Cuny Contingents Unite!-Program of Demands

Cuny Contingents Unite!

Program of Demands

Approved December 18, 2009

To further CUNY Contingents Unite’s goal of “ending the two-tier academic labor system” (CCU Statement of Purpose), we are putting forward this Preliminary Program.  For the purpose of this document, the terms “contingent” and “part-time” shall refer to non-tenured teaching faculty members including adjuncts, graduate fellows and professors on substitute lines, and continuing education teachers (CETs).  The CCU also reaches out to all others on the bottom levels of CUNY’s labor system, including college lab technicians (CLTs) and higher education officers (HEOs).

1) No Unpaid Time

For every hour of paid “contact time”, the average part-timer spends at least five unpaid hours prepping for class, correcting papers, filling out paperwork, and responding to student emails. All of this time must be compensated. Contingent employees shall be paid for every hour they work for CUNY.  At minimum, this standard shall assume 3 weekly contact hours, 3 weekly grading/prep hours and 2 weekly office/professional hours for each class over a 15 week semester.  Additionally, contingent workers shall be paid for 10 course development hours for a total of 130 hours per semester.  At the current starting rate for adjunct lecturers, total pay class would be $8430 or a full-time equivalent of $50.580 annually (assuming a standard course load of 3-3), considered a “living wage” in New York City.  A Graduate Teaching Fellow (GTF) teaching 2 courses per semester would make $33,720, which is competitive with fellowships offered at other NYC graduate programs.  Step increases (seniority-based raises) shall be on an annual basis, starting with the date of hire.  

2) Benefits

Full employer-paid medical, dental, vision, prescription drug, and retirement benefits at equivalent levels with full-time faculty.  Parental leave and cumulative sick bank benefits.  Paid holidays, and no requirements to ‘make up’ missed class time for class periods missed during snow days.

3) Job security

 All adjuncts shall be hired on a binding 3-year contract basis.  Adjuncts who are asked to continue beyond the initial 3-year period shall receive a statement of continuity of employment.  A seniority system in which department chairs give preference to senior faculty when awarding courses. No one shall be dismissed from her or his job without advance notice of deficiency, opportunity to correct the problem, and due process.

4) Workplace Conditions

Adequate office space and facilities. Upon hire, adjuncts are to be offered keys to the main office and to adjunct office space.  Adjuncts are to be informed immediately how to obtain college identification cards and electronic accounts.  All part-timers shall have a enclosed workspace with at least three walls, no smaller than 16 square feet.  Heat, cooling and ventilation must be functional.

5) Governance

Full participation in department and college or university governance.  All department meetings and official department business shall be open to part-timers and conducted in a transparent way.  Any major decisions regarding course offerings, curriculum, or department policy shall be made in consultation with part-time faculty members.  Governance and service duties shall be compensated. 

6) Professional Development

Create opportunity for professional development, including financial support for research and creative work. Triple the total amount of Adjunct Professional Development Fund, double the maximum allowance, and permit adjuncts to apply multiple times per academic year.

7) Promotion

Qualified long-term adjuncts shall be given special consideration for promotion to full-time positions. Departments shall give preference to “in-house” candidates. Rather than a token number of conversions (e.g. 100 lines), conversion of contingent workers shall be on a strict seniority basis.

8) Academic Freedom

Full protection of free speech rights and all other forms of academic freedom.  Adjuncts have the right to refuse to assign “mandatory” textbooks and reading materials to their class.  Arbitrary dismissal constitutes a violation of academic freedom.

9) Class Size

Class sizes will be capped at a maximum of 20 across the CUNY system. Large classes overburden part-time faculty and detract from the student learning experience. In the rare event a class exceeds the 20-student threshold, the department will hire one or more student teaching assistants.

10) Web Presence

Every part-time instructional staff member shall be listed in their college’s faculty directory and on the appropriate department website.  If full-time faculty members have individual customizable websites, part-timers shall have the same.  Part-timers will receive the same considerations as full-timers in setting up Blackboard accounts on a timely basis.

11) Computer Access


Part-timers shall have access to a late model personal computer with Internet, printer, and network connectivity.  The ratio of faculty members to computers in any given department shall be no greater than 3:1. If multiple instructors are assigned to the same computer, they must be scheduled on different days.

12) Transportation Reimbursement

CUNY shall reimburse part-timers for the purchase of a monthly MetroCard pass and pay an equivalent gas and vehicle maintenance stipend to part-timers who drive to work.  

 13) Observations

If for any reason a part-timer does not wish to be observed by the appointed observer, s/he can request a different one. Observation to be carried out only with at least two weeks’ prior notice.

14) Course Cancellation

If a department cancels a course within a month of the first meeting date, the part-time instructor should be compensated at a rate of 50% of anticipated pay and shall keep their health insurance.


15) Anti-Oppression

CCU will systematically combat racism, sexism, homophobia, age discrimination, and other forms of oppression throughout CUNY.

16) Free Tuition and Open Admissions.
A CUNY education shall be free and open to all New York City high school graduates.

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