Fordham University Non-Tenure Track Faculty Ratify First Contract Agreement
NEW YORK (July 17, 2018) — The members of Fordham Faculty United/SEIU Local 200United, the union of more than 800 Fordham University adjunct and full-time, non-tenure-track faculty, voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first collective bargaining agreement with the Fordham administration. The vote came after a record-setting four months of bargaining and just seven months after non-tenure track faculty voted 16-to-1 to unionize.
Fordham's new three-year contract secures wage increases that rank among the highest ever won in a first contract by the more than 50,000 non-tenure track faculty affiliated with SEIU. For most adjunct faculty, pay will rise between 67% to 90%, with a majority of adjuncts receiving between $7,000 to $8,000 per course by the third year of the contract, depending on how long they have taught at Fordham. The contract sets a new minimum annual salary of $64,000 by the third year of the contract for full-time, non-tenure-track faculty with full course loads, an increase of roughly $14,000 for some of the lowest paid full-timers at Fordham.
The contract also contains important new job security and professional development provisions, including longer-term appointments and just cause protections, professional development funds totaling $50,000, and two fully-paid professional development semester leaves for full-time members.
Ashar Foley, a Fordham University Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies and member of the union negotiating committee, said, “I’m so happy to have helped bring this change in our working conditions. Not only does it benefit us and our students, but it also makes a strong case for unionization to faculty at other Jesuit institutions, and to all other institutions of higher learning in the New York City area. By unionizing, we play our part in the Jesuit University mission of alleviating poverty, promoting justice, and protecting human rights."
Diane George, a Fordham University Adjunct in Sociology & Anthropology and a member of the union negotiating committee, added, “We're thrilled to be getting significant pay increases and job security in our first contract. While there are still substantial issues to be addressed, particularly for adjunct faculty, the contract represents a major step towards transforming the exploitative system of contingent employment that is destroying higher education in this country.”
Last year, SEIU Local 200United struck a landmark neutrality agreement with Fordham University after an outpouring of support from students, tenure-track faculty, alumni, and various elected officials, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York State Senator George Latimer,and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Eligible faculty then voted 16 to 1 to join SEIU Local 200United.
Fordham joins other Jesuit institutions that have made efforts to live up to their social justice principles. In April, Georgetown University agreed to allow a union election through a third-party process, maintaining its independence from the National Labor Relations Board and state influence. Non-tenure track faculty at Saint Louis University and Loyola University Chicago have also formed unions.
The contract ratification at Fordham marks the eighth contract reached by SEIU Local 200United since the launch of the Faculty Forward organizing effort in 2014 and is the first in the New York City area. Last month, adjunct faculty at Nazareth College in the greater Rochester Area voted 3-to-1 to join SEIU Local 200United. Nationally, more than 54,000 contingent faculty and graduate workers on more than 60 campuses have joined SEIU, including over 3,000 who have joined SEIU Local 200United since 2014. SEIU’S national higher education campaign, Faculty Forward, is working to raise standards in higher education by unionizing faculty across the country.