Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics

Q: How does the union help me?
A: We have negotiated:

  • Better pay
  • Job security
  • Healthcare
  • Pension benefits
  • We have promoted transparency within the universities’ budgetary systems, and effected positive and fair change in the way resources are allocated at the universities. Each day, we continue our work with the universities to make sure that the value of your work is recognized and fairly compensated.

Q: How do I join?
A: Click here to learn how.

Q: Can I be fired for joining?
A: No. Employer retaliation against workers who join or support a union is prohibited by federal law. For example, ACT-UAW successfully fought the dismissal of union activist Martha Bordman. As a result of the settlement, Prof. Bordman was reinstated with full back pay. If you feel that you have been terminated or discriminated against because of your involvement with the union, contact us immediately.

Q: What are my rights?
A: Click here to learn.

Q: Can grievances or mediations be put in place by faculty regarding injustices amongst or between faculty and administration?
A: If you need to file a grievance, contact the Local’s office at (212) 432-2120. You will be given the name of a Steward, who will guide you through the process. Before you call, learn more about grievances by reading the following questions.

Q: What are grievances and arbitrations?
A: Click here to learn.

Q: I was disciplined or fired unfairly (or without cause). What can I do?
A: Our contracts clearly prevent these actions – see New School Articles VII, XV and XXV; and NYU Articles XVI, XVII and XXII (click here for our contracts). We urge you to contact us.

Q: My department changed directors, and I was told at the time that I would be “taken care of” in the new arrangement, but I haven’t been given classes since. Is there is anything the union can do for me?
A: In this reader’s case, our Local had taken formal action against the university when the change occurred, but the reader was not aware of it. If you think you might have been overlooked in an action our Local took, or are wondering whether an action that could affect you has been or might be taken, contact us.

Q: My department tells me that PhD students can’t teach anymore because of the union. Is that true?
A: No. There is nothing in our contracts that restricts the universities from hiring you. If they’ve chosen not to hire because of your pursuit of a PhD, make sure that is part of their standard hiring policies.

Q: Shouldn’t seniority be considered when assigning work to teachers?
A: Our contract with The New School provides seniority protection. Our contract with NYU, in some circumstances, does provide termination compensation. We urge you to read the contract(s) that apply to you, and to make sure your employers have abided by them. If they have not, contact us. Beyond the protections provided by our contracts, we cannot regulate who the universities choose to employ, since both are private institutions, and therefore have the right to employ whoever they wish. At the same time, members who are interested in new, different or full time positions should always make that known to their schools, and we encourage all members to continually update and broaden their skills (professional development grants are available, thanks to our contracts; contact your department chair for more information).

Money Matters

Q: Does the Local offer professional development grants?
A: Thanks to our contracts, the universities offer them to you. Contact your department chair for more information.

Q: Do members get a pension?
A: The New School offers pensions through TIAA-CREF. In 2014, NYU contributed 5% of the adjunct’s total earnings to an annuity plan (TIAA-CREF or Vanguard).  In 2015, that will increase to 6%.

Q: Do members have access to disability insurance or life insurance?
A: Life insurance is offered by the AFL-CIO’s UnionPlus: http://www.unionplus.org/insurance/life-insurance. We are not aware of disability insurance being offered; contact your employer for more information.

Q: Where can I find the form to have dues automatically deducted from my salary?
A: You can download the cards by navigating to the Join page.

Q: What I would like is a clear statement of what my salary should be from year to year.
A: Our contracts spell this out. Visit the Contract page to download the Collective Bargaining Agreement for your university

Q: Is there a credit union?
A: There is a credit union at NYU. We are not aware of one at The New School; contact the Human Resources office for more information. The AFL-CIO’s UnionPlus program offers a variety of financial services: http://www.unionplus.org/money-management-finance-insurance/.

About the Union

Q: How are students affected by the union?
A: Our union gives teachers better financial compensation and stability, which means they can focus on students’ needs instead of worrying about when, whether, and how much they’ll be paid.

The NYU unit’s contract also promises: “Adjuncts teaching credit-bearing courses in degree-granting programs shall have reasonable access to desks, file space, computers, e-mail, and voicemail. The University and Union will meet up to four times each year to discuss matters relating to space and facilities for these adjuncts. The University will provide the Union with office space or a subsidy in lieu thereof near the Washington Square campus.”

Unfortunately, NYU has failed to make good on any aspect other than e-mail. We continue to press NYU for these resources, which will further benefit our students.

The New School unit is currently finalizing similar language in their contract.

Q: What can I do to support the union?
A: We part-time teachers constitute a large portion of our Universities’ faculties, and are a vibrant and integral part of the university communities. To protect our contracts’ hard-won gains, it is important that we all join and become active members in our Local:

  1. Become a member >>
  2. Make sure we have your current contact information so we can keep you informed >>
  3. Become a Steward >>
  4. Become an Activist >>

More Questions

Q: My address/email/phone number has changed. How do I let ACT-UAW know?
A: Click here.