Facts About Our Collective Bargaining Agreement

A collective bargaining agreement is a legally binding contract between an employer and employees represented by a union that defines conditions of employment, such as wages, titles, working conditions, and benefits. Our members voted unanimously to ratify our collective bargaining agreement in July 2017. The contract runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020. We are proud of our contract, and of the extent to which members regularly attended and participated in negotiations. When negotiating our contract, we sought to limit unnecessary job insecurity and poverty wages in academia, protect academic freedom, and improve our students’ learning environment. Some of the key victories for unionized faculty and their students are summarized below. We look forward to building on these achievements in our next bargaining session. Stay tuned for updates as to how members can be involved in negotiating our next agreement.

If you have a Duke login, you can view our contract here.

Key Victories
Learn How We Are Moving Past Unnecessary Contingency

  • We fought for greater job security so that professors can focus on teaching their students as opposed to constantly searching for their next gig.
  • Under the contract, the University can hire Instructors to teach courses on a semester or 1-year basis to fill in for professors who are temporarily unavailable. After 4 years of consecutive service, however, they must be offered a 3-year appointment and may be reclassified as Lecturing Fellows.
  • The University may also hire Instructors who do not teach courses but engage in instructional activities such as leading labs and discussion groups. After 3 consecutive, one-year appointments, instructors are entitled to a 2-year appointment, then 3-year appointments thereafter.
  • Lecturing Fellows teach and design courses drawing on their disciplinary or pedagogical expertise.
    • Full-time Lecturing Fellows will receive initial appointments of 3 years. If reappointed, it will be for either 2 or 3 years. Contingent on good performance reviews, all subsequent reappointments will be for 3 years.
    • Part-time Lecturing Fellows may receive one-year or one-semester appointments during their first three years of service. If reappointed, it will be for 2 years. Contingent on good performance reviews, all subsequent reappointments will be for 3 years.
  • Reappointment is presumed for unionized faculty who have multi-year appointments absent one of four disqualifying events: poor performance, replacement by regular rank faculty, a serious financial change that threatens the viability of the program, department, or college, or elimination or downsizing of a program/curriculum modifications.
Learn about Access to Computers, Teaching Supplies and Professional Development
  • Computers are an essential resource for college teachers in the twenty-first century. We need computers to submit grades, maintain course websites, communicate with students, and develop visuals to accompany lectures. Under the contract, unionized faculty appointed for 1 or more years shall be provided with computers and computer services on the same basis as other faculty. They will be able to choose between a desktop or a laptop and between a Mac or PC.
  • Prior to the contract, faculty often paid for teaching supplies out of pocket. Unionized faculty will now be reimbursed for materials, supplies, computer software, books, music scores, and other supplies needed to teach courses.
  • Effective teachers often seek opportunities—such as workshops on pedagogy or professional conferences— to continually hone their craft and learn about new developments in their fields. There is now a $50,000 fund for unionized faculty for purposes related to “teaching, scholarship, artistic or professional practice at Duke University.” Individual faculty can apply for up to $1000.
Learn about Evaluation

  • In most cases, there was no formal process for evaluating the performance of non-regular rank faculty prior to the contract. We requested regular performance reviews to make the reappointment process more transparent. Like other Duke faculty, we are seriously committed to teaching excellence.
  • Under the contract, unionized faculty should be evaluated each year in the first 3 years of appointment and then in the penultimate year of subsequent appointments. Evaluations include classroom observation, a self-assessment, a departmental review of student evaluations, recent syllabi and a current CV.
Learn About Increased Compensation and Wages

  • Prior to the contract, some of our members were receiving poverty wages. We are proud that our contract has made significant steps toward providing fair compensation to all Duke faculty.
  • Under the contract, everybody in the bargaining unit received a raise. The least paid faculty won 46 % raises. Salaried faculty achieved an average pay increase of 12%.

Learn About Inclusion in the Life of the University
  • We believe that both instructors and their students benefit when faculty are included in the life of the university and provided with timely information about academic policies and programs.
  • Prior to the contract, unionized faculty did not receive any formal orientation. Going forward, unionized faculty will receive an orientation that covers, among other things, student affairs programs, instructional technology services, and campus safety. Departments will also provide program specific orientations.
  • Unionized faculty shall be included on department, program, and university listservs.
  • With the approval of their department, unionized faculty may serve on undergraduate and master’s theses committees., teach independent studies and act as departmental advisors.

Our union is still relatively new, and university staff and administrators are still learning about how to implement our contract. Do not assume that appointment letters or department policies conform to the contract without talking to us. If you have a question or concern, contact us as soon as possible.