Category Archives: Part-Time Issues

Issues related to the part-time faculty status

Parity and Equity the focus of November 14th General Union Membership Meeting

We will hold a General [Union] Membership Meeting on Thursday, November 14th from 5:00 to 7:00 in the Alumni Reading Room [3rd floor, Brooklyn Library].

The single topic for discussion will be: ‘Equity’ & ‘Parity’, in particular, for Part-Time Faculty…

What is meant by equity? What is meant by parity? How do we get there if at all?

Please bring your ideas and questions to this open-discussion, as this is a ‘global’ issue affecting faculty across higher-ed and the nation. Over his ten years as UFCT President, Kye Carbone has been working on issues of equity and parity: he will provide historical context for the next push for parity/equity, and make the case as to why this issue warrants every single UFCT bargaining unit member’s full-attention, whether you are full-time or part-time, tenured or non-tenured.

No need to RSVP: all dues-paying members are welcome.

Following the meeting, the UFCT will be hosting a Happy Hour(s)!! at the Brooklyn Public House (DeKalb, a few doors in from Vanderbilt…).

PT Faculty Union Member Emily Beall and UFCT Secretary Holly Wilson Attend Contingent Labor Meeting in DC

Dear Colleagues,

I recently attended, with UFCT local 1460 Secretary Holly Wilson, a Summit on the role of contingent labor in the academy.  The Summit was titled, “Reclaiming Academic Democracy: Facing the Consequences of Contingent Employment in Higher Education,” and was convened by a new organization called “New Faculty Majority,” whose goal is to educate about and advocate for equity for contingent professors nationally.  They work with existing unions, but are something of a supra-union organization–not unlike, say, the Freelancer’s Union.  I encourage you to read MLA President Michael Bérubé’s astute briefing on the summit at the Chronicle of Higher Ed, but I’d like to add my own ‘report-back’ here, too.

It was incredibly enlivening to speak with and learn from my counterparts across the country, and I met many committed unionists who, like our Union, have been innovating ways to garner rights and benefits for their Adjunct members.  Of course, many faculty don’t have the privilege and protection of a union, which means (as many of us who work at other institutions perhaps know too well):  no rights, no benefits, no assurance of work from semester-to-semester, no say in governance, no clear processes for evaluation and promotion, and so forth.  I found particularly acute discussions about how part-timers, because they have to rely mostly on student evaluations as support for being re-hired, don’t in fact have academic freedom–which in turn threatens academic freedom for full timers and students alike.

Now this laundry list of what other Adjuncts don’t have reminds me, once again, just how strong our own Collective Bargaining Agreement is on many of these points–especially ARPT–and how innovative our “Certificate of Continuing Education” is.  Of course there’s always more to do, and I left the conference refreshed in my conviction that the future of higher education is inextricable from the role of labor in the academy.  If we’re committed to preserving our classrooms as spaces for free and open discourse–that is, for the learning that underpins civil society–then we need to, as faculty, insist that we are the core of the university, and that we therefore must have equity and freedom.

Please do be in touch if you’d like to know more or want to discuss these matters.  You can reach me at  emilybeall@gmail.com

In solidarity,
Emily Beall
Adjunct Assistant Professor, HMS

Part-Time Health Benefits Initiative

A group of union members has initiated a much-needed awareness campaign to draw attention to the following:

  • 75-80% of Pratt faculty are currently deemed ineligible for any form of health insurance benefits through the Institute
  • Of Pratt’s yearly operating budget of 170 million, less than 20% is spent on faculty (that’s including all part-time and full-time faculty benefits).
  • The Pratt administration has agreed to provide healthcare benefits for part-timers in the past 2 contracts, but has yet to honor these agreements in practice.
  • Every other college of Pratt’s prestige and caliber in NYC provides healthcare benefits to both full and part-time faculty (including The New School, Cooper Union, School of Visual Arts, CUNY, NYU, and Columbia).
  • UFCT’s current demand is that Pratt grant all part-timers (who teach a 50% workload for at least two semesters) access to healthcare benefits with a 25% contribution by the employee.
  • This is just the beginning of  a multi-pronged campaign.  Check out the website, or download the Healthcare FactSheet to find out how to support this endeavor.

Article 28.4 (b): Tuition Remission

A benefit enshrined in the Collective Bargaining Unit involves a full-time or adjunct faculty member's ability to follow any course of study at Pratt Institute and to receive full or partial reimbursement depending upon the faculty member's status (full time or adjunct). 

