Temple’s faculty union is still negotiating a contract with the university to include adjunct faculty in its collective bargaining agreement.
The Temple Association of University Professionals began negotiations with the university in May, leaders said, and the process is taking longer than usual because they have never worked part-time faculty into a contract.
In December 2015, more than 600 part-time faculty voted to join the union, which until then had only represented about 1,300 full-time faculty, librarians and academic professionals, like lab technicians and academic advisers, from the schools and colleges that enroll undergraduate students. The vote decided that 1,400 part-time faculty would be included in the union. TAUP will begin representing adjuncts in October 2018, when the contract they are negotiating comes into effect.
Now, Temple and TAUP are negotiating a single contract to represent both full-time and adjunct faculty.
While much of the negotiation focuses on the incorporation of adjuncts into the contract, the differences between how full- and part-time faculty are paid or earn preference through seniority could have an unforeseen trickle-down effect.
The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board told TAUP that “regular” part-time faculty must be represented by the contract, but did not specify what makes a part-time faculty member “regular,” said TAUP President Art Hochner.
“That makes it hard to negotiate over salary,” he said. “The number of people counted as ‘regular’ would change the calculation of how much they earn.”
Hochner said creating space for private offices for adjuncts and establishing a “career ladder,” or how employees get promoted over time, are important parts of the negotiations.
He added that the primary goals of negotiations are to encourage adjuncts to remain at Temple, and to make sure they don’t worry about losing their jobs.
“At the surface it seems simple,” said Sharon Boyle, Temple’s associate vice president for Human Resources and a member of the university’s negotiation team. “But we’re dealing with a whole new faculty, and it’s far more complex. How do we fold 1,400 part-time faculty into a contract designed for [about 1,300] full-time faculty?”
She said every adjustment to the contract will have a “ripple effect” because while a proposal would create two new full-time positions, it would replace four part-time positions, in the end taking away two positions. Boyle said the university is taking time to ensure that none of the decisions in the negotiation have unintended consequences.
If the negotiations were rushed, she added, it would open the door for complaints and grievances, which are time consuming, costly and not good for the university’s relationship with faculty.
Boyle said Temple is looking at contract agreements at Rutgers University and the Community College of Philadelphia as examples during the negotiations. Rutgers has full- and part-time faculty represented by the same union but in separate contracts, and CCP has a faculty union that includes adjuncts.
But the PLRB told TAUP that all faculty have to be represented under one collective bargaining agreement, said Paul Dannenfelser, an adjunct instructor of social work in the College of Public Health and one of the faculty members representing TAUP during the negotiations.
“We’re making progress,” he said. “It’s slow and steady progress.”
“Adjuncts already do so much in teaching,” Dannenfelser added. “We have to make sure that their needs are represented too.”
Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristieJules.