By DAN GUZEWICH Staff writer
Adjunct faculty and other part-time employees at Mohawk Valley Community College want to form a union to be their voice at the table on decisions that affect them, like pay.
A movement to gain bargaining recognition of nearly 400 adjunct faculty and most other part-time positions is being spearheaded through New York State United Teachers. There currently is no recognized group for these staff members.
The state Public Employee Relations Board has been asked to certify the group as the recognized bargaining agent. The school will file its response to the petition shortly, said County Attorney Gregory J. Amoroso. The state board became involved in the process after the college administration and board of trustees took no action on the request to accept the group as a bargaining unit.
An employee organization can become a bargaining agent either by voluntary recognition by the employer or by certification by PERB.
"It’s a very complex process," said Matthew Snyder, college spokesman. He said MVCC wants "to make sure the decisions that are made are the right ones going forward."
NYSUT did not return messages left seeking a comment.
In response to an enrollment surge in recent years, MVCC has boosted its part-time faculty numbers to teach specific skills or to augment full-time employees.
Coincidental to the organizing effort, MVCC is advertising for adjunct faculty.
The school currently adopts a salary schedule for part-timers. No health care coverage is offered, but there are some fringe benefits. Since 2009 the college has made its employee assistance program available to adjunct and part-time employees. Additionally, there are professional development opportunities.
MVCC in 2009 hired a full-time adjunct support coordinator whose responsibility it is to provide information and resources to adjuncts. More recently, the human resources office has dedicated one of its employees to working on part-time professional employee issues.