As we continue working on a potential agreement with the NYU administration for a fair election process, we want to reiterate support for our already unionized adjunct colleagues.
In recent weeks, the administration has continued to try to exclude many contract faculty from our potential bargaining unit. For this reason, we are further concerned to hear about the administration’s recent measures to reduce part-time faculty course loads, as part of a coordinated effort across schools to limit the teaching assignments of dozens of adjunct professors and eliminate some adjunct teaching positions altogether. The administration’s predictable resistance to faculty efforts to organize ourselves for better working conditions and meaningful academic freedom extends to our adjunct colleagues, as well as our own ongoing effort to establish collective bargaining. You can read our full statement of support here.
NYU adjunct faculty are currently facing a coordinated and retaliatory union-busting campaign. Following ACT-UAW’s landmark contract agreement in Fall 2022, the administration has taken extraordinary measures to limit the teaching assignments of dozens of adjunct professors and eliminate some adjunct teaching positions altogether. The specific measures taken by the administration have been outlined in detail in the statements released by ACT-UAW, the executive officers of NYU-AAUP, and concerned contract faculty in Liberal Studies. They include the reduction in the course loads of all Writing core adjuncts in Liberal Studies, the shifting of courses to odd hours in an apparent effort to generate under-enrollment, and the “non-appointment” of multiple members of the adjunct faculty on what amounts to a technicality.
The first notification of these measures followed the submission of spring semester grades, at a time when many adjunct faculty members are away from campus and unable to adequately respond to or protest these life-altering changes. There is no clear academic rationale for these decisions.
Contract faculty must stand with our adjunct colleagues and NYU-AAUP in questioning the explanations that have thus far been offered. Although the administration frequently broadcasts its respect and appreciation for all members of the NYU community, its actions betray their disregard for adjunct labor, and, by extension, the working lives of all NYU faculty. Coming on the heels of a hard-fought contract, their effort to erode union power undermines the administration’s claims that it operates in good faith with ACT-UAW and the other unions representing thousands of NYU faculty and staff.
The administration’s actions towards our adjunct colleagues should alert and galvanize us as we negotiate the terms of a contract faculty union election process. The vast majority of NYU courses are taught by non-tenure track faculty, including contract faculty and thousands of adjunct faculty. The summary curtailing of the teaching responsibilities of dozens of faculty members represents an unacceptable breach of trust on the part of the administration, and is antithetical to the spirit of community they purport to value. To cultivate that spirit of community, we need to defend adjunct labor rights as we fight for our labor rights as contract faculty.
We stand with our adjunct colleagues in urging the NYU administration to address the demands issued in our adjunct colleagues’ recent press release. Please feel free to reply directly for any questions or thoughts. To learn more about how to get involved in efforts to support our adjunct colleagues, and our own effort to raise standards and establish collective bargaining for contract faculty at NYU, click here.