Article 28.4 (b) of the UFCT 1460 Collective Bargaining Agreement states the following:

28.4  Tuition Remission and Tuition Exchange Plan

(b)  Part-Time Faculty

The tuition remission program set forth in Article 28.4(a)(1), above, shall be available on a pro rata basis to the spouses and children of the adjunct faculty who have completed ten (10) or more semesters of employment (as a visitor or adjunct).  The pro-ration per semester shall be based on the faculty member’s workload in the last preceding semester as against a full-time per semester workload in the faculty member’s department.

This means that there is no limit to the reimbursement based upon some arbitrary maximum number of course credits set by Human Resources.  Course credits are nowhere mentioned in the CBA.  If the adjunct takes 8 credits, the reimbursement will be figured based on that, and if he or she takes 12, it will be figured based on that, and so on.  The adjunct receives reimbursement based upon the ratio of his or her workload the previous semester in relationship to a full-time workload in his or her department.  That ratio in turn is multiplied by the total tuition, resulting in the amount Pratt covers, and the amount for which the adjunct is responsible.      

As such, if you are an adjunct faculty member who has used the tuition remission benefit for yourself, spouse, or any dependent child in the last three years, please contact the UFCT ASAP as you most probably paid much more than was warranted for your tuition remission benefit.

The UFCT will not countenance such abuse and bad faith.

In Solidarity,

-Kye

Union Office: (718) 636-3614

Email: kyecarbone@gmail.com

 

Health Benefits for Part-Time Faculty (October 27, 2007)

From an email sent by Kye Carbone to the membership on October 27, 2007:

Dear UFCT Members:

The Office of Human Resources is making a genuine effort of notifying all Pratt employees of the ‘Open Enrollment' period which runs from: October 22nd to November 9th. The Open Enrollment period was announced on the pratt.edu web-mail system and notices were sent to individual homes. Moreover, HR has notified the UFCT directly, the following communiqué from Lisa Frankel who is the Benefits Administrator for HR: "Please encourage your membership to read and act on this benefits change-up/renewalperiod, which is running through November 9th. If someone is unable to get all the materials taken care of before that date, they can still reach out to me or Kisha Henry, Benefits Coordinator, and we will work with the deadline. Thanks for your assistance in this matter."

On the specific matter of health benefits for the part-time faculty, the UFCT has not surprisingly, been receiving a number of inquiries. As most agree, this issue is of critical importance to the faculty and to this Union. We have been in direct discussion with the Pratt Administration for over two years, and the issue is front and center in our current contract negotiations. With his permission, I am copying here, a response Tom Greene (HR Director) gave to a ‘benefits eligible' part-timer who was inquiring about the availability of health insurance for the part-time faculty:

"We are currently in negotiations with the faculty union and are hoping to resolve medical coverage for PT faculty among many other issues. At the moment however there is no change that has been agreed to. Assuming we reach agreement on it eventually, PT faculty will then be notified of the benefit and the opportunity to enroll. So you won't miss anything during Open Enrollment."

Stay tuned!

For now though, please read the attached document carefully, there is something here for everyone.

Regards,

-Kye

Here is the attachment to which Kye refers:

OPEN ENROLLMENT NEWS!

From the Office of Human Resources…

This year's Open Enrollment season will be held from

October 22 through November 9, 2007.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment is a period during which eligible subscribers may enroll in (or in some cases, transfer between) various benefit programs provided by Pratt Institute.

Who is eligible?

Benefits-eligible employees (i.e., your appointment at Pratt comes with a benefits package) can sign up and/or make changes to their benefits options while part-time faculty and staff can sign up for a supplemental retirement plan.

What choices are available?

The plans that are available are:

medical (except for members of 32B-J),

transportation reimbursement (TRIP),

flexible-spending accounts for dependent care (DCFSA), and

tax-deferred retirement savings programs with TIAA-CREF.

Employee participation in any of these programs is on a pre-tax basis.

Employees already participating in the Pratt Institute Retirement Plan also may sign up to temporarily opt out of making their contributions until they earn $8,000 in salary for 2008, $12,000 for clerical and technical members of local 153(the $8K / $12K Exemption), or to make additional non-matched contributions to their account.

Do I have to do anything?

