//unemploymentforadjuncts.com/campaign/templates/political/images/political1.jpg If you are a college teacher without a continuing contract, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation between academic terms. Check with your state agency to see if you qualify.
//unemploymentforadjuncts.com/campaign/templates/political/images/political2.jpg Applying for unemployment compensation in your state may be as simple as completing an automated telephone application or an online form. If you have a union, ask for guidance they may have that is tailored to your state. Consider joining with other eligible colleagues for a “filing party” to which you can invite an expert to answer questions as you file.
//unemploymentforadjuncts.com/campaign/templates/political/images/political3.jpg Be sure to follow all rules governing your claim, including demonstrating that you are applying for work. OR. . . .
//unemploymentforadjuncts.com/campaign/templates/political/images/political4.jpg Many states may initially determine that you are eligible and then deny your claim, after contacting the institution. If you are denied, check carefully to ascertain the reason. Don’t be surprised if the college claims you have “reasonable assurance of re-employment.” You can contest it.
//unemploymentforadjuncts.com/campaign/templates/political/images/political5.jpg Help us to gather statistics on rates of approval and denial by telling us about your experience. Whether you are granted or denied unemployment compensation, your information will provide us with data that we can use to ensure that the legal rights of adjunct and contingent faculty are protected.
//unemploymentforadjuncts.com/campaign/templates/political/images/political6.jpg Whether you collect, are denied, or are ineligible, let your state agency and legislators know that the “reasonable assurance of re-employment” clause in federal unemployment law should not ever be applied to faculty who are denied continuing contracts!
In 2012, New Faculty Majority originated a project to request clarification of the Employment and Training Administration's guidance to state employment security agencies on "reasonable assurance of employment" for contingent employees in higher education. After discovering and doing research on the 1986 UIPL, consulting with the National Employment Law Project, and analyzing the data we had collected as part of our national initiative on unemployment compensation for contingent faculty, we informed national contingent faculty leaders of the advisability of requesting an update to the guidance letter.
In 2012, Judy Olson, a founding board member of NFM who has long chaired the Contingent Faculty Caucus within the NEA, wrote the original draft of the proposed revisions to UIPL 04-87 that forms the basis of the letter you received June 24th. Judy and other contingent faculty leaders in national unions and other organizations, in turn, secured the commitment of their organizations and unions to make the proposal and to encourage additional unions and organizations to join the coalition we convened to work on this project.
Along with colleagues from SEIU, NFM's president Maria Maisto met with then-Undersecretary Jane Oates in 2012 to discuss the proposal, which was, overall, favorably received. DOL officials indicated that it would be important to see union consensus on this issue, which the unions readily demonstrated. However, with personnel changes imminent in the Department, the effort stalled until Oates's replacement, Portia Wu, was named.
In 2014 the coalition regrouped to make a second request for a UIPL to DOL, this time to Undersecretary Wu. In October 2014 representatives of the coalition, including NFM's Maisto, met with Undersecretary Wu and her staff. Data from NFM's Unemployment Compensation Initiative were a critical piece of the evidence presented to the Secretary of the need to guarantee contingent faculty access to unemployment as long as they do not have authentic continuing contracts.
Resistance to the issuance of the UIPL seems to be grounded in a misunderstanding of the legality of (or perhaps outright opposition to) the probable effects of such guidance. In December 2014 the coalition sent a follow-up letter refuting the arguments made in opposition to the suggestion of a new UIPL and asking for further clarification of any objections to it.
“Surviving an Unemployment Hearing”
By Jessica Burke, Adjunct Lecturer, Dept of English, The College of Staten Island.
Claiming unemployment between semesters takes gumption and guts. So if you don’t want a hassle or don’t feel up to challenging the system, I’d say don’t do it. But, for everyone else, here’s my story.
by Steve Street
My school's fall appointment letters, issued the preceding spring, read "This offer is ... conditioned upon a sufficient number of students enrolling in the course...," making the contract clearly speculative, to an adjunct's life and mind. And in the summer of 2009, the first time I'd thought to apply for UI payments after 15 years of working on such contracts, the Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Division seemed to agree.
Good. Keep it simple.
