LOUDONVILLE, NY —After two years of negotiations with the Siena College administration, the Siena College Contingent Faculty Union/Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 200United, voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first contracts after two days of voting. The two separate, three-year agreements cover roughly 120 adjunct faculty and approximately 30 visiting faculty at the college. The adjunct contract was ratified overwhelmingly, with 88% voting in favor; 89% voted in favor of the visiting contract. Both now go to Siena’s Board of Trustees for approval.
Under the adjunct contract, wages will rise 37%, from $2,500 per three credit course to $3,425. Adjuncts who have taught two courses for three consecutive academic years will be eligible for a three year appointment as a “Core Adjunct.” Core Adjuncts will receive more advanced notice of non-reappointment and non-reappointment must meet the just cause standard. Previously, adjunct faculty at Siena were appointed on a semester-to-semester basis and had no job security or any guarantee of reappointment the following semester.
Amy Santos, an adjunct lecturer of Quantitative Business and Mathematics and member of the union negotiating committee, said, “I think it’s great that we were able to negotiate for higher pay and job security. I finally feel like I am acknowledged for the commitment I make to the Siena community. “
Under the visiting contract, visiting faculty, who are appointed on a academic year-to-year basis, will be eligible for new “teaching faculty” positions after two consecutive academic years of teaching and will receive three year appointments. For the first time, full-time contingent faculty will have a promotional opportunity and will be eligible for “senior teaching faculty” status upon their sixth year at Siena, which comes with a significant pay increase. Previously, full-time contingent faculty weren’t eligible for full-time appointments after five years at Siena and were either forced to teach as adjuncts or to leave the college altogether. Both contracts establish a new, joint professional development fund of $60,000, split evenly over the three years of the contract. The college will also pay the first $125 towards a Core Adjunct or visiting faculty member’s membership dues in a professional or educational organization. Each contract also establishes a fair, transparent evaluation process.
Elaina Frulla, Visiting Assistant Professor of English and member of the union negotiating committee, said, “As a graduate of Siena College, I am proud to see the college continue in its commitment to social justice. The contract ratification confirms that Siena values its contingent faculty. I have always believed and continue to believe that the Siena College academic community is second to none.”
The successful contract ratification comes after more than two years of bargaining and over 20 bargaining sessions with Siena’s administration. In June 2015, contingent faculty voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Local 200United, following in the foot steps of adjuncts at the College of Saint Rose and Schenectady County Community College. Over 600 adjuncts between the three schools are now SEIU members in the Capital District.