Common Questions

Why are Poly adjuncts signing union cards to support unionization?

NYU-Poly adjuncts are signing union cards to join the Adjunct Faculty Union, ACT-UAW Local 7902, established in 2002 at the NYU Washington Square campus. When NYU and Poly merged, the contract benefits and protections of the unionized adjuncts at the Washington Square campus were not automatically extended to Poly adjuncts. This is because the university administration has refused to immediately have Poly adjuncts covered under the existing union contract. As a result, Poly adjuncts have been excluded from regular salary increases, access to health and retirement benefits, job security provisions, and professional development funding (to name a few).

Adjuncts at both the Brooklyn and Manhattan campuses believe that one group of adjuncts should not be treated differently than another group of adjuncts at the same institution.  Further, since the Brooklyn and Manhattan campuses are now one NYU, the logical conclusion is NYU-Poly adjuncts should be in the union and get the salary increases, benefits, and protections covered under the existing union contract.


What is the NYU administration’s current position on having Poly adjuncts covered under the existing union contract?

After the completion of the merger of the Manhattan and Brooklyn campuses last year, ACT-UAW spoke with the NYU Administration on two occasions to urge it to voluntarily recognize Poly adjuncts as part of the existing union and be covered under the existing union contract. Unfortunately, the administration is refusing to include Poly adjuncts at this time. This means delays in contractual raises, access to benefits and protections under the union contract.


What is ACT-UAW?

ACT-UAW (Adjuncts Come Together) Local 7902 is the union established in 2002 for adjunct faculty at NYU’s Washington Square campus and at The New School. By joining together as adjuncts, we have won rights and protections that improve the quality of life for adjuncts through better pay, access to health benefits, professional development funds and more. NYU adjuncts at both the Brooklyn and Manhattan campuses are working together to win equality and respect for Poly adjuncts.


What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining is a negotiation process that equalizes the power relationship between employees and their employer. Under collective bargaining, we—adjuncts—decide democratically what issues to prioritize and elect adjunct representatives to negotiate on equal footing with NYU in order to put the terms of our employment. These agreed upon terms are then memorialized into a binding contract. With collective bargaining, NYU adjuncts have negotiated salary increases and benefits, and have established rights and protections in our contract. Without collective bargaining, NYU has unilateral power to change our working conditions whenever it wants to.


How much are union membership dues and when do we start paying?

ACT-UAW union dues are 1.44% of gross income. You will not pay any dues until you are covered under a contract: either the existing union contract or a newly negotiated contract which you and other adjuncts get to vote on. Dues from UAW members across the country help to provide the professional resources for organizing campaigns, contract negotiations and contract enforcement. Dues are not collected during any semester when you are not teaching.


What is the NLRB?

The NLRB, or National Labor Relations Board, is a federal agency that was established to safeguard workers’ rights as defined in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which lays out the right to collective bargaining and related matters.


What is the NLRB process?

The typical NLRB process begins when employees submit a petition seeking to be represented by a union. The petition is then evaluated by the NLRB’s Regional Director, who conducts an investigation and holds hearings if there are disagreements between the union and employer in determining which employees can be part of the union’s “bargaining unit,” or the employees that will be covered under a union contract. Once the bargaining unit has been determined, the Regional Director will then conduct a representation election, in which all members of the eligible bargaining unit can vote yes or no on forming a union. When a majority of votes is in favor of unionization, then the union is certified and empowered to elect a bargaining committee, and democratically determine bargaining priorities. The bargaining committee will negotiate a contract with the employer, which must then be ratified by a majority vote of the membership.


Where is ACT-UAW in the NLRB process?

Through an election agreement between the union and the university, the NLRB is conducting a mail ballot election. On November 30th, the NLRB mailed ballots to people’s home addresses based on a list of names and contact information which NYU was required to provide to both the union and the labor board. The mail ballots are due back to the Brooklyn NLRB on Friday, December 18th.

You are eligible to vote if you are an adjunct who is teaching this academic year (2015-2016) with at least 40 contact hours of instruction in one or more courses or a total of 75 contact hours of individual instruction or tutoring. In addition, eligible voting adjuncts must have been employed during the payroll period ending November 19, 2015.

On December 7, 2015, NYU Poly adjuncts NYU-Poly adjuncts made historical walk to Labor Board in Support of ACT-UAW. There, they cast their votes in favor of union representation in person to ensure that their voices would be heard.

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Will we have to strike?

Adjuncts vote if a strike is a necessary action to take. Under the UAW Constitution, 2/3 of those participating in a strike authorization vote must vote yes in order to authorize the Union leadership to call a strike. While a strike is a very powerful tactic at the disposal of union members, they are rare. 98% of union contracts are settled without a strike. ACT-UAW adjunct faculty at NYU have never gone out on strike in its 13-year history.


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