Negotiations for a new collective bargaining contract between Georgetown and more than 1,000 adjunct professors concluded Oct. 31 with a final proposal to be voted on by union members, following five months of discussions.

The university presented a final offer Tuesday to the six-person bargaining team, which includes two union staff members, representing the more than 1,000 adjunct professors who teach here. The proposal includes an increase in the minimum compensation adjuncts receive per course taught from $4,700 to $7,000 and the creation of an exploratory committee for a regular part-time position, according to an email sent by the Provost’s Office to main campus faculty Nov. 1.

“I am pleased to report that the union has agreed to present our contract offer to its membership for a ratification vote,” Provost Robert Groves wrote. “We have created a package that increases compensation, rewards longevity, and improves appointment predictability for adjuncts.”

WILL CROMARTY FOR THE HOYA
Adjunct professors were presented a proposal for a new bargaining contract that includes wage increases and the creation of a labor management committee by Georgetown University Tuesday.

But some adjuncts said they were not satisfied with the proposal because the university’s proposed increase would not affect most adjuncts, who already earn above the minimum rate.

The proposal also states that adjuncts who have been teaching at Georgetown for five years shall receive a flat $250 increase per course in their wages. The university did not agree to provide health care benefits, though it did stipulate the creation of a joint labor management committee to survey adjuncts’ access to health care through other means and the creation of a regular part-time position.

According to adjunct professor of theology Kerry Danner-McDonald (COL ’93), the staff of the union that represents them — Service Employees International Union Local 500 — told adjuncts they were required to vote on the proposal.

Both the union and the university declined to comment on whether all final university proposals must be brought to a vote.

SEIU Local 500 reported the results of negotiations to adjuncts in an Oct. 31 email saying it believed the agreement was “a fair contract.”

“Although we recognize that there are further gains to be made in the future, we believe that this is the best possible settlement we can reach at this time with Georgetown,” the union wrote.

The proposal includes a nearly 50 percent increase in the minimum rate per course in three staggered yearly raises beginning this fall and continuing through fall 2019.

SEIU Local 500 is set to determine a date for a unionwide meeting to discuss the proposal, although it has begun to send voting ballots via mail. If ratified, the contract would enter into effect this fall and last until June 2020.

Given that the university pays most adjunct professors above the minimum rate, adjunct professor Martin Conway said the proposal offered no significant improvements and was unlikely to be ratified. The proposal would receive a “firm ‘no’ recommendation from the adjunct on the team,” Conway said.

The Hoya previously reported the average adjunct earns $7,750 per three-credit course, the highest average rate among local universities, yet trails the earnings of adjuncts at peer universities. At Duke University, for example, the mean rate is $8,207 per course.

Conway said the bargaining team’s efforts will now focus on advocacy and raising awareness for adjunct professors’ situation, including reaching out to student groups such as workers’ rights advocacy group Georgetown Solidarity Committee.

Correction: An earlier version of this article characterized the proposal as a “tentative agreement.” There is no such agreement. Additionally, the email from the Provost’s Office was sent Nov. 1, not Oct. 31.

This post has been updated.

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4 Comments

  1. Andrew Hendry C'69 says:

    As an alumnus who in the past has given significant donations to the University I was shocked to read about the adjunct situation. How can a university represent in its fundraising that it is delivering a quality education when the reality is that the courses are designed and delivered by a group of part time, underpaid contract teachers.

    • I am one of the part-time, underpaid, “teachers” referring too. Like to shock you again on a few facts about the Sports Management Graduate program:
      1) These part-time “teachers” are full-time executives and subject matter experts in their field for the subjects taught,
      2) all the Adjunct Professors I work with do not teach for the money but to give back, and
      3) the challenge is the University lacking any respect and value on the majority of the universities lecturers (that would be the apx. 1,000 adjuncts!).

  2. Adjuncts should quit; just walk away and force universities to either hire them as staff or put the load on existing staff. This is more corporatized multiversity BS! Its disingenuous to offer such absurdly paltry contracts to competent, qualified people where the only difference between them and their ’employed’ colleagues is political. Let DeGioia and the rest of the GU staff take 50-75% pay cuts and use that to pay adjunct staff. They’d still be making many times what faculty makes. Its obscene and hypocritical for GU to preach human values and have programs about justice and outreach when they pay such starvation wages. ‘Fess up GU…either practice what you preach, or just shut up, bend over, and keep selling yourself while taking the university to the bottom! BTW….where are the Jesuits in all this? They still live here don’t they? They founded the university didn’t they? Have they just turned belly up, got comfortable in their new home, and forgot what they are?

  3. Pingback: LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An Open Letter to Georgetown's Adjunct Faculty

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