Do departments have to change the way we hire and manage adjunct faculty now that we have a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with SEIU Local 500, the adjunct faculty union?
Perhaps. The CBA sets out the basic rules of engagement for part-time (adjunct) faculty on the Main Campus who are hired on a per-course basis to provide needed instruction in the units of the Main Campus in Washington, DC. Departments must comply with the terms of the CBA in all respects. Faculty members who are within the definition of the bargaining unit are subject to the terms of the CBA.
Adjunct faculty covered by the CBA include all part-time faculty employed to teach at least one credit-earning class, lesson or lab for the Main Campus in Washington, DC (Article 1.A).
The following adjunct faculty members are excluded: all employees of the Georgetown University Law Center or the Georgetown University Medical Center (including the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies); all faculty teaching in locations outside of Washington, D.C.; all faculty teaching only on-line courses (regardless of location); all full-time faculty; all graduate students; all lab assistants, graduate assistants, teaching associates, clinical fellows, teaching fellows, teaching assistants, research assistants; all full-time or part-time staff or administrators, whether or not they also have teaching responsibilities; all deans, registrars, and librarians; all volunteers; and managerial employees, office clerical employees, guards, and supervisors as defined in the Act (Article 1.B).
If an adjunct faculty member thinks s/he has complied already with the requirement, s/he can contact SEUI Local 500 and/or check her or his payroll record in GMS. Checking the GMS record is explained in the FAQ “How can I determine whether I am compliant…?”
Adjunct faculty member may discuss his or her options for complying with this requirement of the CBA with a representative of SEIU by calling (301) 740-7100.
There also is voluntary online application form available at https://act.seiu.org/onlineactions/4QqCpb4ki0WabbVxYlBELw2 (new window) . The completion of this form authorizes Georgetown University to deduct from the salary of a non-exempt adjunct faculty member and to send to SEIU a monthly payment for: (1) union dues and fees if the person decides to join the union; (2) agency fees if s/he does not join the union; or (3) to send an amount equal to the agency fee to a charitable organization if a conflict of interest can be documented (refer to exemption 8 in Article 3.B of the CBA).
This online form provides the option to claim an exemption based on the other categories defined in Article 3.B of the CBA. Click on “Select the union status you authorize” and view the drop-down menu for options. However, an adjunct faculty member claiming any exemption must contact SEIU directly to make this claim. The exemption which causes the most confusion is the “conflict of interest” exemption (Article 3.B.8).
A determination of whether a claimed exemption exists can only be made when the faculty member provides supporting documentation to SEIU. A SEIU staff member reviews the documentation and either approves or does not approve. This determination cannot be made by any administrator at Georgetown, regardless of how long the adjunct faculty member has taught on campus.
Adjunct faculty members who are included the bargaining unit (see FAQ 2) have two options. (1) They can join the union and become members in good standing of SEIU Local 500. This choice requires the payment of union dues to support union activities. (2) Adjunct faculty members who choose not to become members of the union must pay an “agency fee” to the union for its services on their behalf. On average, the agency fee is about 85% of the amount paid to join the union. The reason for this difference is explained in the Georgetown Beck Notice available at http://www.seiu500.org/2015/04/georgetown-university-beck-notice/.
However, there are a few exceptions to the requirement to pay an agency fee. Adjuncts who fall into one the categories of exceptions listed in Article 3.B, numbers 1-7, are excluded from this requirement. Some of these exceptions include adjunct faculty who may be members of federal, state, or DC judiciaries; ambassadors; employees of the IMF or World Bank; retired faculty with emeritus status; and faculty teaching compressed courses lasting only one to two months.
Article 3.B.8 identifies another category for an exception to paying an agency fee. An adjunct who affirms through a written statement that payment of an agency fee to the Union will have a material adverse impact on his or her professional work, or on employment outside of the University, because of an actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest, also may be excluded. An adjunct asserting this claim must provide appropriate documentation for review by SEIU. If SEIU accepts the claim, the adjunct faculty member must make contributions in an amount equal to the agency fee to a charitable organization(s) agreed to by the University and the Union. (For more information, see “Donations in Lieu of SEIU Agency Fee.”) If SEIU does not accept the claim of a conflict of interest, the adjunct must pay the agency fee.
SEIU Local 500 has announced the rates below for calendar year 2020.
The Membership dues rates as of January 1, 2020, are as follows:
- Membership dues rate for those making more than $5,500: $40.00
- Membership dues rate for those making less than $5,500: $35.00
The Agency Fee rates as of January 1, 2019, are as follows:
- Agency Fee rate for those making more than $5,500: $35.60
- Agency Fee rate for those making less than $5,500: $31.15
The Initiation Fee rates as of January 1, 2020, are as follows:
- Initiation fee for Membership: $20.00
- Initiation fee for Agency Fee: $17.80
How often do I have to complete the SEIU Local 500 application form to pay union dues or an agency fee?