Yes, if you:

medical

– want to enroll in a medical plan or change the medical plan you are enrolled in

-want to add dependents to, or remove dependents from, your medical coverage

retirement

-want to sign up for the $8K / $12K exemption

-are making additional contributions to your retirement savings (Supplemental or

Additional Regular Annuity) and want to continue without interruption into 2008

-want to sign up for, or resume contributions to, a Supplemental Retirement Annuity

-want to sign up for, or resume additional contributions to, your Pratt Retirement Annuity

commuter and/or dependent care benefits         

-are enrolled in the TRIP and/or DCFSA plan(s) and want to continue without interruption into 2008

-want to enroll in the TRIP and/or DCFSA plan(s)

No, if you are not making any changes to your benefits.

What happens if I don't sign up?

For some benefit offerings, you will not be able to enroll until next year's open enrollment season. There may be exceptions during the plan year (Jan 1 – Dec 31) if there is a change in status (e.g., loss of other medical coverage, divorce, birth of a child, etc.).

How do I get more information?

Information will be made available upon request. You may make your request for open enrollment materials by e-mail to hr@pratt.edu or via phone at (718) 636-3787. Of course, walk-ins are always welcomed.

Who will be available to help me?

The benefits staff of Pratt Institute will be available to assist you during this time. Staff members will be at the Pratt Manhattan location on the following dates and times:     

-October 30th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the SILS conference room (room 610)

-November 8th from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the SILS conference room (room 610) to coincide with TIAA-CREF (see below)

A representative from TIAA-CREF will be available to provide information and answer questions:

-Brooklyn: October 29th from 9a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Pi Shop (Pizza Gallery)

-Manhattan: November 8th from 9a.m. to 5 p.m. in room 702

Joint Committee on the Visiting Status September 13, 2007

On September 13, 2007, Kye Carbone sent the following email:

Dear UFCT Member:

As Pratt faculty members, most of us are aware of how intractable the visiting category/status issue has become. Getting the Pratt Administration [in the last negotiation] to agree to meet and discuss the many issues emanating from the ‘visiting category' was no small feat. As called for in the 2003-2007 CBA, a joint committee to discuss the myriad of issues related to this faculty status was in fact constituted in January 2006. The committee was co-chaired by the Institute Provost and me as President of the UFCT. Eleven committee members: five faculty, five administrators and one representative of the academic senate met ten times over the course of ten months and amazingly, agreed on much more than what – seemingly -divided us.

At this time [fall 2007], the recommendations of the JCVS (Joint Committee on the Visiting Status) committee are being exhaustively discussed as we are once again, in the midst of contract negotiations. It would appear that this is an operative time to earnestly see if we can buck the status-quo. As this issue may just yet result in amendment of the collective bargaining agreement, I assure you, that any and all changes to the CBA will be sufficiently vetted publicly. 

That said, I have attached to this email transmission, a "history/editorial" of the Visiting Category' which I wrote in fall 2005, as well as read aloud at the first JCVS meeting. Polemics aside, this editorial-history is sufficiently buttressed by empirical facts, namely, that this faculty status was never necessarily designated for the exclusive use of the impermanent artist/practitioner; the guest artist "visitor" who would teach at Pratt  in a limited capacity and only for a short period of time.

Rectifying this issue is of tremendous benefit to all faculty, full-time and part-time alike.

In Solidarity,

Kye

Here is the attachment to which he referred:

THE VISITING CATEGORY

Before there was a faculty union at Pratt Institute and a collective bargaining agreement, Pratt faculty members were either full-time or part-time. The categories/statuses: ‘adjunct' and ‘visiting' were non-existent for the part-time faculty.

Just prior to enacting the first contract in 1972, the UFCT asked each part-time faculty member if they wished to be full-time. Those wishing to be full-time were given adjunct titles. Moreover, if this newly minted adjunct had served the Institute for ten semesters or more, they were "deemed professionally competent" and given a Certificate of Continuous Employment (CCE).

 

For all intents and purposes, the Adjunct w/CCE was a "full-timer in waiting", the Institute "obligated to offer such full-time positions within their field of competence if such openings exist." This aspect of the CCE status no longer exists; lost in negotiations for the 1997-2000 contract.

However, for the contingent of part-time faculty who did not wish to be full-time, or for those who were not necessarily interested in a professorial-track, the professional or "distinguished practitioners or specialists" faculty status, i.e. the visiting category, was thus created.

Therefore, the visiting category was not necessarily at its inception; nor is it (certainly) at present, a faculty category for the temporarily employed; the so-called "art star", guest artist or resident. It would appear to have always been a faculty classification for the practitioner with the ability to teach to their area of expertise/competence; the: engineers, architects, art directors, graphic-designers, etc. who had established professional careers and regarded their teaching as supplemental. As such, their commitment to Pratt was limited. Therefore, academic advancement, employment level, job protection, benefits eligibility and/or tenure were never assigned to, nor ever associated with visiting titles.

