Collective Bargaining Agreement

For how long will the new agreement between Northeastern and SEIU be in effect? 

The new agreement covering certain part-time faculty members will be in effect from February 26, 2016 to and including June 30, 2019.  As is typical, the parties will likely begin negotiations over proposed changes to the current agreement at least sixty (60) days prior to the expiration date of June 30, 2019. 

If a part-time faculty member is represented by the union, is all of the work he/she performs therefore governed by the agreement? 

No.  The agreement does not apply to online courses or any other course not taught on the Huntington Avenue or Broad Street campuses (the “Boston Campuses”).  Therefore, it is possible that a part-time faculty member may teach courses covered by the agreement (traditional, hybrid or blended on the Boston Campuses) while at the same time teaching courses not covered by the agreement (online or taught on a campus outside of the Boston Campuses).   

From what compensation will a part-time faculty member’s union dues be deducted? 

Union dues will be deducted only from compensation earned performing work covered by the agreement.  For example, dues would be deducted from compensation earned by a part-time faculty member for teaching a course that meets on one of the Boston Campuses, but dues would not be deducted from that same part-time faculty member’s earnings for teaching an online course. 

What deductions, if any, should be made from a part-time faculty member’s compensation when he/she chooses not to become a member of the union? 

In instances when a faculty member covered by the agreement chooses not to join  the union, and therefore does not pay union dues, under the Agreement the university is required to deduct an agency fee from the faculty member’s compensation earned performing bargaining unit work.  An “agency fee” is a service charge by the union that goes toward the cost of union contract administration and representation.  The amount of the fee is determined by the union. 

What action, if any, is the university required to take with respect to faculty members who pay neither union dues nor an agency fee? 

Yes.  Members of the judiciary are not required to pay agency fees.  Also, faculty members who affirm, through a witness statement, that payment of an agency fee to the union will have an adverse impact on their professional work or employment outside of the university because of actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest will not have to pay an agency fee.  However, such faculty members will be required to make contributions in an amount equal to the agency fee to a 501(c)(3) charitable  organization(s) of their choice from among a list provided by the union in lieu of paying the agency fee to the union. 

May colleges and schools pay part-time faculty members covered by the agreement more than minimum rates required by the agreement? 

Yes.  Colleges and schools are free to negotiate rates with part-time faculty members that exceed the newly negotiated “floor” or minimums provided in the agreement. 

Does the agreement address the issue of payments to part-time faculty members when a course is cancelled? 

Yes.  If a course not subject to “good faith consideration” (see below) is canceled within seven (7) calendar days prior to the start of the academic term or after the start of the academic term for typical business reasons like low enrollment, the faculty member who accepted the course assignment shall be paid a cancellation fee equal to fifteen percent (15%) of the amount the faculty member would have been paid had s/he taught the course.  Dues will be deducted from cancellation fees.  

What is “good faith consideration” for course assignment? 

“Good faith consideration” is a preference for course assignment.  Part-time faculty members covered by the agreement are eligible for “good faith consideration” under the following conditions: 1) the faculty member has not been subject to any disciplinary action within the current year or preceding three (3) years; 2) the faculty member has been assigned to teach the same course for which s/he seeks assignment at least three (3) academic terms during the past three (3) years; and 3) the course in question is being offered within one (1) year of the faculty member’s most recent assignment to teach that course.   

 What does “same course” mean for purposes of determining “good faith consideration”?  

 “Same course” means the identical course number and identical campus with the exception of some groups of English course in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (listed in the agreement). 

When will “good faith consideration” take effect? 

The university will begin giving good faith consideration to part-time faculty members covered by this agreement on January 9, 2017.  Faculty members will be eligible if all required conditions for good faith consideration have been met by (1) the date of ratification of the agreement, or (2) on or after January 9, 2017. 

When should part-time faculty members entitled to “good faith consideration” be offered course assignments?  When must faculty members accept? 

Part-time faculty members entitled to good faith consideration will be offered their course assignments in writing at least forty-five (45) calendar days prior to the start of the academic term except when the course was previously offered to another individual. 

A faculty member must notify the university of his/her acceptance of an offered course within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the offer.  Faculty members who fail to respond within ten (10) calendar days of the written offer will be deemed to have declined the offer. 

