PHILADELPHIA—Adjuncts and full-time faculty at Philadelphia’s Temple University have won a landmark new contract—a first for the adjuncts—that delivers a 15 percent wage increase and job protections, and sets contingent faculty on a path to gain the respect they deserve.
The tentative agreement has been approved by the executive committee of the Temple Association of University Professionals, an AFT affiliate, and it will now go to the membership for ratification.
The agreement, which comes after 15 months of bargaining, secures significant improvements in wages and conditions for all members and is a crucial step for adjuncts to gain the professional respect and security they deserve. It was the first time TAUP bargained as one union representing all faculty, full-time librarians and academic professionals in the same unit.
In November 2015, 1,400 Temple adjuncts voted to join 1,400 full-time faculty as members of TAUP and the AFT.
TAUP President Steve Newman said: “This contract lays the foundation for more equitable conditions of employment for adjuncts and empowers the union to build on that foundation. That’s great news not only for our members but also for the students we teach and for Temple University as a whole.
“This agreement is the result of 15 months of disciplined negotiating by a team that included adjunct, full-time nontenure-track and tenure-track faculty, led by our past president and chief negotiator, Art Hochner, and buoyed by the support of other members, students, AFT locals and members of the Philadelphia community.”
In addition to the 15 percent raise to the minimum rate, the contract includes procedures for grievances and discipline; notification of searches for full-time positions; automatic dues deduction; and committees to address job security, promotion, office space and affirmative action.
Paul Dannenfelser, an adjunct at Temple and a member of the negotiating team, said: “For the first time, we’ll see a raise in two consecutive years. The union also rejected a management proposal that would have divided the union by separating adjuncts from the rest of the bargaining unit. Instead, in two years, the union will go back to the bargaining table united, negotiating one contract for adjuncts, tenure-track and nontenure-track faculty, academic professionals, and librarians.”
Norma Corrales-Martin, a full-time faculty member at Temple, TAUP’s treasurer and a member of the negotiating team, added: “After 15 years of struggle and 15 months at the negotiating table, the adjuncts at TU will enjoy the benefits of a union contract if the contract is ratified. I hope this will strengthen the relationships among all faculty and will constitute a step toward greater equality and a higher quality of life for our adjuncts, who so deserve it. I can also bet on the positive impact this agreement will have on the overall quality of teaching and learning at TU.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “Collective bargaining is always about improving people’s lives—in this case, the lives of the faculty we represent and the students we serve. This agreement is a testament to what can be achieved when contingent and full-time faculty join together with support from the community. None of this could have happened without the courageous efforts of Temple adjuncts to organize and win a union in the face of fierce resistance from the administration. I am proud of the AFT’s citywide effort to improve the working conditions of faculty across Philadelphia—a collective effort in the best sense of the term, and a model for other campuses rising up across the country.”