January 29, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 43°F


Contingent faculty to vote to ratify union contract April 6–7

The Ithaca College contingent faculty union is voting to ratify its contract on April 6 and 7 after a year and a half of bargaining that ended with a tentative contract agreement March 26.

Voting is taking place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 6 in the Fishbowl in IC Square and April 7 in Studio 2 Dillingham Theatre at the same times. Rachel Kaufman, lecturer in the Department of Writing, said members of the union bargaining committee will be supervising the voting process. The contingent faculty members who are voting have to sign in and cast their vote with secret paper ballots in private voting areas. Votes will be cast anonymously.

The contract includes a 24 percent raise over four years and eligibility for two-year contracts for part-time contingent faculty members if they have worked at the college for over three years. Full-time contingent faculty members who have worked at the college for three years are eligible for two-year contracts, and those who have worked at the college for five years are eligible for three-year contracts.

Megan Graham, assistant professor in the Department of Writing, said the vote to ratify the contract will be decided based on the majority of people who come out to vote and not the majority of all contingent faculty members.

“We are a democratic institution, as a union, and like all democratic institutions, decisions are made by people who show up,” Graham said.

Graham and Kaufman both said they are unsure if the union will release the total votes cast.

The bargaining committee will also officially be signing up contingent faculty members for the union when they come to vote. Because New York does not have a right-to-work law, which allows employees to opt out of unions, all contingent faculty members are required to be a part of the union and therefore pay dues.

Graham said contingent faculty must start paying union dues once the contract is officially ratified. She also said the number of dues the contingent faculty will have to pay depends on how many courses the faculty member is teaching but that they would be around $30 a month for part-time contingent faculty and more for full-time contingent faculty members. Contingent faculty members will only pay dues in the months they are teaching.

Kaufman said every aspect of the contract will be able to be implemented once the contract is ratified, and the union will have to work with many different groups, like Human Resources, to get details worked out.

The contingent faculty union held a contract education session April 5 for contingent faculty members to ask questions about the contract. Kurt Lichtmann, lecturer in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, was the only contingent faculty member not on either of the bargaining committees to attend the session. In the past, Lichtmann has expressed concerns about the unionization, but he said he is planning to vote to ratify the contract.

Kaufman said she has confidence the contract will be ratified because of the community support the union has seen over the past few months.

“The whole committee got a sense of just how supportive so many contingent faculty are of these goals that we went for and how much they really needed things, like the raise they’re getting right now, and job security,” she said.

Sophie Johnson can be reached at sjohnson3@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @sophjohnson26