When we got in the judge's room I could see why: overworked like the rest of us, he seemed to be reading many of my documents closely for the first time, including the letter in which I requested a hearing, which detailed my claim from the start. My file had been compiled by several people in several branches of the Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Division, each of them apparently glancing through and adding this or that memo that seemed to shore up the denial of my claim.
NFM is proud to launch this national campaign to help eligible adjunct and contingent college and university faculty obtain unemployment compensation in between academic terms. In addition to providing pratical assistance to faculty members who are eligible for this benefit, the campaign is part of our broader strategy to reform postsecondary academic employment through education, advocacy, legislation and litigation. By supporting contingent faculty as they apply and collecting statistics on patterns of activity around unemployment claims, we expect to be able to lobby more effectively to change the problematic "reasonable assurance of re-employment" clause in federal unemployment law-the clause that has been invoked (and contested) when denials have occurred.
We are pleased to have the support of the three major faculty unions on this effort and look forward to working with them on it. As the only national organization dedicated exclusively to advocating for adjunct and contingent faculty, NFM is eager to build on the groundbreaking efforts of activists like Joe Berry, Beverly Stewart, Helena Worthen, Frank Brooks, Jonathan Karpf and the countless others within and outside of unions who have worked to secure this basic right for adjunct and contingent faculty.
When the NFM Board voted to take this on as its first major national initiative, we outlined the following as the rationale:
1. This campaign is an effort to help our most vulnerable constituents to gain access to resources that they need and to which they are entitled. Many adjunct faculty members do not know that they can apply for UI in between terms, or are discouraged from filing. This initiative is meant to provide contingent faculty with support and solidarity as they claim this basic right. In other words, we will not be advocating for a brand new right but rather a right that already exists; even though it is inconsistently applied, there is legal precedent for it. Unemployment insurance is sometimes denied to part-time faculty but can be awarded to individuals who prevail in their appeals of denial. It is regularly awarded in California, where the Cervisi decision was decided by the CA Court of Appeals in 1989.
2. Unemployment insurance is an issue that is timely and will be a good way to introduce the subject of contingent faculty rights to a broader audience, which is one of our primary goals. We hope this initiative will show our good faith, since we cannot be faulted for working to make institutions comply with existing law or for working to clarify and update a very vague and problematic legal standard. We want to expose problematic or illegal practices; the denials that sometimes occur outside of California, for example, are often deliberately pursued by colleges and universities who hire firms for the purpose of contesting UI applications. Institutions obviously stand to gain from not having to pay out hundreds of claims. (The New York Times recently reported on such firms.)
However, institutions that obstruct claims are trying to have it both ways: they want all of the "benefits" of contingent employment without the responsibilities. Explaining the reasoning and methods involved in the decisions of colleges and universities to fight unemployment insurance for contingent faculty will begin to expose the fundamental problems and contradictions inherent in institutional policies of contingent faculty employment. In short, the disingenuousness of higher ed on this issue is evident in the fact that many institutions have it specifically written into their rules that contingent faculty DON'T have reasonable assurance of continued employment, while at the same time obstructing claims by asserting that they DO have reasonable assurance. We believe that a concerted national effort at both the state and federal levels will lead to the clarification or elimination of the phrase and affirm this right more clearly.
3. A vast increase in UI applications is a no-cost first step toward job security and economic justice. Engagement with institutions in the light of day can only help our cause.
4. A national campaign will help facilitate efforts to address the issue at both the state and federal levels and help lay the foundation for future efforts on equally important issues. The phrase "reasonable assurance of re-employment" is an outdated standard found in federal unemployment law that was intended to prevent teachers with continuing contracts, which contingent faculty generally do not have, from "double dipping" during their breaks.
Remember: NFM’s larger goal is to improve higher education by establishing regular terms of employment and a living wage for all faculty. Whenare well managed, they will hire the majority of faculty on a regular basis. We offer this choice: employ us on annual contracts, not conditionally and per semester, or pay us when we are separated from work. When enough of us have stood up and taken the initiative to claim UI, it will be clear that the principled choice is also the practical one – equitable employment in
The information on this website is not intended to serve as legal advice. Any information on this website or otherwise promulgated by NFM's directors, members, advisors, or contributors should not be relied upon as legal advice and, despite our best efforts, cannot be warrantied as current or accurate. Please seek legal counsel from the provider of your choice.