OPTFA Cocktails and Conversation 1/15/16

2016ConvoJoin fellow adjuncts to socialize and strategize for the New Year!

Where: J. Gumbo’s 6901 Rockside Road, Independence Ohio

When Friday January 15 at 6:30 pm

‘Tis the Season . . . to File for Unemployment

Adjuncts facing several weeks without pay and/or no or reduced class assignments in the spring need to file for unemployment.  Check your eligibility and file at ODJFS https://jfs.ohio.gov/ouc/ClaimInformationPage.stm

When filing for unemployment, always remember to report that your term of employment at your Fall 2015 school has 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: https://jfs.ohio.gov/ouc/School_Employee_Handout.pdf  ( second page, bottom of left column).

If your claim is contested, appeal.  Refer to our Powerpoint on the process: http://optfa.com/powerpoint-from-unemployment-comp-workshops-now-available/

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


Class Cancellations: Lost Learning, Lost Earning

‘Tis the season of class cancellations:  that time when college students and adjunct profs discover that all of their preparations for the semester have been for naught, as “low enrollments” or the administrative need to fill full-time faculty schedules trumps both the right of students to enroll in the classes they need and the right of adjunct professors to earn wages for the work they have done and made time in their schedules to do.

As “contingent” or “at whim” workers, adjunct faculty are asked to commit to teaching classes and are expected to shrug their shoulders when the classes are cancelled, often at the last minute and in spite of all of the preparation they may have done (and not been paid for).  At Tri-C, adjunct faculty are often not notified of class cancellations until the very last minute. Are they compensated for the time they have put into preparing?  Not unless *all* of their classes are cancelled — and if that condition is met, they are paid all of $50.00 (Yes, that’s correct, fifty) for their time and trouble. And that’s generous; other colleges and universities in Ohio pay nothing.

Is this the way to treat professionals who already donate the extra time their students need them to spend on their teaching and mentoring because the college refuses to “invest in people” (in the words of the Tri-C Foundation’s motto) who serve as adjunct faculty? For many adjuncts, this cancellation policy is not only disrespectful, but it can have destructive ripple effects.  If an adjunct suddenly loses a course she was planning to teach, she is losing income she was depending on and that she invested significant time into earning. She may have refused other, more lucrative opportunities because she thought the commitment to the class was mutually felt by the college.  She may find herself suddenly unable to pay rent, a mortgage, or for childcare or healthcare. Is this “cura personalis” — what Jesuit institutions like John Carroll University promote as the ethic of “care for the whole person”?

Last-minute course cancellations, with their disrespect of adjuncts’ time and lost income, are only a small fraction of the indignity and injustice that adjunct faculty at Tri-C and other Ohio colleges and universities endure on a regular basis.  Consider too that the practice is self-defeating in a practical sense; it sours potential new faculty on teaching and on the college, promoting the college’s reputation as an undesirable employer and denying students access to good new instructors. Failure to pay adjunct faculty a fair course cancellation fee for the time they have put into preparing for a class that is canceled or taken away is unethical and undermines the college’s community-oriented mission.Share your stories of course cancellation in the comments below. How has losing a class affected you, or anyone else around you? Anonymous posts OK.

Support Tri-C Adjuncts at Tri-C Jazz Fest

Jazz Up Higher Ed with Adjunct Equity

Adjuncts who teach music and other arts are among the lowest paid in higher education — at Tri-C, even less than the $2700 national average, according to The Adjunct Project at the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Almost 80% of the faculty at Tri-C are part-time and currently have no access to collective bargaining through which to help Tri-C create contracts that support faculty and students more effectively.  Support adjunct efforts to improve their working conditions — students, faculty and the whole community will benefit!


To join our effort to improve adjunct working conditions at Tri-C, use the form below

Powerpoint from Unemployment Comp Workshops Now Available

For those who were unable to attend one of our workshops on applying for Unemployment Compensation, below is the Powerpoint presentation.

UC Workshop Ohio May 8 Akron.4.28.15pptx

Maria Maisto: Unionization of Instructors Is Crucial for Colleges


Learn how to collect unemployment over the summer! Workshop May 8 2 – 3:30 Akron

Navigating Unemployment Compensation:  Workshop for Adjunct Faculty in Ohio Friday May 8 from 2 – 3:30 PM Akron Summit County Public Library — Main Branch

UC Workshop Flyer Akron 5.8.15

OPTFA Meeting/Social May 9 4:00 pm

Facing the headwinds of exams and grading? Relax with fellow adjuncts at OPTFA’s meeting/social.

1170 Summit Ave, Lakewood Ohio at 4:00 pm


Stand for pay equity and respect April 15!


Navigating Unemployment Workshop March 21

North Shore Federation of Labor, 3250 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
UC Workshop Flyer Updates 2.5.15