Letter to the NYU Faculty Updating the Status of the Negotiations Between the UAW and the University


February 26, 2003

Dear Faculty Member:

We are writing to update you on the status of negotiations between the UAW and the University since our last communication on December 19, 2002. In light of recent inquiries we have received from faculty regarding the nature of data and information being provided to the UAW, we also wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with that information. Our updates are intended to keep you informed about the status of negotiations; they have also been a source of valuable feedback, for which we thank you.

UAW Data and Information Requests:
In response to the UAW’s requests for information, we have provided the following information to them:

For every adjunct in the bargaining unit for the 2001-02 academic year (approximately 3,000 individuals for all three semesters), and for Fall 2002 only (approximately 1,600 individuals):

* names, home addresses and telephone numbers;
* every course taught, every credit hour, every contact hour;
* compensation of all types (instruction, advising, club activities, administrative duties);
* school, title, gender, ethnicity;
* letters of appointment.

For Spring 2003, now that the Add/Drop deadline has passed, we are working with each school to compile the above information to provide to the UAW and to identify additional individuals who have qualified for the bargaining unit.

In addition, we have provided the UAW with NYU policies regarding university benefits, as well as the University Faculty Handbook, school and departmental handbooks, life and health insurance premium and cost data, space cost information, as well as other information.

Since our last communication in December, there have been four bargaining sessions. At this time, we have provided the UAW with all the requested data described above on which to base an economic proposal (e.g., salaries, etc.). To date, there has been no such proposal for us to evaluate or, to which to respond.

With respect to the non-economic proposals that the UAW has put forward, we continue to have key differences in the following areas:

Management and Academic Rights:
This clause provides for the University’s right to establish, direct, plan and control its missions, programs, objectives, resources, priorities. This clause originated from an agreement at the University of California with the UAW and was incorporated in the GA contract with NYU last year. The UAW proposed an amended version of this clause, seeking to remove the following language: “decisions regarding who is taught, what is taught, how it is taught, and who does the teaching shall be made by the University.” NYU has proposed maintaining the original language, previously agreed to by the UAW.

The UAW has submitted a proposal, though modified from an earlier one, that mandates participation by union appointed part-time faculty in all-school wide and departmental meetings and participation in governance committees, including curriculum, faculty councils, the University senate, student affairs, academic standards, etc. NYU has rejected this proposal.

Job Security/Seniority:
The UAW has proposed a point system for part-time faculty members’ service, based upon length of service and courses taught. The proposed system provides that after 2 probationary semesters, a part-time faculty member is guaranteed the right to teach the same course the next time it is offered, as against all others, including full-time faculty and new part-time faculty. They describe this provision as ensuring part-time faculty members’ “ownership” of their courses.

For part-time faculty members who develop a course offered by NYU, there is no proposed probationary period — a part-time faculty member would own his or her course and have the right to teach it exclusively.

With respect to new or “open” courses or sections, the UAW has proposed that part-time faculty, on the basis of seniority, fill such openings. The UAW’s proposal defines open courses as ones in which: a former part-time faculty member declines to teach a course; a new course or section is offered (unless the course is designed by a full-time faculty member); a full-time faculty member declines to teach his/her course or goes on sabbatical, or a section that has been added to an existing course. The right to teach such open courses as presented by the UAW would be on a priority basis before considering all other faculty.

NYU has proposed that part-time faculty who are no longer on probation receive good faith consideration for reappointment for courses they have previously taught.

Presumptive Reappointment/Discipline or Discharge:
The UAW has proposed that a part-time faculty member be discharged or disciplined only for just cause. The UAW defines discipline or discharge as not reappointing a part-time faculty member to teach a course they have previously taught. A part-time faculty member therefore would be presumptively reappointed unless he/she is proven unqualified, which the University would have the obligation to establish.

NYU has also proposed that part-time faculty only be disciplined or discharged for just cause. We define discipline or discharge as termination of an on-going appointment or suspension from an on-going appointment without compensation; we do not define a school or departmental decision not to reappoint a part-time faculty member as discipline or discharge.

The UAW has proposed that part-time faculty members may only be observed in the classroom in four circumstances: during probation; because of unsatisfactory student evaluations; when seeking a promotion; or upon the request of a part-time faculty member.

NYU has proposed that schools may observe part-time faculty consistent with their established policies or practices, provided that a part-time faculty member receives reasonable notice and the opportunity for a post-observation conference.

The UAW initially sought fully equipped offices for each part-time faculty member, fully equipped lounges, and a fully equipped space for a union office — all requests with economic consequences.

The UAW has since modified its request, to seek reasonable access for every part-time faculty member to a desk, file space, computer, voicemail, email; part-time faculty faculty lounges in the following buildings: Woolworth, Puck, Silver, Tisch, School of Education, School of Social Work, Kimmel, Shimkin, 721 Broadway, 5 Washington Place, Barney, in addition to all other spaces presently designated for part-time faculty; a fully equipped office for the UAW in the Washington Square campus area with NYU provided cleaning services; NYU hosting service for a UAW website; and access to NYU discounts for UAW purchases.

The University has proposed access to equipped office space and email for all adjuncts teaching credit courses in degree programs as well as a creating a standing committee to address specific space and facility needs as they arise in any given year.

The UAW has proposed that part-time faculty be entitled to a paid sabbatical leave of up to one year every seven years; applications for sabbatical leaves would be made during the sixth year. They have proposed that part-time faculty be compensated during sabbatical leaves at the rate of 3/4ths of their compensation for the prior three years. NYU has rejected this proposal.

Academic Freedom:
The UAW has proposed its own statement on academic freedom. While its statement provides for certain academic freedoms, it excludes such long upheld corresponding obligations as requiring faculty to indicate when they offer their own views that they are not institutional spokespeople when doing so unless specifically commissioned to serve in such a capacity.

NYU has proposed that the academic freedom provision of the University Faculty Handbook also apply to the part-time faculty, as we currently believe it does. (The Handbook substantially restates the traditional 1940 AAUP statement on academic freedom).

While we remain apart on certain issues, we remain committed to reaching an agreement in good faith. Our part-time faculty members are, and always will be, valuable members of the University community. As the negotiations progress, we have every hope that we will reach an agreement that benefits the entire university community and reflects the many contributions that part-time faculty make.

We will continue to provide periodic updates as negotiations proceed and again, please feel free to contact us at negotiation.team@nyu.edu.

As a reminder, faculty members who are on the Faculty Bargaining Committee are:

Marisa Carrasco   FAS
Alma Carten   Social Work
Ned Elton   Stern
Larry Ferrara   Steinhardt
Phil Furmanski   FAS
Marjorie Kalter   SCPS
Carl Lebowitz   SCPS*
Robert Nickson   Tisch
Kathy O’Regan   Wagner
James Ramsey   FAS
Kathleen Ross   FAS
Jalal Shatah   Courant
Sue Turk   SCPS
* Denotes new member

We hope this update is helpful.

Cheryl Mills
Terry Nolan
Mary Sansalone

Press Contact

John Beckman
John Beckman
(212) 998-6848