newsletter dec jan 2013


The Voice of Part-time Faculty at Syracuse University

Adjuncts United is dedicated to protecting, advocating, and ensuring the rights of all part-time faculty on the Syracuse University campus. We are a NYSUT/AFT affiliate.


• President's Message
• Membership Meeting: Save the Date
• Election Committee Approves Officers
• Important Information on Applying for Posted Courses
• Help with our Annual Audit
• University seeks input in Wellness Survey
• Do You Have a Grievance?
• What You Should Know Before Taking an Overload or Doing Extra Service
• Professional Development Funds are Still Available
• Share your News
• About the Newsletter


By Laurel Morton, Acting President (moc.liamtoh|tromnasal#moc.liamtoh|tromnasal)
Another busy semester!
I am getting used to this new union role — working alongside your dedicated Executive Committee members who analyze merit pay increases, find benefit discrepancies, advocate for peers, attend grievance meetings and put out newsletters. Strengthening the part time experience here at SU is a big job and, frankly, we need help. We need to get to know more members, to learn about your successes and difficulties and to have more members step up into leadership roles, especially to represent the various schools on the Executive Committee. One Executive Committee meeting a month is not really a huge commitment and they do deepen your understanding of benefits, processes and contracts.
There is an upcoming membership meeting for all members on January 13th, so enjoy your Holidays and I hope to meet you there!


Adjunct United's first membership meeting of the year is Sunday, January 13 from 2 to 4 p.m. This is an opportunity to meet other part-time faculty, learn a little more about the Union, discuss your concerns and simply socialize and have fun on the day before classes begin again. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend. Watch you e-mail for an invitation with more specific details after the first of the year.


The Election Committee announced on December 21 the nominations for President, Vice President and Treasurer:
• Laurel Morton for President
• Jeff Simmons for Vice-President
• Kari Shaw for Treasurer
• Jeanette Jeneault for Executive Committee Representative and RA Delegate for NYSUT.
As none of these positions have been contested, the Elections Committee elects these individuals by acclamation to their respective offices and their elections shall stand if uncontested within a 30-day period.


By Kari Shaw, Treasurer (moc.rr.yncwt|wahsek#moc.rr.yncwt|wahsek)
We have some contract language about extra courses, but it is only as strong as our enforcement. If we know our rights, and what is supposed to happen, we can be vigilant about protecting our interests.
1. Open sections are supposed to be posted. Your department has the right to assign courses as it thinks appropriate. Departments assign courses in different ways, but in general you have no right to a particular course. So if 10 people teach 2 courses each per semester, they can be assigned as the department wishes. But if there is an additional course to be taught by a Part-time Instructor (PTI) it must be posted for at least seven days so everyone has an opportunity to apply. Jobs are posted on the Human Resources website. If extra courses are simply given to someone without being posted, we can file a grievance. (There are a few exceptions to this.)
Anyone interested in teaching a posted section should apply using the online application process.
2. Seniority is supposed to be considered when hiring for open sections. Current PTIs who are teaching or who have taught the open course before are meant to be considered first. The university can choose among the top three senior employees who are teaching or who have taught the course before. If no such person applies, then they are meant to choose among the top three senior qualified applicants.
What does this mean? Anyone with experience teaching a course has priority over anyone without experience. And, depending on how many people apply, more senior people have an edge over less senior applicants.
3. What should you do if you think the process has not been followed? The most important thing to do if you think the process hasn’t been followed properly is to act quickly. A grievance must be filed within 10 working days of learning of the problem. If you wait to gather information first it will be too late. We have had problems with this in the past, and need to be quicker. In general it makes sense to file the grievance right away. Then as part of the grievance we can ask for the information we need. It might turn out the process was followed, but we don’t know for sure unless we get the information, and it is hard to get the information except as part of a grievance.
4. How do I file a grievance? Contact an AU officer for help filing a grievance. We will help you with the process, go with you to meetings, and provide support for your problem. The first step is informal. You contact your chairperson (or their equivalent) stating that this is the first step of a grievance and asking for a meeting. Anyone in the AU leadership can help you with this and go to the meeting if you like. Don’t worry about being confrontational. These meetings are usually cordial and reasonable.
All members in our bargaining unit are covered by the labor agreement, but we need you to notify us to represent you the best way we can.


