Part-Time Lecturers (PTLs), called “adjuncts” elsewhere, teach in nearly every department at Rutgers University. More than 1,300 PTLs are responsible for nearly 30% of all undergraduate instruction, in addition to teaching in our specialty and graduate schools. PTLs voted to unionize in 1988, forming the Part-Time Lecturer Faculty Chapter (PTLFC)-AAUP-AFT. (AFT Local 6324)
- 2012 PTL Independent Study Agreement
Rights & Benefits
Here are some highlights of our Contract for 2018-2022:
A Path to Career Advancement
For the first time, we have won a career path for PTLs. We now have three (3) levels of advancement—PTL, PTL 2, and PTL 3. After 12 semesters, PTLs are eligible to advance to PTL 2 with a 9% increase in base pay. After an additional 12 semesters, PTL 2s may advance to the next level of PTL 3 with an additional pay increase of 9% of base pay. This is in addition to the negotiated across-the-board (ATB) wage increases. We made sure that the accrued semesters required for advancement need not be consecutive nor within the same department. Those PTLs who are immediately eligible for advancement to PTL 2 or PTL 3 will be evaluated during the Fall 2019 semester and will receive an increase in Spring 2020.
Significant Pay Increases
The contract has across-the-board (ATB) wage increases of more than 12% compounded over the life of the contract (3% retroactive to Fall 2018, 3% Fall 2019, 3% Fall 2020, 2.5% Fall 2021.) Those who advance to PTL 3 will see a raise of 33 percent over the four years, while those who advance to PTL 2 will see a raise of 23 percent over the life of the contract. Nearly 1,100 PTLs, approximately 40 percent of the part-time faculty, will be eligible for advancement over the course of the contract. PTLs who were employed for at least 12 semesters prior to Fall 2018 and advance to PTL 2 will earn a salary of at least $6,636 per 3 credit course by the end of the contract. Similarly situated PTL 3s will earn a salary of at least $7,234 per 3 credit course by the end of the contract.
Achieving greater job security was one of our important negotiations goals. We have achieved the proverbial foot in the door by winning language that requires two-semester appointments for PTL 3s who have taught at least one course each semester in the prior 6 academic years of consecutive service. This is the first time we have achieved firm multi-semester appointments as a part of our contract.
Priority in Appointment
In prior contracts we achieved protections for our longstanding PTLs with 10 semesters of service in terms of priority of appointment. We have defended and strengthened our ability to grieve a violation of this important protection, including during a break in service of up to four semesters.
A Stronger Grievance Procedure
This contract now has a stronger grievance procedure to redress wrongs. Priority of appointment is now grievable, even if a PTL has a break in service of up to four semesters. PTLs who are seeking advancement will now be able to grieve issues connected to their evaluations. Now, violations of discrimination and harassment are grievable to binding arbitration.
Enhanced Professional Development Fund
In prior contracts, we negotiated a Professional Development Fund (PDF) that reimburses PTLs for conferences and classroom materials related to teaching excellence. This is a highly valuable resource for PTLs. In this agreement, we have increased the PDF to $300,000 over the life of the contract and made sure that PTLs could apply retroactively for reimbursement for the 2018-19 academic year.
Professional Evaluations Process
For the past three years, we have participated in a Joint Committee on Evaluations and Career Advancement negotiated in our last contract. It was our goal to improve the evaluation process for PTLs as a means to achieve meaningful career advancement. We have new language in this agreement that provides a fair and efficient evaluations process which is meaningful and leads to advancement.
Protections Against Discrimination and Harassment
We have achieved new contract language to ensure that our workplaces are free from discrimination and harassment enforced with binding arbitration.
This new agreement moves PTLs forward in very essential ways. While we did not realize all of our ambitious proposals, we will continue to fight. The Union fought hard to achieve health benefits language in this contract and though we did not win contractual healthcare, we vow to continue this fight in other forums, including with the state, in coalition with other unions. In the coming years, and in future contracts, we will continue to build upon the work we’ve done to achieve greater equity on pay and status with our colleagues. A word of thanks to our full time faculty and TA/GA colleagues for standing with us to the end as well as to those other unions in our coalition who provided support and still need our support as they look to complete their own negotiations.
Why are PTLs in a separate bargaining unit from full-time faculty and TA-GAs?
Rutgers’ PTLs petitioned for a union election in 1988 and then voted overwhelmingly to become a union. Therefore, the AAUP-AFT represents part-time faculty at Rutgers in a separate bargaining unit called the Part-Time Lecturers Faculty Chapter of the AAUP-AFT. Full-time faculty are the employer of record for PTLs in most departments, so there would be a conflict of interest if both groups were in the same bargaining unit.
The Rutgers Council of AAUP Chapters, AAUP-AFT has over 8,500 bargaining unit members and maintains a dual identity as a professional association and bargaining agent, enhancing the quality of education at Rutgers by representing member interests and protecting their rights as employees.
Thus, PTLs have our own voice and autonomy as a bargaining unit, yet we are in the same parent organization as the full-time faculty. Full-time faculty at Rutgers have had union recognition since 1970. TA/GAs were added to the bargaining unit in 1972. Rutgers AAUP-AFT is the largest AAUP chapter in the nation and the largest in the AFT.
Why should I join the Part-Time Lecturer Faculty Chapter (PTLFC) of the AAUP-AFT, even when
—I’m only appointed for a short time, such as one or two semesters?
Although most PTLs are appointed term-to-term, the average stay is eight years and many of us have been teaching at RU for 20-25 years. One of the reasons we organized ourselves into the PTLFC in the first place was that PTLs received very little recognition for their long committed service in spite of being a “contingent” workforce. One important gain in the 2015-2018 Agreement is that a PTL in his or her first semester of teaching no longer will have to wait one semester before being eligible to join the PTL Faculty Chapter and have rights on the job, including the right to the union-negotiated minimum salary. PTLs also retain membership until three consecutive semesters have passed without teaching. Please take a few seconds to join here.
—if all PTLs are represented anyway?
The more official members we have, the stronger our organization. The force the union can bring to bear at the bargaining table and at grievances is directly proportional to our numbers. Though the PTLFC-AAUP-AFT represents you whether you join or not, that representation is much more effective if you join. The representation fee is required by state labor law and is automatically deducted from your paycheck, but “upgrading” to union membership means you want to improve the professional status of part-time lecturers who carry 30% of the undergraduate classes.
What do I get?
Joining the union gives you a voice in contract negotiations and organizational policy, as well as a vote in contract ratification and officer elections. Once your membership application is processed you will receive a packet of materials including our collective bargaining agreement, our organizational by-laws, a list of discounts available, along with other items. You will also begin receiving Academe, the national AAUP’s journal, and national AFT’s On Campus. You are part of making sure that PTLs, in spite of being contingent faculty, have an organization with mechanisms for making improvement: negotiations, advocacy, grievance procedures.
What do I pay?
When you become a member of the PTLFC of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT, dues are a nominal 1.25% of your wages (that would be $68.66 a term if your salary is the minimum for a 3-credit course $5,493). Dues are deducted over the semester’s paychecks — $3.21 per paycheck, based on this 3-credit course minimum salary.
Only dues-paying members are involved in decision making and may vote. Strong membership means we have greater effectiveness in negotiations and provides us all needed leverage in bargaining. Faculty working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.