If you choose membership in the union or the agency fee, you only have to complete the application form one time. SEIU will maintain your chosen status from semester to semester even if you do not teach for one or several semesters. Your information will remain in the Georgetown payroll database if you selected payroll deduction to pay union dues or the agency fee.
You need to complete the application form again only in one of three circumstances.
- If you decide to change your status: For example, you decide to join the union instead of paying an agency fee, or vice versa.
- If you request an exemption: This request must be submitted each semester you are employed at Georgetown because it is necessary to verify that the status on which the exemption is based has not changed.
- If you are hired as an adjunct faculty member at another university: You will have to complete the form again if you begin working at another university covered by the SEIU 500 CBA. However, you will only pay one membership dues or agency fee.
For more information, read FAQ #3.
Minimum rates for adjunct faculty who teach a “standard course” are as follows:
|credits per standard course||minimum rate effective fall 2018||minimum rate effective fall 2019|
|1 or 2 credits||$3,500||$3,900|
For all other non-standard courses and services, departments may negotiate compensation with the adjunct faculty member on an individual basis and must document the agreement in writing.
A standard course is a 15-week course in the fall or spring semester, or a 12-week course in the summer, for which the adjunct faculty member is the instructor of record. A standard course does not include independent study, advising, directed reading, or other individualized instruction.
Yes. Departments may continue to negotiate compensation with faculty following the standard practice and procedures of the schools and departments, keeping in mind the budget authority, while considering factors like competing offers and market rates across the region. Departments may not give across the board increases to adjunct faculty who are covered by the CBA because across the board increases are a subject for collective bargaining. But departments may continue existing pay policies and practices, including the negotiation of compensation rates with individual faculty members as circumstances warrant.
Some adjunct faculty members will receive raises because of the CBA. Under the terms of the CBA, generally there are increases for the lowest paid and the longest serving adjunct faculty. Specifically, effective Fall 2017:
–If an adjunct faculty member is compensated at a rate of less than $8,000 for a standard 3 or 4 credit course and has taught at the University for 5 or more years, the adjunct faculty member shall receive the minimum rate or an increase of $250 to their rate of pay for that course, whichever is greater.
–If an adjunct faculty member is compensated at a rate of less than $8,000 for a standard 3 or 4 credit course, and has taught at the University for at least one but less than 5 years, the adjunct faculty member shall receive the minimum rate or an increase of $100 to their rate of pay for that course, whichever is greater.
Please refer to Article 18 of the CBA for more details on compensation.
Beyond the increases and bonuses provided by the CBA, departments may negotiate individual compensation rates with adjunct faculty following the standard practice and procedures of the schools and departments, keeping in mind the budget authority, while considering factors like competing offers and market rates across the region.
Each department should provide its adjunct faculty with materials and other resources, to the extent available, to facilitate the best educational experience possible for Georgetown’s students. The CBA does not prescribe the specific materials and resources that must be provided because these may vary from department to department. Each department should, at a minimum, continue its existing policies and practices.
Adjunct faculty members’ participation in these types of meetings and activities will vary depending on the purpose of the meeting or activity (Article 17.A). Schools, departments, and programs are encouraged to invite adjunct faculty members to participate in meetings and activities when appropriate, but Schools, departments, and programs independently exercise discretion as to who will be invited to meetings and activities.
As members of the Georgetown academic community, adjunct faculty members may, but are not required to, participate in the academic community in various ways, such as:
- Participating in University-wide events and activities;
- Participating in School, department, or program-level meetings, when invited;
- Advising or mentoring students;
- Reading dissertations or theses and participating on dissertation or master’s thesis committees, when invited; and
- Participating in public lectures, public talks of job candidates, and other community academic activities.
- Participating in opportunities, when invited, to provide feedback on curricular issues relevant to courses they teach or have taught.
Student evaluations will be conducted in accordance with University policy (Article 5). Adjunct faculty members shall cooperate with the appropriate academic administrators to facilitate the student evaluation process. Student evaluations will be made available to the adjunct faculty member following the end of the semester, once all grades are submitted for the course. In addition to student evaluations, the adjunct faculty member may request feedback from the University and/or a classroom observation in accordance with other provisions in the CBA, which the University shall consider in evaluating the adjunct faculty member’s performance.
