The heart of our union’s proposal calls for the establishment of longer term appointments, replacing the current system of semester-to-semester contracts for adjunct faculty and year-to-year appointments for visiting faculty. Based on the bargaining surveys returned to us at the start of negotiations, an overwhelming majority said this was a major issue they want addressed in our first contract. The current system provides virtually no job security for adjunct and visiting faculty. We make up over 40% of the instructional faculty at Siena College – and yet even those of us who have been here for over a decade sometimes do not know if they are returning the subsequent semester until the last minute. This system is a disservice to all of us who have committed to the college and it is disservice to our students who pay good money and therefore deserve a more stable learning environment.
While the college administration embraced small portions of our proposals, on the whole they rejected our proposals. They outright rejected longer term appointments for adjunct and visiting faculty. They rejected proposals that would have formalized the process of appointment from notice of potential appointment to acceptance of an appointment. They rejected a proposal designed to reduce the number of last minute course cancellations that negatively impact members’ wallets. They even rejected a system of seniority that would acknowledge our years of service and commitment to the college.
In essence, their counterproposal amounts to a maintenance of the status quo. We reminded them and will continue to press that our proposals are the new norm in the Capital District and across the country. At UAlbany and now at Saint Rose, longer term appointments are available to adjunct faculty. Elsewhere across the country, adjuncts have won longer term appointments. Similarly, we will not accept a contract that does not significantly address job insecurity at Siena.
Our next bargaining session is not yet scheduled but we will be in touch when it is. Now is the time to get involved in your union. We need to continue to show our unity as we negotiate the most significant portions of our first contract. To get involved or if you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sean Collins, Organizer at 518.265.9895.
The Siena Contingent Faculty Union Negotiating
David Liebschutz, Economics
Ryan Patrick McLaughlin, Religious Studies
Amy Santos, Quantitative Business & Math