Hamline University Adjuncts Reach Tentative Agreement on Historic First Union Contract

The agreement, called a victory for both faculty and students, will help promote stability through substantial wage increases and new professional development fund

St. Paul, Minn – Late Wednesday night, adjunct faculty at Hamline University reached a tentative agreement for their historic first contract with the University. After 10 years without a raise, adjuncts voted overwhelmingly to form their Union with SEIU Local 284 in June of 2014, and have been negotiating their first contract with the University for over a year. The adjunct faculty on the bargaining team praised the contract as a strong step forward to improving Hamline for adjuncts, students and the whole Hamline community.

Mark Felton, a Hamline adjunct in the business school and member of the bargaining team, highlighted how the contract is a “win-win” for everyone at Hamline.

“Teaching is my passion, which is why I joined the fight to win this first contract that makes Hamline stronger for both adjunct faculty and our students,” said Felton, who has taught at various Higher Education institutions in Minnesota for over 10 years. “Increasing wages after all these years, establishing a professional development fund and crafting a system where adjuncts have advance notice of when we will teach courses will all help to create an environment where we have the capacity to do what we love to do, which is spend time with and teach our students. We always believed we could reach an agreement that moves everyone forward, and we are proud that we came together and made this contract a reality.”

Della Zurick, a Hamline adjunct who teaches political theory and is a member of the bargaining team, shared that her love of her students got her involved in the campaign and why their support helped to make the contract a reality.

“I teach my students about standing up for their convictions, and feel strongly that this contract does just that for Hamline adjuncts who have fought so hard for what is best for both faculty and students,” said Zurick. “I feel called to teach, and find great joy in engaging with my Hamline students. It has been amazing to see and hear the support they have given us throughout my time on the campaign.  I believe this contract will help to strengthen that experience for all involved at Hamline. When adjuncts aren’t having to run from one job to the next, scrambling to fit together various pieces, it gives us more time to actually teach our students.”

Hamline students have been strong supporters of the adjuncts during the campaign for a first contract. Kyle McGuinn, a first year MFA student at Hamline, shared why he worked to support adjuncts and why he was excited for this first contract.

“This agreement is a great step forward for both Hamline students and faculty. Students supported the adjuncts bargaining for a fair first contract because we know that if our teachers are paid fairly and given the support they need, they will have more time to invest in our education,” said McGuinn. “I’m proud that adjuncts stood up for a better future for higher education, and proud that the student body showed our support for the teachers that make our education possible. This is a big win for all of Hamline.”

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • Raises for all adjunct faculty. A majority will receive a 15% increase in year 1 and base pay will increase by 20% by the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
  • Additional compensation for adjuncts with their terminal degree and length of service will increase base pay in year 1 by 25% and by 30% in fiscal year 2017-2018.
  • A professional development fund will be established.
  • Adjunct faculty will receive much earlier notice of courses they will teach, and will be compensated for work if there is a last minute cancellation. Additionally, they will have the first right of refusal to teach a course they design or be compensated for the curriculum.
  • Establishment of a Union/University Collaboration Committee (otherwise known as a Labor Management Committee)

Adjunct faculty in the bargaining unit will vote in early 2016 on ratification of the agreement, which would then go into effect for the Spring semester.

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