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Campus Advisories

Unionization In The Classroom: GW's Response To Organizing Part-Time Faculty

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (printer-friendly version)

Updated January 2008

Q. When does the contract (collective bargaining agreement) take effect?

A. The term of the contract is Jan. 1, 2008, through June 30, 2010.

Q. What is an agency fee and who has to pay?

A. An agency fee is paid by those part-time faculty covered by the union contract but who choose not to become a member of the union. The decision not to join is up to the individual. The agency fee, in lieu of union dues, helps the union cover the costs of administering the agreement. Some part-time faculty members may be exempt from these payments under the terms of Article III of the contract. Part-time faculty members who have emeritus status at the University or who teach a course of 6 weeks or less in duration, as well as those who are not paid directly by the University but through a contract between the University and the faculty member’s primary employer, are not required to pay union fees. Certain categories of primary employment also exempt part-time faculty from these fees, including employees of the World Bank or IMF, members of the judiciary, those who hold diplomatic or ambassadorial status, and federal government employees who are Presidential appointees or non-career Senior Executive Service officials. The part-time faculty who teach in Virginia are not required to pay either union dues or an agency fee as the Commonwealth of Virginia is a “right to work” state. Please refer to Article III of the collective bargaining agreement for more information on this topic.

Q. How are union dues and the agency fee determined? Who collects the payments?

A. SEIU Local 500 determines the dues and fees and has responsibility for collecting payments. Part-time faculty may elect to have the payment deducted from their paychecks (called a “check-off provision”), in which case, the university will remit payment to the union.

Q. Are the part-time faculty in Virginia and other states covered by this contract?

A. Part-time faculty in Northern Virginia and at the Virginia Campus are covered by the contract. Those who work further than 30 miles from the Foggy Bottom Campus are not covered by the contract.

Q. I am a part-time faculty member covered under the terms of the contract and have been appointed for the spring 2008 semester. When will my paycheck include the additional amounts of pay I am expecting under the contract?

A. While the University is making every effort to implement the pay increases quickly, your paychecks may not immediately reflect the increases. The University will issue supplemental checks as needed to reflect the January 1, 2008, effective date of the increase.

Q. How does the contract address health care benefits for per-course faculty?

A. Both parties have committed to a joint study of health benefits for part-time faculty paid by the course. A committee is expected to begin review by March.

Q. If the negotiations were amicable and the university was able to reach agreement with the union on most issues, why did GW oppose unionization in the courts?

A. The mail ballot election held in October 2004 yielded only a 10-vote margin. The university wanted to ensure that all affected faculty members had a full and fair opportunity to cast ballots in the election and it therefore pursued judicial review in good faith. After the November 2006 decision by the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, the university concluded that our community, including our faculty, staff, and most importantly, our students, would not be well-served by further appeals. The university began negotiations with SEIU Local 500 during the spring 2007 semester.

[Read Archived Frequently Asked Questions]



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