Adjunct professors at NYU reached a tentative agreement with the school this week after months of negotiations that came to a head as union members threatened to strike.
The school reached a tentative six-year deal with adjunct professors around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to an announcement from the NYU Adjuncts Union and ACT-UAW 7902, the local representing their unit.
“Contingent academic labor has become a pillar of the neoliberal university, and this agreement goes a long way toward raising standards for precarious academic workers everywhere,” ACT-UAW 7902 President Zoe Carey said in a statement.
The deal will now go to union membership to be ratified.
A sweeping majority of members — 95% of those who cast a vote — voted to authorize a strike last week in the event the union deems it necessary, forcing a turning point in negotiations that had been ongoing since April. Just under three-quarters of eligible members participated in the strike authorization vote, totaling more than 1,000 members.
“In my opinion, that shows the deep well of anger that adjuncts feel — this sense of being exploited by NYU, being deeply, deeply, seriously taken advantage of by this extremely wealthy university,” said Gordon Beeferman, an adjunct professor with the College of Arts and Science's music department. “And that this contract goes in the direction of changing that.”
In a statement posted on the school’s website, NYU spokesperson John Beckman said “the university is pleased to have reached agreement on a tentative accord with UAW Local 7902 in the early hours of Tuesday, November 1, 2022.”
Beeferman said inflation and broad economic uncertainty have deepened the sentiments felt by fellow adjunct professors.
“The cost of rent is skyrocketing. Adjuncts can’t send their kids to college. They can’t pay off their loans. They have to work multiple jobs,” Beeferman said. People, he said, “are really struggling.”
The contract covers a six-year period ending in 2028. It includes a boost in pay for the university’s adjunct professors, who were previously paid a minimum rate of just over $6,200 for a standard four-credit course, according to the union. That rate is now $10,400, with further increases over the course of the tentative deal.
The university will also contribute to health care premiums for adjuncts under the deal, which the union notes is a first for NYU, according to the union.
Pandemic bonuses akin to those offered to full-time instructors and those on the tenure track are also part of the contract, among other things.