PSC position on training for online teaching

Updated: June 19, 2020
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To: All full-time faculty and teaching adjuncts
From: Renee Lasher (rlasher@pscmail.org)

We wanted you to be aware of the actions we are taking regarding the online teaching training that is being offered during annual leave. This impacts all of our teaching faculty, and we are fighting to protect your rights on two fronts, by making demands directly to CUNY leadership and filing grievances at the college level for violations of multiple provisions of the contract.

First, there has been no recognition of the extraordinary back-breaking effort required of every faculty member who had to move classes from in-person to online this Spring; there has been no workload credit nor compensation offered for the dozens if not hundreds of hours poured into that effort, including trainings that many faculty started taking beginning at the end of March to assist with that process so that they could provide the greatest possible support and experience for their students.

Second, full time faculty may not be required to take on assignments during annual leave; any such assignment must be voluntary and additionally compensated. Calling these trainings voluntary while simultaneously making them required for teaching assignment in the Fall is a distinction without a difference. We are demanding that CUNY make these trainings available after the start of the fall semester and not restrict assignment based on taking the training during annual leave.

Third, adjunct faculty who are likewise being told such training is voluntary are even more compelled to treat it as required given the vulnerable nature of their positions. Adjuncts, by virtue of their contingency, rarely feel they have the ability to say no.

And finally, all faculty taking these trainings must be appropriately compensated. We used an average adjunct teaching rate and an estimate of 15 hours of training to formulate our demand of $1500 under the new stipend provision for full time faculty and the appropriate teaching rate for adjuncts who, depending on schedule and step, may receive more than $1500 and may receive less, but the aim of our demand was that there be largely equivalent compensation for all faculty.

Here is the cease-and-desist letter that PSC sent to CUNY. PSC is also grieving the violation of annual leave and the failure to compensate faculty in accordance with contractual rates.

Sincerely,

Renee Lasher
PSC Director of Contract Administration