Working towards supporting contingent faculty

UFF is a member of the Florida Education Association (FEA), which represents 137,000 teachers in Florida. Additionally, we are members of two nation-wide unions, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), representing millions of teachers.

The National Education Association (NEA) recently launched a challenge to the US Department of Labor about the poor treatment of contingent faculty at public universities and the inability of many of these faculty to qualify for unemployment benefits. In a June 2015 letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, the NEA cited a recent report about contingent faculty by The Atlantic:

Key points

  1. Adjunct faculty earn a median of $2,700 for a semester-long class, according to a survey of thousands of part-time faculty members.
  2. In 2013, NPR reported that the average annual pay for adjuncts is between $20,000 and $25,000, while a March 2015 survey conducted by Pacific Standard among nearly 500 adjuncts found that a majority earn less than $20,000 per year from teaching. Some live on less than that and supplement their income with public assistance.
  3. A recent report from UC Berkeley found that nearly a quarter of all adjunct professors receive public assistance, such as Medicaid or food stamps. Indeed, many adjuncts earn less than the federal minimum wage.
  4. Unless adjuncts work 30 hours or more at one college, they’re not eligible for health insurance from that employer, and like other part-time employees, they do not qualify for other benefits.

Laura McKenna, “The Cost of an Adjunct,” The Atlantic (May 26, 2015), available at

NEA Statement on Contingent Faculty

“There is a recent societal trend toward the use of contingent employees. Higher education must not become comfortable with that trend and should resist its application on campus. Administrations are increasingly hiring professionals into marginalized positions — and decreasing the numbers of tenured and tenure track faculty — to the detriment of those so marginalized, the institution, and the profession.” Red more (link to

AAUP-AFT protest for negotiated part-time lecturer contracts

More info.

Caroline Fredrickson, “There is No Excuse for How Universities Treat Adjuncts,” The Atlantic (Sept 15, 2015), available at

Thanks to UCF-UFF for providing much of the text for this memo.

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