After pressure from academic unions and labor organizations, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued a long-awaited letter outlining when states should determine adjunct faculty as eligible for unemployment compensation.
The letter spells out the criteria state agencies should use when making unemployment compensation determinations for adjuncts, and specifies requirements for employment offers and definitions of whether “reasonable assurance” or availability of a job were made to an adjunct.
Jon Bloom at the Workers Defense League, a workers’ rights organization specializing in unemployment insurance, said the DOL letter is a “positive development,” but added that it is unlikely to change the practice in New York state.
“The guidelines that it gives are familiar and are all consistent with what we’ve seen in actual hearings here,” Bloom said, who noted the new guidance could provide relief for adjuncts applying for unemployment in other states.
PSC WELCOMES CLARITY
For Susan DiRaimo, the PSC vice president of part-time personnel, the guidance is a welcome step for adjuncts who do not receive pay when not teaching in the summer or between semesters, because any clarity is an improvement. “We argue that adjuncts are comparable to actors and other workers who receive unemployment insurance when they are not working,” DiRaimo told Clarion.
Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, an adjunct advocacy group that fought for the change, told the Chronicle of Higher Education, that she does not expect the directive to be overturned by a labor department under President Donald Trump.