to hearing what you have to say. 
Please tell your colleagues about this site and post it on whatever listservs you know.  Our website address is unity606.wordpress.com. Thank you.
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19 thoughts on “

  1. Hello Adjunct Message Center,

    I would like to comment on the workload. This is a problem for me and other people in my department. As a result of the 9 hour per-campus limit, adjuncts are at risk of losing one of their courses. This is due to the recent three to four hour transformation of certain core courses typically taught by adjuncts. Since 4 does not divide evenly into 9, there are less courses to go around. We really have to do something about this. A more flexible workload that allows adjuncts more hours at their home campus would be very helpful. I am not asking for more than the 15 hour cap. I simply want more flexibility within this limit. I hope the PSC leadership recognized the importance of this and does something about it. We really do need a change.

    Best,
    Andrew Gottlieb
    Adjunct-Lecturer
    BMCC
    agottlieb@bmcc.cuny.edu

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  2. I am totally opposed to the 9/6 rule, which limits adjuncts to teaching no more than 9 credits at one CUNY campus and no more than 6 at another. It’s especially important to note that the latter 6 credits must be no more than ONE course. Since 6-credit courses are relatively rare, this means that most adjuncts are currently limited to one course at a second CUNY campus, which means NO office hour at that campus and no option to teach two courses at each campus. Why is it OK to teach 3+1 but not 2+2?

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  3. Seniority based upon initial hire. Parity regarding work schedule. Fairness in creating course offerings for full-time employed students who require late evening classes which are NOT a priority for full-time professors

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  4. The introduction of a four hour course has created havoc in adjunct teaching schedules. I would like to see 9/6 relaxed so that we can continue to teach the same three courses we always have enjoyed.

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  5. I would like for the PSC to fight for access to unemployment benefits for adjuncts in the summer months. I know everyone wants their “letters of employment” to guarantee job security, but we all know those letters are meaningless. Well, WE all know, but the Unemployment Office does not; if you have a letter offering you work for the fall, you can’t receive benefits, regardless of the wording on the letter. I would rather NOT get a letter so I can get paid over the summer while I’m unemployed! That said, the letter’s explanation of the contingency of our jobs should be enough for us to access benefits, but it isn’t.

    I’ve written to the PSC about this numerous times, and as far as I know they’ve done nothing. Because they only work on issues that effect full time faculty and they could care less about adjuncts. But more power to you for trying to work with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Some parity in benefits would be nice. More than 2/3 of my paycheck goes to cover health benefits for my family that I get through PSC. That is unfair.

    Also, last February I had to deliver my daughter via cesarean. I was teaching in the Fall semester but had complications with pregnancy so asked a colleague to proctor 1 of my final exams. But I had to deliver in February after the start of the Spring semester. I was only able to teach for 2 weeks and my mom had to come with me by cab and stay while I taught because I was in tremendous amount of pain. As an adjunct I could not take even 2 weeks of paid maternity leave! I had to find subs and offer to pay them out of pocket and had to agree to be back to work no more than 3 weeks after delivery. I was back to work and in horrible pain 2 weeks after my c-section which set me back in my recovery and my breastfeeding goals.

    My only other option would have been to take that entire semester off. But then not only would I lose my wages and my family’s health insurance but also my chances of getting rehired at the same salary or at all!

    And this is after 14 years of loyal service!

    We are not disposable unskilled laborers and yet we get treated as such.

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  7. While being happy to be an integral part of a leading college / university system…
    in my case it took 2 and a half years to get a key to the department office, and one is relegated to a file cabinet for storage, so let’s hope that this “international divide” between full-timers and part-timers does not continue to ‘dichotomize’, as the percents of courses taught in every college continues to grow toward itinerant labor, with no “reversal of fortune” for the many educated teachers in higher education who would seek to be “promoted” from adjunct to full-time…

    But that would take a re-examination of the whole budgetary picture that the whole CUNY admin would need to revolutionize…

    And (opinion here) Bernie Sander’s “solution” of free tuition would only make matters worse for every college, and thus consequentially every hardworking full-timer, and every adjunct who would stay contingent / itinerant help…

    An equitable contract means that the entire system needs to be re-examined, and respect for seniority, as based on initial date of hire for the many Adjuncts / Part-timers needs to become effective in the Agreement across CUNY…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Though CUNY’s hourly rate is already generous compared to some others, being able to work more hours at CUNY would not only make adjuncts’ lives easier but give them more of a grounding in the institution (they’d be able to work at CUNY as opposed to other places without this limitation).

    As well, adjuncts should be able to work at more than two CUNY institutions, for the same reasons.

