Bentley University adjunct faculty reached a contract settlement with the school Friday night, just three days before a planned protest, officials said Saturday.
The four-year tentative agreement, which was reached after three years of effort and still needs to be ratified by faculty, improves wages and teaching conditions for more than 200 faculty at the Waltham campus, according to an announcement from the union representing the adjuncts.
“Negotiations like these are never easy, but both faculty and the administration remained committed to the process,” said Summar Sparks, a bargaining team leader and adjunct professor in expository writing, in the announcement. “After Friday’s marathon mediation session, I’m glad we were able to reach an agreement that we can bring back to our colleagues for a vote.”
The contract includes across-the-board increases in per-course pay, more consistency in who teaches courses semester to semester, and a formal process for adjuncts to address workplace conflicts and violations. It also gives adjuncts access to funding to support research, scholarship, civic engagement, and professional practice.
“We have been in good faith negotiations and mediation with the union and have reached an agreement, which will need to be ratified by the union,” the university said in a statement. “We are pleased to have this settled so we can all move forward.”
The agreement came just days before faculty planned to protest the university’s Center for Business Ethics’s 40th anniversary celebration Monday over what they described as Bentley’s “serious ethical deficiencies in the university’s treatment of its adjunct faculty.”
Bentley adjuncts voted in February 2015 to join the Service Employees International Union Local 509’s Faculty Forward Division, which includes Boston University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Brandeis University, and Lesley University. Adjuncts at BU, Tufts, Lesley, and Northeastern have all reached agreements in the past two years. According to the union, negotiations are underway among nontenured faculty at Brandeis.
“Thank you to all the students, alumni, community members, and faculty from other institutions who took the time to write letters and keep the campus community informed,” said Joan Atlas, a Bentley adjunct professor in English and media studies who represents her colleagues in the Bentley Faculty Senate, in the union announcement. “We know their support and activism made a big difference at the bargaining table.”