Anxious about unpaid winter break/late January paycheck? Apply for unemployment NOW

Are you an adjunct faculty member staring at reduced class offerings for the spring term and, if you are lucky enough to get work in January, no paycheck til the end of January or even into February?

Don’t despair: apply for unemployment benefits as soon as you are finished working for the fall semester.  You are legally entitled to apply for benefits and because you are an adjunct *without* reasonable assurance of re-employment, you are entitled to benefits.

Thanks to the courage and persistence of your fellow adjunct faculty members who have stood up to their college employers’ efforts to challenge unemployment claims, more and more precedents have been established to support adjunct claims and reduce the chances that your application will be successfully challenged by your employer.


OPTFA and NFM are here to support you through the process and are leading the effort to regularize adjuncts’ access to unemployment benefits.

Here’s what to do:

  • Apply for unemployment online at ODJFS.
  • When filling out forms or responding to ODJFS representatives, answer “NO” to any question asking if you have “reasonable assurance” of re-employment, since you do not have reasonable assurance as defined by law.
  • Be sure to point out if your employer has suggested that you will have fewer classes in the spring term than you had in the fall, as this fact will help you receive some benefits if you end up teaching fewer (or no) classes in the spring.
  • Remember:  Employer letters asserting reasonable assurance CANNOT be used to prevent you from applying or to deny you unemployment benefits; ODJFS is required to investigate the facts and circumstances of your employment and cannot take the institution’s letter at face value.
  • Contact colleagues to encourage others to apply for benefits as well, and contact us if you have a group that would like advice and assistance.
  • For more detailed assistance on how to fill out forms and answer questions, contact us!

For more information and to report on your experience so that we can continue to collect data to support adjunct faculty rights, visit

Have you applied for Unemployment for the summer yet? Find out how!

 Navigating Unemployment Compensation:

A Workshop for Adjuncts and Other Contingent Faculty

Saturday, May 13, 2017

3:00-4:30 pm

Independence, Ohio


  • If you are have taught classes in the spring but have no assigned classes — or fewer classes — for the summer, you are likely eligible
  • If you have a 9-month appointment, you may still be eligible
  • How do I file?
  • What documents do I need to support my application?
  • What do I do if my claim is challenged?
  • How can I use the new Department of Labor guidance that clarifies adjunct eligibility for unemployment?
  • Stories from fellow adjuncts

WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2017 3pm – 4:30pm

WHERE:  Independence Public Library

6361 Selig Drive, Independence, OH  43212

RSVP:   Email


Sponsored By: New Faculty Majority and Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association

This workshop will help faculty in Ohio learn about contingent faculty eligibility for unemployment compensation. If you want to file for unemployment right after the workshop, we can help you! Bring a laptop, a copy of your employment document(s), access to your paystub, and supporting documents that indicate a lack of work for the summer.

Even if this does not apply to you now, please attend to become informed and to meet other faculty members working to improve the working conditions of contingent faculty in the area and across the state!

This workshop is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to provide legal advice.


Memorials for David Sat 4/1and Tues 4/4

Memorials for our friend David Wilder will take place on Saturday, April 1 at John Carroll University and Tuesday, April 4 at Cuyahoga Community College.

John Carroll University:

Cuyahoga Community College – 3 – 4:30 Tuesday, April 4 — Western Campus at WHCS A 138

David B. Wilder, Colleague and Friend 1955-2017

David Wilder OPTFA

We are devastated that David Wilder, OPTFA Co-Chair and our friend and colleague, was killed on Saturday, March 25, the victim of a drive-by shooting on the east side of Cleveland.

David, an art and art history adjunct professor who taught at Cuyahoga Community College, John Carroll University, and Cleveland State University and who was a talented artist, was a determined and energetic advocate for adjunct faculty and their students.  He was an early member and supporter of New Faculty Majority and a founding member of the Ohio Part-time Faculty Association, formed in 2013 to support adjunct faculty by helping them to organize to transform their working conditions.

As a leader of OPTFA, David strove to build a community of adjunct faculty in Ohio dedicated to ensuring dignified, professional working conditions to benefit faculty, students, and the community.  He organized or co-organized events including picnics, information sessions on unemployment benefits for adjuncts, and public demonstrations and petition drives including Adjunct Dignity Day 2015, the “Jazz Up Higher Ed with Adjunct Equity” petition drive at the Tri-C Jazz Fest, and forums like last year’s “Cultivating an Ethics of the Public Good” at John Carroll University. He helped found the Ohio Higher Education Coalition, a group of faculty, students, and community members dedicated to equity and justice in higher education in Ohio.

David was unafraid to speak up about the urgent need to end the disrespectful and detrimental employment practices that prevent adjuncts and their students from experiencing the true promise of education. He was passionate about the art and art history he practiced and taught, and deeply concerned about his students and colleagues. He had a gentle demeanor which did not ever diminish his fierce integrity or his playful and witty sense of humor.  He was an accomplished artist with an eye for quiet and unusual beauty and was ever conscious of the important role of art in advancing social justice.

David Professor's Office

We, his friends and colleagues, are devastated by his loss and resolute in our determination to continue our work in his honor, as we know he would want us to do.  We share the grief of his family and friends in this immeasurable loss.

Donations to help provide for David’s final arrangements can be made at

Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association Picnic Sat. June 4, 1:00 pm

2016OPTFAPicnic2Where: Brecksville Reservation, Brecksville, Ohio. Plateau Picnic Area.

Directions: From Rt 77 take Rt 82 East. Turn Right on Riverview Rd (sign reads road is closed, but is open to park entrance). Turn Right on Chippewa Creek Drive. Plateau picnic area is on the left just past the bridge over Chippewa Creek.


BYOB (but no alcohol permitted at Metroparks) and feel free to bring a side dish or dessert to share. OPFA will provide burgers and hot dogs to grill and other basics

Kent Unemployment Workshop Gets Big Turnout

Powerpoint available here: UC Workshop Kent May 23 2016

“Cultivating an Ethics of the Public Good in Higher Education”, a panel at John Carroll University.

There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues . . . but unemployment benefits help

Adjuncts facing a summer without pay because of no/reduced class assignments in the summer need to file for unemployment.  Check your eligibility and file at ODJFS

When filing for unemployment, always remember to report that your term of employment at your Spring 2016 school(s) has/have ended.  Your employment documents demonstrate that you do NOT have “reasonable assurance” of continuing employment there — quote any such language:

“The College reserves the right to cancel this contract and/or class(es) for any or no reason, including but not limited to, if enrollment is insufficient, or if the College determines it must assign the class(es) to a full-time faculty member, or for any other reason. This contract and employment is subject to all appropriate College approvals and policies. Contracts are offered by semester and/or academic year, based on the needs of the College. Acceptance of this contract does not guarantee that the College will offer you additional contracts in the future.
By acknowledging and submitting the assignment(s) associated with this contract, you are electronically accepting this contract in accordance with the conditions stated above.” [Tri-C]

Point out as well that an ODJFS document affirms that adjuncts do not have reasonable assurance:  ( second page, bottom of left column).

If your claim is contested, appeal.  Refer to our Powerpoint on the process:

And report your experience at the NFM Unemployment Compensation Initiative web site:

Gary Rhoades speaking on “Cultivating an Ethics of the Public Good in Higher Education” April 22, 2016 at John Carroll University and Cleveland State University.


Join Ohio Higher Education Coalition Feb 13

OHEC Coaliton Mtg 2016

OHEC Feb 13 2016