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  9. The 9/6 adjunct rule may once have served a purpose positive to the aims and goals of the PSC, namely to protect Adjuncts from being overworked and exploited, and to give CUNY an incentive to hire more full-time faculty. In the current economic circumstances, however, we know that neither of those things has happened—or is even likely to happen: Adjuncts continue to be exploited, and rather than increasing, the number of full-time positions is in attrition. System-wide, the average cumulative attrition after 5 years for assistant professors hovers around 30%. In testimony given at a hearing in April 2014, representatives of the PSC admitted to the NYC City Council that “[…] thousands of adjuncts who hope to teach full-time at CUNY are not able to move to full-time appointments, often because of a shortage of funding for full-time positions.” 1
    As a late-in-life transfer to the world of academia, it took me some time to become accustomed to a great number of procedures and processes that simply have no equivalent in the business world. It is only after a few semesters of juggling with my schedule as an Adjunct Lecturer that I feel qualified to even attempt to decode the arcane vicissitudes of the system.
    First, I wish to assert that the 9/6 rule has not increased the hires of full-time faculty. The budget lines for full-time faculty do not get created, and the university simply hires more and more adjuncts, replacing those it discards by discouragement with an ever-increasing crop of fresh talent willing to take part-time employment because full-time work is incrementally rarer and rarer. Supply exceeds demand, beggars can’t be choosers—take your prick of expressions—the reality remains the same: Adjuncts are an increasing part of every university system and CUNY is not about to create new full-time budget lines if it doesn’t need to. And with the glut of Adjuncts on the job market, they don’t need to.
    Second, we need to look at the real-world consequences of a rule that requires teaching 9 credits on one campus and 6 on another. In the real-world, I do not know a single adjunct who has been able match up teaching schedules on two campuses. The distance and travel-times between campuses and the inability to have very much input into one’s designated teaching schedule means that, effectively, adjuncts are fortunate if they can get a total of 9 credit divided up on two campuses—12 if they are very lucky. And, as any adjunct will tell you, a teaching load of 9 or even 12 credits for two semesters a year is simply not enough to pay the bills.
    At the very least, if the rule could be amended to allow for up to a total of 16 credits—regardless of where those hours would be performed—it would create much greater scheduling flexibility for Adjuncts. It is not a complete solution, obviously; but something is better than nothing and, sometimes, the perfect is the enemy of the good.
    There is an added benefit to such a proposal: both CUNY and the PSC could reduce health care expenditures as, presumably, the more efficient use of existing Adjuncts would lessen the need to hire additional new Adjuncts thus lowering the number of Adjuncts requiring insurance. It might even raise retention rates…something from which the students, the administration and the PSC would undoubtedly benefit greatly.

    1) TESTIMONY OF THE PROFESSIONAL STAFF CONGRESS/CUNY NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL HEARING APRIL 25, 2014
    http://www.psc-cuny.org/sites/default/files/CUNY%20and%20Race%20Testimony%20Final.pdf (p. 10)

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  10. I’ve been working as an adjunct in the CUNY system for over thirty years and I live on the edge of poverty. The restrictions on workload have prevented me from earning a livable wage. I can not describe how seriously article 15.2 has damaged my life

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  11. With the ever increasing shift to adjunct labor in the academy, it is high time that those who teach the majority of classes at CUNY receive pay and working conditions more commensurate with their full time colleagues and the time and effort they put into their classrooms, research, publications, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Agreed! I often can not work on special projects or research with my students due to this limitations. It affects quality of adjunct work to serve students needs. It is not only how much; when we get paid, but how well can we work under various limitations. My job is not secure at three teaching courses, nor can I enhance my teaching and scholarship.

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  13. I recently addressed a PSC representative who came to our College and asked her to relate the faculty’s outrage with the 9-6 rule. The representative suggested that this was not a common stance. Instead, she said “I’ve been in this business a long time, and the only way we will change is if you protest.” This petition is a very good start, but I refuse to “protest” against people that are meant to protect me. The fact that the current PSC administration has indeed “been in this business a long time” is the problem. We must offer a real slate of candidates in their stead. They have lost touch with the needs of the faculty, and now see the union as a business. If it is any consolation, my Department will not take any group action to support the PSC’s efforts to negotiate a contract until the 9-6 rule is overturned.

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  14. I want a contract that maintains a seniority system based solely on the initial date of hiring. I have been inspected for many more than ten semesters, I would not vote for a contract that subjects me to further review..

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  15. It would be great if Adjuncts Unite could really unite CUNY-wide and run a candidate for PSC President.
    So long as the FT Tail wags the Adjunct Dog, we will not see much in the way of across-the-board Professional Equity & Parity.
    What we have here is a 2 tier faculty caste structure based on inequality on every, yes every, point of professional life — access, facilities, opportunities, wages, benefits.

    We need to come together to give up a piecemeal approach and instead spotlight across-the-board professional equity and parity front and center.

    If we can collectively produce a platform that knocks the FT PSC agenda out of the box I’m all for it. WE are the Majority Faculty at CUNY,
    Let us ACT together to maximize that reality.
    Dr. Chithra KarunaKaran
    BMCC Social Sciences
    Inwood Campus

    212-567-5825 (Inwood Campus Faculty Office)
    have taught 3 courses every semester since Fall ’97.
    Love my work and will continue to persuade in favor of Parity — Office space, seniority/merit and sabbatical leave to College Service, Online teaching leading to CUNY certification + the entire array *professional parity provisions*.

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  16. 9/6 is killing me. I have never seen a 6 credit course, so that is out for me. Then I have to scramble to see which campus will offer me closest to 9 hours (Often neither, they don’t know exact numbers until too late). There is no stability and no predictability in the job and that is not good when you support a family of five. At least with more flexibility on where and how much we can teach, we could go when and where the need existed.

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