Bargaining Update #15

March 22, 2023



Our union looked forward to this bargaining session, hoping to make progress on three crucial proposals that concern one of our core demands: job security.  Due to the importance of these proposals to our membership, we invited members to attend the hybrid session on Zoom. As a result, we had about 35 union members and allies on the Zoom call at 11am, the intended start time for the session. 

However, management quickly realized that they had a larger audience than they anticipated, and refused to enter the physical negotiating room where our bargaining committee sat waiting. After some discussion, union members present voted 35- 0 that all 35 members would remain, that we were ready to bargain and it was up to management whether they were going to let the day go to waste. This was a show of unity and strength in the face of management’s intransigence. Negotiations were delayed for a full hour and forty minutes before management finally agreed to sit down to bargain with us.  

Members in attendance shared afterwards that “it’s hard not to feel disrespected” when management wastes our time like this. Grad worker Kathleen Lopez shared that “it was very perplexing that with only 30-35 people in the room, [management] held the proceedings up for over an hour.” Long-time PTL activist and leader Karen Thompson shared, “Obviously the number of people on Zoom should not be an issue unless the administration is ashamed of something, or interested in hiding their views.”

Article 12- Evaluations 

PTL bargaining committee member Heather Pierce argued that adjunct faculty need a choice in their own evaluation process, backing her argument with research that shows racial and gender biases in SIRS. Management questioned why we included language specifying that observations could only be performed by faculty in a “non-supervisory” role, stating that performance evaluations are not a mandatorily negotiable issue. There was disagreement about what NJ law states regarding what’s negotiable and what’s not. Even though it may not be a mandatorily negotiable subject, that does not mean we cannot negotiate about it. As Steve Weissman, the unions’ attorney argued, “We can agree to negotiate” about anything.

Article 6- Appointments 

Bryan Sacks reminded O’Halloran that her boss Prabhas Moghe told us that we deserve to be treated like professionals. Kim O’Halloran, VP for Academic Planning and Administration, agreed that August 1 is too late to inform PTLs of their September courses. But she insisted that June 1 would be impossible for RU to achieve. She did not specify what deadline for appointment letters would be acceptable. Without counter proposals in writing we cannot begin to consider how serious these expressions of goodwill may be. These counters are now promised by Monday.

Regarding our proposal on longer-term appointments, for an appointment to have meaning, (“teeth” Bryan said) we are also demanding that if there is no work for a PTL during the period of a longer term appointment, management needs to come up with work for them. CUNY has language like that in their contract. We repeated that we are willing to work through flexible options to make our proposal for job security make sense. 

Despite the fact that the three articles are interrelated and therefore need to be thought of as a whole, we ultimately did not have time to discuss Article 9 (advancement) before the PTL section of the session ended. Had management not spent nearly two hours of the session refusing to come to the table, we would have had time for a more robust discussion.


In refusing to yield to the demand to send members away from the table, we showed tremendous cross-union unity to force management to negotiate with us on our terms. Members are demonstrating that they have a stake in our negotiations, and are resolved to stay engaged despite management pushback.   


The discussions we’ve had at the table have happened numerous times before. Despite 8 months without a contract, management has not made substantial progress on addressing our core proposals for job security. 


Monday, management will come back with written counters on articles 6, 9, and 12. We hope for a more productive discussion then.