A djunct faculty members teaching at the state’s 15 community colleges engaged in an unexpected but ultimately successful
battle with employers en route to ratification of
a new contract that boosts pay and improves job
security and other working conditions.
After negotiators for the Massachusetts
Community College Council signed off on a tentative
agreement with the state Board of Higher Education
in January, the presidents of the community colleges
announced they would not honor the three-year pact
for contingent faculty members. The presidents, who
bargained on behalf of the BHE, claimed they had
miscalculated a negotiated payment for instructors
teaching lab courses.
The presidents’ attempt to withdraw from the
agreement prompted the MCCC to file a complaint
with the state Department of Labor Relations, arguing
that the presidents failed to bargain in good faith.
After members of the MCCC’s Division of
Continuing Education Unit voted 2,001 to 92
in favor of the negotiated agreement, the local’s
leadership pushed harder to ensure the contract’s
On April 25, several members of the MCCC
picketed at Quinsigamond Community College,
where the presidents of the community colleges were
greeted by placards reading “Honor Your Promise!”
By day’s end, the presidents agreed to let the
contract stand as negotiated.
“There was no way we were going to start
tinkering with a contract that our members so
overwhelmingly wanted,” said MCCC President Joe
LeBlanc. “I’m just glad that the presidents saw fit to
stick to the agreement and preserve the integrity of
The agreement calls for raises of 3. 5 percent
in the contract’s first two years, 4 percent in the
third year, and 4 percent for an outside year should
a successor contract not be settled. Those raises
apply to per-credit pay rates within a four-step scale.
Courses typically offer three credits each.
“This is the strongest contract I’ve seen in
years,” LeBlanc said.
About two-thirds of community college courses
in Massachusetts are taught by adjunct faculty.
LeBlanc said that the agreement will cover roughly
Linda Grochowalski, chair of the DCE
bargaining committee, said the negotiated pay hikes
are a “huge” step toward achieving income parity
between adjunct and full-time faculty.
“Management refused to talk about parity,
but we really pushed,” Grochowalski said. “We’re
not there yet, but we are moving toward that goal.
Nobody in higher ed is getting 4 percent these days,
so we feel we have a good start.”
The contract also includes many firsts for
adjunct instructors. It calls for systemwide salary
steps, meaning that instructors teaching at more
than one community college can petition schools
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MCCC members held a demonstration at
Quinsigamond Community College when
community college presidents met on the
campus on April 25. Later that day, the
presidents dropped objections they had voiced
concerning a contract agreement reached
with adjunct faculty members. Pictured at the
protest, from left to right, are MCCC members
Lisa Cook, Kathi Lewando, Anne Shull and
Susan McPherson. Standing with them is MTA
Director of Higher Education Joey Hansen.
Photo by Scott McLennan