by Evan Cramb, FCRH ’18
Tomorrow, September 8, a group of Fordham adjunct professors called Fordham Faculty United will deliver to Father McShane their petition for living wages, benefits, and measures to improve job security and safety for contingent faculty. The online petition has to-date received 363 supporters. They will be convening at 12:45pm on the Dealy Hall steps facing Cunniffe House. There the group will host a rally and send a delegation to Father McShane’s office to present their petition.
The group asks that all supporters who can attend join them in support of just employment at Fordham.
Their petition, titled “Demand Fordham University End Unfair Treatment of Contingent Faculty” asks the following of Fordham administration:
WE THE UNDERSIGNED demand that Fordham University’s administration live up to its Social Justice Initiative and end the unjust treatment of its adjunct and contingent faculty. We have a right to a living wage and comprehensive benefits, longer contracts, course cancellation fees, funding for research, and a safe and just work environment free from interference. Our working conditions are students’ learning conditions.
We further demand:
- That Fordham live up to the pronouncement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [“If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected—the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.” —United States Conference of Catholic Bishops]
- That Fordham follow Georgetown University’s lead and adopt the “Jesuit Just Employment Policy.” (http://www.justemploymentpolicy.org/)
- That a public meeting with the President, the Provost, and a panel of adjuncts and contingent faculty be convened to discuss the implementation of this policy.
From their petition, press commentary, and events it is apparent that the adjunct faculty comprising Fordham Faculty United are concerned about several problems regarding the university’s treatment of contingent faculty.
- Low wages. New York City is expensive and, employed at only Fordham, an adjunct’s income would be only slightly above the poverty line. This forces adjuncts to take multiple jobs around the City to make a decent living.
- No benefits: No included health coverage. No retirement plan.
- No job security—an adjunct must renegotiate their contract at the end of the year. One is never sure if they will have a job next year.
- Only part-time employment available. An increasingly small number of tenured faculty are teaching classes and instead replaced by part-time contingent faculty members who are vulnerable to exploitation.
In May, Fordham Ram journalist Laura Sanicola received the Outstanding Investigative Journalism Award by the American Scholastic Press Association for her article “Faculty Forward Demands Change in Wage” on Fordham’s contingent faculty organizing. Read her article here: https://fordhamram.com/2015/04/22/faculty-forward-demands-changes-in-wage/
Earlier this year on April 14, Fordham Faculty United (FFU) hosted an event titled “Labor Justice at Jesuit Institutions.” That meeting followed an effort started in April 2015 under the name “Fordham Faculty Forward,” a group that held both a rally outside of the McGinley Center and a hunger strike to promote awareness of their cause.
Fordham Faculty United has worked with Fordham Students United and the “Fight for $15” campaign as part of a national protest for fair wages.
If you are free tomorrow at 12:45pm, please come out to the Dealy steps by Cunniffe to show your support.
- Fordham Adjuncts Host Labor Justice Event – Mike Byrne, Apr 20, 2016
- Fordham Students Rally with Adjuncts for ‘Fight for $15’ – Katie Meyer, Nov 11, 2015
- Adjuncts Protest for Better Wage in 2016 – Katie Meyer, Oct 28, 2015
- Protesting Working Conditions, Fordham Adjuncts Fast – Katie Meyer, Sep 16, 2015
- A Look at the Numbers on Fordham Adjuncts – Joe Vitale, Apr 23, 2015
- SAGES to Protest Adjunct Wages, Respect for Life Display – Erin Shanahan, Apr 15, 2015