Confusion often ensues when describing distinctions between these two part-time faculty statuses. Adjunct is synonymous with part-timer "everywhere else". Likewise, to be a ‘visitor' or ‘visiting lecturer' at most other colleges is to be a ‘guest' or ‘resident' artist/lecturer – temporarily employed to fulfill the dictates of a specialized educational project or objective. Conversely, such distinguished practitioners (or visitors) are well compensated for these specialized – but limited endeavors. Pratt Institute appears to have no real history of utilizing its visiting category in this manner.

True, there are many distinguished visitors who have taught and who continue to teach at Pratt Institute – demonstrating their distinction every day. This is undoubtedly one of the hallmarks of a Pratt education: real practitioners who teach! Most of us who were visitors initially were invited to teach; the invitation predicated on our published and/or exhibited works of distinction. Yet, when initially hired, we were never informed of the differences between the visiting and adjunct statuses. The average visitor remains unaware of these distinctions until and when they wish an additional class, or wish to purchase medical benefits. At what point does one's service exceed a ‘visit'? At what point has one overstayed their welcome?

Seventy-five percent of Pratt's courses are taught by part-timers (split almost evenly between adjunct and visiting). A distinct majority (58%) of the total faculty body (full-time and part-time combined) is visiting. Is this good educationally?

In many respects, it is the effectiveness of the average visitor that has brought us to this critical juncture. If not for their wish to be acknowledged, awarded and advanced for a job well done, would the average visitor risk butting-heads with an administrative practice appearing to reckon that as long as the majority of Pratt's faculty is not heavily invested in the institute (and vice-verse) the status quo will continue?

The status quo seems to welcome and retain visitors so long as they do not covet adjunct status. Since 1972, clear distinctions between visiting and adjunct have become effectively blurred. The bargaining history of this period is abundantly clear, the Pratt Administration was determined to retard, dissuade, and eventually render obsolete, the conferral of CCE. By determinedly exploiting the dividing-line between visiting and adjunct, the Pratt Institute Administration essentially accomplished one of its primary goals, a weak faculty/labor force.

When one faculty status is exploited, all are vulnerable. When we allow fissures in our faculty ranks to be exploited, we imperil the entire faculty: full-time and part-time alike.

Rectifying the visiting category issue demands our full attention.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kye Carbone

Adjunct Professor w/CCE

President UFCT Local 1460

Fall Semester 2005 Faculty Stats:

120 Full-Time

250 Adjunct (56 w/CCE)

510 Visiting

(300 teaching no more than three-contact hours)

 

————————————————————————————————————

Contract language for the visiting category is virtually unchanged since initially written in 1972:

Visiting Faculty:

  • Distinguished practitioners/specialists
  • Shall teach no more than one half of the full-time workload
  • Compensation shall parallel the equivalent adjunct ranks
  • Shall not be eligible for a CCE

————————————————————————————————————

Draft

PROPOSAL

(Define or re-define the visiting category. What it is at present? What has it become?)

  • Distinguished practitioner or specialist, and/or
  • Adjunct applicant
  • Probationary and evaluation period up to (?) years

————————————————————————————————————

Union Proposal, 1993:

"If the Institute reappoints a visiting faculty member for a second-year, the faculty member may elect, following notification of reappointment, to convert to adjunct status."

The following was included in the status report of September 22, 2007:

JCVS: Joint Committee on the Visiting Status

As faculty, most of you are aware of how intractable the visiting category issue has become. Getting the Pratt Administration to agree to meet and discuss the issues emanating from the ‘visiting category' was no small feat. As called for in the 2003-2007 CBA, a joint committee to discuss the myriad of issues related to this faculty status was constituted in January 2006. The committee was co-chaired by the Institute Provost and me as President of the UFCT. Eleven committee members: five faculty, five administrators and one representative of the academic senate met ten times over the course of ten months and amazingly, agreed on much more than what – seemingly – divided us. At the time of this writing (September 2007), the recommendations of the JCVS committee may just yet result in amendment of the collective bargaining agreement. The UFCT and Pratt Administration are meeting regularly and discussing in detail what a ‘Re-Structured Part-Time Faculty' should look like. I assure you that when the time is right, any and all – proposed – changes will be sufficiently vetted publicly. Stay tuned!