A union representing about 900 adjunct professors at Northeastern University filed a complaint against the school with the National Labor Relations Board on Thursday, alleging the university “unilaterally implemented changes to health insurance eligibility and benefits.”
The unfair labor practices complaint also contends that Northeastern officials “failed to notify and bargain with the union regarding changes to the parking rates charged to bargaining unit employees.”
“Throughout this process, Northeastern administrators have treated adjunct faculty as second-class citizens,” Annabel Dodd, a Northeastern computer systems instructor, said in a statement released by the union. “The administration must be held accountable for refusing to negotiate on salaries while pushing more costly and restrictive health plans than those offered to every other level of full-time faculty, administration, and clerical staff.”
Northeastern pushed back against those allegations in a statement Thursday evening.
“The university continues to bargain in good faith and we’re optimistic about finalizing a contract that will include parking and heath care costs,” the university said. “While we’re disappointed that the union has resorted to these diversionary tactics, we remain committed to this important process.”
According to the union, all but about 40 of its members are barred from enrolling in Northeastern’s new health plan, and eligible instructors are expected to pay 50 percent of their premiums out of pocket, which is more than double what other employees pay.
“Adding insult to injury, the announcement was paired with an annual increase to the already-high fees faculty pay for on-campus parking,” the statement said.
Thursday’s action by the union comes amid the threat of a one-day strike by the adjunct professors if they do not have a labor contract by Jan. 19.
The union said in its statement that the 15-month impasse in contract negotiations is the result of the administration’s “bad-faith approach to contract negotiations, refusing to discuss poverty-level wages or other economic disparities.”
Northeastern officials have said previously that they are bargaining in good faith on a broad range of issues and hope that a walkout can be averted.
Adjunct professors do not have long-term contracts with the school and are hired on a per-class basis, often on short notice. Many are paid just a few thousand dollars per class.Laura Krantz of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.