Can faculty members earn “good faith consideration” for more than one (1) section of an assigned course? 

Yes.  Specifically, in the event a faculty member has good faith consideration for a specific course and has taught more than one section of that specific course during at least three (3) academic terms during the previous three (3) years, the faculty member will be entitled to a maximum of two (2) sections of that specific course per academic term.  A college or  school could offer this part-time faculty member more than two (2) sections of that specific course, but is not required to do so. 

Are there circumstances when “good faith consideration” may be denied, reduced, or cancelled? 

Yes.  Circumstances when good faith consideration may be denied, reduced, or cancelled include, but are not limited to, the creation of a full-time faculty position that absorbs the existing course taught by the part-time faculty members and the elimination or decrease in course offerings due to changes in core curriculum requirements or major or minor program requirements.  A full listing of circumstances when good faith consideration may be denied, reduced, or subsequently cancelled can be found at Article 9, section 3 of the agreement. 

What happens when there are more part-time faculty members with “good faith consideration” than sections of a specific course to assign? 

In such instances, the university will determine, in its discretion, which faculty member will be assigned to teach the available courses. 

Does the agreement address the issue of payments to part-time faculty members who have their “good faith consideration” denied, reduced or cancelled due to circumstances listed under Article 9, section 3? 

Yes.  If a faculty member entitled to good faith consideration is displaced by an alternate faculty member or by the creation of a full-time position that absorbs existing courses taught by a faculty member, and such faculty member is not offered another course, the affected faculty member will receive a one-time payment equal to seventy-five percent (75%) of the amount the faculty member would have been paid had s/he taught a section of the course. 

What happens when a faculty member with “good faith consideration” for a particular course is denied the course after being displaced by an alternate faculty member or by the creation of a full-time position and then declines an alternate course?  

 In such instances, the faculty member who was offered an alternate course and declines it will not receive a one-time payment equal to seventy-five percent (75%) of the amount the faculty member would have been paid had s/he taught the course for which s/he had “good faith consideration”. 

Does the agreement address the issue of payments to part-time faculty members who have a course or section assignment subject to “good faith consideration” canceled after the faculty member has accepted an offer? 

Yes.  Under such circumstances, the university will offer the affected faculty member an available alternative course assignment that, in the discretion of the university, the faculty member is qualified to teach and that has not been assigned to another faculty member or full-time faculty member.  In instances when the affected faculty member is not offered an alternative course assignment, the faculty member will receive full compensation for the subsequently canceled course. 

Are part-time faculty members eligible for health insurance? 

Yes, certain part-time faculty members are eligible for health insurance.  Specifically, the university provides faculty members who work an average of thirty (30) hours or more per week with health insurance in accordance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) along with other similarly situated employees.  The university will contribute fifty percent (50%) toward the premium cost of both the individual and family coverage.  Eligible faculty members are offered the same plan options as other similarly situated faculty and staff at the university. 

How will a part-time faculty member’s hours of service be calculated for purposes of determining health insurance eligibility? 

Look Back Period -- The University will apply a twelve (12) month look back period from November 1 of each year through October 31 of each year and will calculate each faculty member’s hours of service based on the total number of course credit hours taught during an academic term. 

Hours of Service Calculations -- Specifically, hours of service will be determined by multiplying the total number of course credits taught in an academic term times three (3). 

The product shall be the number of hours per week that will be credited to a part-time faculty member for that academic term.  Part-time faculty shall be credited with hours of service for any employment break period of at least four weeks at a rate equal to the average weekly rate at which the part-time faculty member was credited during the weeks in the look back period that are not part of the employment break period.

Summer Academic Term -- If a part-time faculty member teaches during the summer academic term, the faculty member will be credited with hours of service for the summer term at the greater of (a) the average weekly rate at which the faculty member was credited during the weeks in the look back period that are not part of the summer academic term, or (b) the hours of service provided during the summer academic term as determined by the methodology described above. 

Are part-time faculty members eligible for any other benefits other than health insurance?

Yes.  Part-time faculty continue to be eligible for other benefits.  All benefits may be found at Northeastern’s Human Resources Management site

Whom should I contact if I have additional questions? 

You may contact:
May Lee, Senior Human Resources Consultant at x4319
Stacy Saravo, Senior Benefits Administrator at x5378