Yes. Courses can be canceled for a variety of reasons articulated in the CBA (Article 4; Article 19). Some of these include low enrollment or curricular changes. If an adjunct is appointed to teach a standard course and then the department cancels it more than 21 calendar days before the first day of class, no payment is made to the adjunct faculty member. If the department cancels it within 21 days of the start of classes, but before the course begins, then the faculty member will receive a $300 payment. If the department cancels the course after it begins, then the faculty member will receive a pro-rated payment.
If an adjunct faculty member cannot complete a course during the semester, that faculty member should be paid a pro-rated amount for the period of work completed. If the department hires another adjunct faculty member to teach the rest of the course, that faculty member should also be paid a pro-rated amount.
Who owns the syllabi, lecture notes, and presentation materials developed as part of a course taught by an adjunct?
Adjunct faculty members have the same rights, responsibilities, and protections regarding intellectual property as do all faculty as described in the Faculty Handbook (Article IV.B).
Under the CBA, long-serving adjuncts may achieve “good faith consideration” for re-appointment to teach a specific course, as described in Article 4.C.
Adjunct faculty members who have previously taught a specific course for at least two (2) calendar years and a minimum of four (4) times within a period of four (4) calendar years at the University will receive good faith consideration for appointment to teach the same course if it is offered by the University within one (1) calendar year of the most recent appointment, provided that the University intends for the course to be taught by an adjunct faculty member covered by this Agreement, unless one of the exceptions set forth in the CBA applies. Good faith consideration does not preclude the University from appointing another faculty member to teach a different course.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement identifies three key factors used to determine good faith consideration.
- Article 4.C explains that the time period to be used to determine good faith consideration is is the calendar year. This includes the spring, summer and fall semesters in each calendar year.
- Article 4.C indicates that the basic requirement is teaching “a specific course for at least two (2) calendar years and a minimum of four (4) times within a period of four (4) calendar years….”
Read Article 4.C and notes #1 through #9 for additional information about factors which can affect whether a teaching assignment is offered when an adjunct has good faith consideration for a specific course.
- Article 18.A states that compensation, and therefore good faith consideration, is based on teaching a “standard course.” This is defined as a course lasting 15 weeks in the fall and spring semester, and 12 weeks in the summer semester, for which the adjunct is the instructor of record. Although there may not be many standard courses offered in the summer, the summer semester must be included in the calendar year calculations.
The Office of the Provost distributes lists to the schools about six weeks after the start of the fall and spring semesters indicating which adjuncts have achieved good faith consideration for a specific course. This information is used to plan teaching assignments for the next semester. If an adjunct thinks that s/he has achieved good faith consideration but is not included in the list, contact the Office of the Provost for assistance in evaluating the claim.
A department teaches multiple sections of a course and has more adjuncts who have achieved good faith consideration than sections of the course. How does the department decide who will be offered the course first?
Departments will be able to make these decisions using their discretion, but should work with the Office of the Provost to develop a re-appointment approach that is consistent and thoughtful and complies with the CBA. In these cases, re-appointment might involve looking at seniority, evaluations, expertise, and other potential criteria.
How can I determine whether I am compliant with the collective bargining agreement requiring covered adjuncts to either pay union dues or an agency fee?
If you signed up to pay your SEIU Local 500 dues or an agency fee by payroll deduction, you can see the SEIU deduction(s) on your monthly payslip. The amount should be roughly $25 – $38 per month, depending on how much you are being paid. (For more information on the amount you pay, review the Beck Notice.
You may view your payslips in GMS by clicking on the GMS portal. When reviewing your payslip, look in the “Post-Tax” deductions section. There should be a specific notation regarding your union dues or agency fee deduction. (If you are having trouble finding and/or interpreting your payslip, click here for instructions.)
However, if after checking your pay slip you still are uncertain, contact SEIU using the message board. If it is determined that you have not applied yet to join the union or pay the agency fee, and you want to use the automatic payroll deduction, this can be set up using one of the options below:
- Complete the application form online.
- Download, complete and send by US mail the short application form.
Note: You are not required to use payroll deduction to pay union dues or the agency fee. However, many part-time faculty use this method for convenience instead of sending their payments to SEIU by check.
If an adjunct faculty member achieves good faith consideration for a specific class that is usually taught in a specific semester or term, does that mean the department has to offer the course to that adjunct every semester?
Not necessarily. If an adjunct has achieved good faith consideration for a course and typically teaches that course in a specific semester, then the adjunct would, at a minimum, be entitled to good faith consideration (subject to the terms of Article 4.C) if that course is offered in that semester). There may be other faculty members who have typically taught the same course in other semesters, and the rights and expectations of those other faculty members should be considered in those circumstances.
Please leave no question unasked. Contact Sandra Gleason, Ph.D., Director of Faculty Affairs, to assist you with any questions you may have.