To Georgetown Adjunct Faculty:

I am a member of the adjunct faculty union bargaining team. I was also a member of the team that produced the first contract in 2014.

I recommend that you vote “Yes” on the new union contract with Georgetown.

This proposal raises the pay per course for many adjuncts. It expands other protections and benefits. It aligns with the Jesuit ethos that informs the culture of Georgetown.

We have raised the floor for our lowest-paid colleagues.  We have also produced benefits for most others.

The bargaining team is split. We, as a bargaining team, do not internally agree on this decision — to accept or not — the administration’s final offer.  I believe this is as fair a contract as is realistically possible at this time.

Many adjuncts earn $6,000 to $7,000 for a three-credit course. This contract increases the compensation of those at $6,000 by nearly 17 percent over three years.

Some of those adjuncts who teach a standard course at $7,000 have also served for five or more years. For them, the increase is near 11 percent.

The contract also includes an opportunity for the union and Georgetown to collaborate in deeper research that will clarify adjunct compensation.  We will explore the creation of a regular part-time position, other models of compensation and access to other benefits, like health insurance.

This contract does not solve larger national trends and issues in higher education that impact us here at Georgetown. Those include the increased reliance on adjuncts and contingent faculty, including at comprehensive research universities.

No single contract could solve that issue, locally. But, this contract does keep Georgetown as a market leader. Georgetown has the highest course minimum compensation in the Washington, D.C. region.

So, do not reject the university’s final offer.

That would leave all adjuncts without the protections of a union contract for some months, while the process drags on. And, at the end, it is not likely that there will be significant financial gains over the proposal on the table.

That would be an unwise approach — rejecting this contract at this point in the collective bargaining process.  I do not support that approach. I disagree with others on the team for these reasons.

And, it would also risk damaging a positive, constructive, collaborative relationship. That relationship will produce continuing benefits every time a new contract is negotiated.

That cooperative relationship has been carefully built, in good faith, with an enlightened employer. So, I accept these deserved pay raises for many of our colleagues. Some teach for non-financial reasons. But for many, the additional money, is important.

This contract is a solid step. It is part of a process of continuous improvement. It further acknowledges that adjunct faculty are important contributors in educating Georgetown students.

It is an important step toward improving working conditions. It deserves our support.

I encourage our colleagues to ratify this contract.

Hoya Saxa.

Richard America
Member of Georgetown University Adjunct Faculty Bargaining Team

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*