By Kari Shaw, Treasurer (moc.rr.yncwt|wahsek#moc.rr.yncwt|wahsek)
Greetings from your friendly Union Treasurer!
We are required by law to audit our financial records each year. The easiest, most accurate, and least expensive method is to have 3-5 members volunteer to do this. You would need to come to my house (10 minutes from campus) sometime before the Spring semester starts and go through my records. In previous years a few good people did this in about two hours. Members of the Executive Committee are NOT eligible for this duty. So if you would like to help your union but don’t have time for a major commitment (or maybe you just like going through financial records), this is the job for you. You do not need any financial expertise or math ability. I wrote fewer than 30 checks last year, so it really shouldn’t take too long. I will bake cookies.
Please respond if you are interested and we can set up a time when people are available. I know this is a busy time of year, but I would really appreciate anyone who can help.


AU encourages part-time faculty to complete the Wellness Survey that will be sent out shortly by Susan Furtney, Syracuse University's newly appointed Wellness Coordinator. We all know that being a part-time or non-tenure track instructor comes with its share of stress. But as members of the Syracuse University Community, we have available to us the University's wellness resources, including use of the gyms and pools on campus and taking part in the survey will help Susan and the University better tailor programs to all faculty and staff. Let's make our voice a strong one!


According to Adjuncts United labor agreement with Syracuse University, members of the bargaining unit can file a grievance if they believe that they have not been treated in accordance with the contract. But the contract also sets a time limit for filing a grievance: the first step, filing an informal grievance with your Department Administrator must be done within 10 days. And in some cases, filing a grievance is the only way to get the information that can ascertain whether in fact the contract was followed.
Please file an Informal Grievance with your Department Administrator if:
• You apply for an open position and think that your seniority has not been handled appropriately in terms of the Agreement. This is the only avenue you have to find out how the position was filled, as results are not posted in any other manner, and if you wait until the beginning of the semester to find out, it may be too late to file.
• You believe that you qualify for a long-term contract, have requested one, and have been denied.
• You have not been evaluated in the past or seen your evaluation from the past Spring semester. You should receive a copy of the evaluation and are able, if you desire, to make a written response it.
More information on seniority, hiring for open positions, contracts, and evaluation can be found in the labor agreement, on the Adjuncts United Wiki.
Also note that you have the right to review your personnel file and to make copies of anything in it. Make an appointment with Human Resources if you wish to review your file.


Part-time faculty are sometimes offered the opportunity to teach extra courses or do work that is in addition to their regular teaching assignment. These overload courses and extra service assignments may seem like a good thing, but if you do not have regular benefits, you should know all the facts before you agree.
Overloads and extra service may not count toward eligibility for some benefits, including retirement benefits with TIAA-CREF.
Therefore, if you don't have regular benefits and are going to do some work that is not in y our regular teaching, request that your department make it part of your regular workload for the semester.
If you have questions about your particular situation, contact one of the AU officers or Human Resources.


Did you know there is a professional development fund to help part-time instructors pay for one-time expenses directly related to our academic responsibilities at the University? This fund is part of the labor agreement between Adjuncts United and the University.
We have currently handled and approved PDF requests that total just over $5000 (the total Fund is $30,000). It is not too late for post probationary unit members to request funds for activities incurred this past Fall and Spring. Applications for activities from July 1 to December 15 are due no later than January 3, and rewards for the remainder of the year will be reviewed through the end of June 2013.
All post-probationary members of the bargaining unit are eligible to apply for funds. So plan now for upcoming projects and travel related to your teaching, and apply for funding. Examples of activities eligible for the fund are conference registration, travel expenses, hotel accommodations, workshop fees or course tuition. However, training required by your department, your time, and personal expenses are not eligible.
The maximum award is $500.AU’s Executive Committee reviews applications on a rolling basis. Applications are available through the University or Adjuncts United.


Do you have news? Has someone in your department (maybe you?) been recognized for outstanding work? Or started an interesting new project? Published something? Exhibited work? Performed? Let us know, and we’ll share it with your part-time colleagues by publishing it here. Email Maureen Fitzsimmons, moc.liamg|isztifrm#moc.liamg|isztifrm.
And if you’re a writer, artist or photographer who would like to help produce the newsletter, we’d love to work with you! Email Maureen at moc.liamg|isztifrm#moc.liamg|isztifrm.


Adjuncts United Newsletter is published at bi-monthly during the academic year and is sent to all bargaining unit members. Our mailing list is based on the most current information we have from the University. We apologize if you receive this newsletter in error.
To view the newsletter on line, click here
Published by:
Communications Committee, Adjuncts United
Contact: Maureen Fitzsimmons, moc.liamg|isztifrm#moc.liamg|isztifrm

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