Fordham’s Faculty Union Holds Rally in Front of Inauguration


FFU and Fordham administration reached a tentative agreement, the proposal is currently awaiting ratification from union members. (Courtesy of Amanda Yarolin/The Fordham Ram)

Isabel Danzis, News Editor

On Oct. 14, members and supporters of Fordham’s Faculty Union (FFU) congregated outside of Edward’s Parade directly before the inauguration of President Tania Tetlow. They met to advocate for better working conditions for the faculty members at the university

The group walked to Edward’s Parade doing a call and response chant that highlighted the need for adjunct healthcare. When the chant leader called out, “what do we want?” the group would respond “healthcare” and the leader called back “when do we want it?” and the group responded “now.” They repeated the chant until they reached the front of Dealy Hall, facing Edward’s Parade.

Other university staff and faculty members were clustered in between Dealy Hall and Hughes Hall preparing  to process down Edward’s Parade for the inauguration.

FFU was formed in 2017 but has been in the process of renewing its contract with the university since March of this year. During negotiations, the union has focused on raising wages and health care benefits for adjunct faculty and making pay equal among all of Fordham’s schools.

“We’ve been trying to negotiate, in good faith, a new contract with the university for all the adjuncts, which includes equal pay for adjuncts and contingent faculty at Graduate School or Social Service and School of Religious Education, who get paid less than the other adjuncts,” said Gregory Jost, an adjunct faculty member in the sociology department. “So, we really want to bring everyone up to the same salary parity and we want the university to negotiate in good faith a new contract for us. [The contract would] acknowledge how much costs have gone up and I understand that it’s not easy to balance budgets but adjuncts make the university work.”

FFU hosted the rally on the day of the inauguration to increase the union’s visibility among Fordham community members.
Justin Pool and William Gault, two faculty members in the biology department, said they came out to the rally to show support for the union and its efforts. Pool said that the timing of the rally right before the presidential inauguration was intentional.

“You got everyone here who is in charge… [we are] making people aware that we are working without a contract right now, and trying to get through that,” said Pool.

Jost said he agreed with Pool. He said that if the union wants to get the provisions they are demanding, people have to be aware.

“We did it before just to get a little attention, because here’s the thing, the only way we’re able to negotiate a contract is to put a little bit of pressure. So we want to get some publicity and make sure that it’s not just the administration [that knows], it’s the families and people connected to the university see,” said Jost.

Gault said that it was also important to educate students on the issue. He said that many students and Fordham community members are unaware of the union.

“The point of doing something like this in the middle of everybody, is to kind of make people aware. But I don’t think prior to today, like during the bargaining phases, I don’t think it was known,” said Gault.
Pool agreed with Gault. He said that many students or people outside of academia do not really understand the different types of professors.

“I don’t think most people understand the difference between tenured, tenured-track, full-time and then adjuncts,” he said.
Jost said that he believes that there is a lack of awareness among students about how many of their classes are taught by adjunct faculty members.

“A lot of students don’t even necessarily understand how many courses are taught by adjunct faculty, and we deserve a contract that acknowledges that we’re paying for health care out of pocket, we’re paying for basically everything out of pocket,” said Jost.

Typically, both adjunct and tenured professors are required to have the same education level. Adjuncts, however, work on a contractual basis and generally make much less than tenured professors. Tenured professors are employed full-time by the university and their positions are oftentimes considered “permanent,” provided that the professor continues to act in accordance with university values. Tenured professors hold titles like “assistant professor,” “associate professor” or “full time professor.”

The Fordham Ram spoke to a group of students talking to union members. They all said they did not know about the union or the negotiation process before the rally.

Jost also added that while he attended the rally to spread awareness about FFU, he also was excited to see Tetlow’s inauguration.

“I’m here also to celebrate the inauguration of our new president, who I am very excited about. I’m a Fordham alum — I graduated here twice, what I call a double Ram,” said Jost.