The university’s full-time faculty union is continuing plans to amend its constitution and negotiate a contract with administration to include more than 1,400 adjunct professors.
Adjunct faculty members voted to join the Temple Association of University Professionals in November 2015.
“[TAUP] is putting together ideas for proposals to bring to the bargaining table,” said TAUP President Art Hochner. He added the union was speaking with each member.
Jennie Shanker, adjunct professor in the Tyler School of Art, said bargaining priority surveys were sent to adjunct faculty members to gauge the most important concerns.
Adjunct faculty have expressed the “usual sort of concerns” like job stability and compensation, Hochner said.
Shanker added the surveys returned so far indicate adjuncts also prioritize issues like benefits and salary. TAUP hopes to have most of the surveys returned to hear as many voices as possible.
The survey results will lead to negotiations. TAUP is currently in the process of working to draft a new constitution that dues-paying members will need to ratify.
“At this point in time we’re in an in-between place where we’re moving forward,” Shanker said. “We’re part of the union, but we don’t have a contract.”
The goals of the amendments are mainly to change the union’s governance structure to include adjuncts and be more representational.
“[The proposals are] very inclusive and make it clear to everyone that every part of the faculty will have a voice,” Hochner said.
Hochner added TAUP also needs to negotiate a new contract with university management.
“The university has had some concerns of how [adjuncts joining] will change the face of the union,” said Sharon Boyle, associate vice president of human resources operations. The addition of adjuncts in TAUP could have a “significant impact on the way the union operates going forward,” she added.
A new contract is unique; the other 11 unions within the university are all operating on existing contracts, Boyle said.
Boyle added negotiations about full-time faculty between TAUP and administration last took place a little more than a year ago.
Since then, “TAUP had put forth a bit more of a confrontational stance on adjuncts,” she said.
She added administration has been “kind of stuck” since the union filed for adjunct accretion.
“We’re in a little bit of a limbo,” she said. “We thought we would be talking to them by now, but we understand they have a process.”
Following the amendments, there will likely be nominations and elections for additional representatives, Shanker said.
“Each of these constituencies will be guaranteed a place at the table,” she added. “[There will be a] wider range of people involved, from the executive committee level and down the line.”
Shanker said in comparison to last year, there is now a greater sense of optimism for the future.
“Just winning the election [to join TAUP] was huge,” she said. “Everyone feels more connected to other faculty. … Our future is that we’ll be working together.”
TAUP will vote on the amendments by the end of the semester, Shanker said.
Boyle, however, said it would be “optimistic” to vote so soon. A contract negotiation will likely take several months—the existing contract took five or six months to negotiate—because of the sheer volume of members included in the union and the need to accommodate both full-time and adjunct faculty, Boyle said.
Lian Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Lian_Parsons.