A contract between Champlain College and its unionized part-time professors was ratified and released Monday.
Champlain adjuncts have been unionized with the Service Employees International Union since last year. The union and the college have been hashing out a contract for months, and after a 10-hour negotiation session that went late into the night Aug. 24 they struck an agreement.
Adjuncts will see a pay raise across the board. Before the contract, adjuncts were being paid $3,499 per class if they had taught less than 10 semesters for Champlain, and $3,668 per class if they have taught more than 10.
Now, there are three tiers of adjunct professors on the new pay scale, organized by how many credit hours the professor has taught, not semesters. An average class at Champlain is three credit hours. This year, professors will be paid on the following scale:
- Professors who have taught less than 60 credit hours — about 20 classes — will be paid $3,825 per class.
- Professors who have taught from 61 to 120 credit hours — from 20 to 40 average classes — will be paid $4,100 per class.
- Professors who have taught more than 120 credit hours — more than 40 average classes — will be paid $4,200 per class.
Pay increases are locked into the contract until 2018, when a new contract will be negotiated. If a class is canceled through no fault of the professor, like low enrollment, they will get $1,000 under the new contract.
“This tiered pay scale approach ensures that those adjunct faculty who successfully teach more of our students will receive increased levels of pay,” said Laurie Quinn provost of Champlain College in a news release. Quinn called the contract a “win-win” result.
The contract also devotes a section to the creation of a money pool specifically set up to benefit part-time professors. The Professional Development Fund, as it’s called in the contract, will start with $10,000 from the college, less than the $20,000 figure a union spokesperson told news media the day after the agreement had been struck. For the next two fiscal years, the college will contribute more money — $15,000 next year and $20,000 in 2018.
Professors can apply for up to $750 from the pool every year to spend on attending conferences, training or anything else that can help teachers do their jobs better. The money also has to be spent — it doesn’t roll over from one year to the next.
The contract also attempts to stop any possibility of a strike by union members, or a lockout by the college. If any union member decides to strike or do anything to purposefully impede the college, like withholding grades, Champlain College can fire the teacher and the union is required to distance itself from the action. In return, Champlain College will keep its doors open to the union members as long as the agreement stands.
“The contract we have created represents a solid first step toward the fair treatment of part-time faculty members at Champlain College,” said April Howard, an adjunct Latin American studies professor and member of the Champlain bargaining team, after negotiations ended Aug. 26.
Adjuncts at St. Michael’s College unionized in 2014 and adjuncts at Burlington College unionized at the same time; that school closed its doors earlier this year.