Hamline University Adjuncts Vote Overwhelmingly To Ratify First Union Contract

The contract, reached in December, will help promote stability through substantial wage increases and new professional development fund

St. Paul, MN – Adjunct faculty at Hamline University voted to ratify their historic first contract with the University on Friday evening after a full day of voting. The contract, reached in December, was called a win for faculty, students and whole university. After 10 years without a raise, adjuncts voted to form their Union with SEIU Local 284 in June of 2014, and negotiated their first contract for over a year. The contract was ratified with over 95% of ballots voting “yes,” and the new contract will go into effect for the spring semester.

Mark Felton, a Hamline adjunct in the business school and member of the bargaining team, praised the vote and expressed excitement about the first contract going into effect.

“Like my fellow faculty, I joined this fight for a first contract because I truly love teaching and want what is best for students, faculty and the larger Hamline community,” said Felton, who has taught at various higher education institutions in Minnesota for over 10 years. “We hope that our contract ratification, and the reality that our gains are locked in with a union contract so that they can’t be taken away later, will help to inspire others to stand up and fight to strengthen higher education across Minnesota. Increasing wages after all these years, establishing a professional development fund and crafting a system where adjuncts have advance notice of when they 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 know that we couldn’t have made these amazing gains without the support of students and the community who also want to make Hamline as great as possible. We are proud that we came together and made this contract a reality.”

David Weiss, Steward of the Union and Adjunct Instructor in Religion, shared how this contract will move Hamline forward.

“Having taught as an adjunct faculty member at Hamline since 2004, I am especially pleased to see this contract ratified. Hamline’s commitment to teaching excellence is now backed up by a commitment to more timely notice of teaching appointments as well as professional development support for adjunct faculty. Similarly, the University’s value of social justice is now echoed in placing renewed value on the work of its adjunct faculty,” said Weiss. “This isn’t just a ‘win’ for those of us who are adjuncts. It’s a win for the students in our classrooms and for our fulltime faculty colleagues. Bargaining a first contract is never easy, but thanks to long hours and hard work by both bargaining teams, this contract strengthens the fabric of Hamline University as whole. Although President Miller wasn’t directly involved in negotiations, this is a significant and positive accomplishment so early in her tenure at Hamline.”

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • All adjunct faculty will receive a raise. A majority will receive a 15% increase in Year 1 and base pay will increase by 20% by the 17-18 fiscal year.
    • Additional compensation for terminal degree and length of service will increase base pay in Year 1 by 25% and by 30% in fiscal year 17-18 .
  • A professional development fund will be established.
  • Adjunct Faculty will have 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 to teach a course they design or be compensated for the design.
  • Establishment of a Union/University Collaboration Committee (otherwise known as a Labor Management Committee)

The contract ratification comes just weeks after tenure-line and contingent faculty at the University of Minnesota filed for a union election with the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services. With approximately 2,500 instructional faculty at the Twin Cities campus, this will be one of the largest single-campus faculty unions in the country.

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