BU, adjuncts reach contract settlement

Published in The Boston Globe April 28 print

By: J.D. Capelouto and Mina Corpuz

Boston University adjunct faculty reached a contract settlement with the school early Thursday morning after more than a year of campaigning for improved wages and conditions, officials said.

The three-year agreement is now subject to a vote by the adjunct professors.

“We’ve standardized a movement toward parity,” said Laurie LaPorte, a part-time anthropology professor. “Students get to take the same course and get the same credit, so compensation should reflect that no matter the rank of the professor teaching the course.”

More than 750 part-time faculty members voted last February to join Faculty Forward, a part of Service Employees International Union Local 509.

Marie McDonough, a member of the bargaining committee who teaches in the writing center, said everyone will get a 6 percent pay increase, and the minimum course rate for most faculty will go up by 40 percent.

“The stability and continuity is something we feel good about,” she said. “One big change . . . that we don’t see in the contract, but have seen throughout the bargaining process, is that we feel recognized in the university in a way that we didn’t feel before.”

Provost Jean Morrison said the university looks forward to implementing elements of the contract ratified by members of the union.

“This contract will facilitate our collaborative and respectful relationship with our part-time faculty,” she said in a statement released by the university.

Part-time faculty will receive compensation for classes canceled shortly before the semester begins — the first time this coursestability has been extended to adjunct faculty, SEIU said.

They will also gain access to financial support for developing new courses or attending conferences to help improve teaching, McDonough said.

BU has also offered the adjuncts an “elevated voice in decisions that impact their teaching and their students,” including a set process to respond to workplace violations, SEIU said.

The settlement comes amid campuswide protests, including one on April 14 in which many students, professors, and other Boston-area union workers marched down Commonwealth Avenue and delivered a petition to BU’s president Robert Brown.

BU adjuncts are joined by several Boston-area schools in Faculty Forward , which now includes BU, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Brandeis University, Bentley University, and Lesley University.Adjuncts at Tufts, Lesley, and Northeastern have reached agreements in the past two years similar to BU’s.

Adjuncts groups at Brandeis and Bentley are still negotiating contracts, the union said.

Negotiations are also still underway for full-time faculty members at BU, who earlier this month voted to join SEIU by a 4-to-1 margin.

 

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