Library Faculty Rights & Benefits
Faculty in Library Departments at CUNY are non-teaching members of the instructional staff. Our faculty rank and status are exactly the same as faculty in other departments. The nature of our work is different in many ways from other faculty, and can be summarized broadly as “librarianship.” We also work a 35 hour week for 12 months per year. We have the same expectations for scholarship and creative works as other faculty (see examples of our scholarship in Academic Works and see also the CUNY Council of Chief Librarians Statement on Library Faculty Scholarship and Academic Freedom). We go through the same tenure and promotion procedures and participate in the shared governance of the university. There are HEOs and CLTs in many CUNY library departments and at OLS who are also members of the instructional staff, and their rights under the contract are different from faculty.
The Committee for Library Faculty, a standing committee of the PSC Delegate Assembly, is responsible for the consideration of concerns related to Library Faculty employed at all units of CUNY. Our working conditions are governed by the language of the contract (see also rights under the contract). The document below offers summaries of the rights and responsibilities of Faculty in CUNY libraries. Please consult the contract itself for the most official language (NB the contract language is not always consistent but often library faculty are referred to as instructional staff employed as Librarians).
TABLE of CONTENTS
Library Faculty are 12-month employees. You have a 35 hour work week (Article 15.4.b). This time includes teaching, class preparation, library staffing and service hours.
You may be scheduled to work during the day, evening, summer, and special program shifts within the 35 hour work week, but on any given day you shall not be assigned a split schedule (Article 15.4.c and d). Nor can you choose to regularly work a split shift or spread your work hours over more than 5 consecutive days. This provision of the contract is designed to prevent those working a 35 hour week from unreasonable scheduling.
If, in order to complete your duties, you are assigned and approved to work more than 35 hours in a week, you must be paid at the hourly Non-Teaching Adjunct rate for the hours worked in the workweek beyond 35. Compensatory time in lieu of compensation for such overtime is a not an option under the contract (Article 24.7.b).
Effective 2016-2017 Library Faculty earn and may use eight weeks (40 work days) of annual leave (Article 14.3.b and the 2010-2017 MOA). Your accrual and use of annual leave is different from other full-time faculty who have an annual leave period during the summer. The 40 days of annual leave are accrued at a rate of 3.34 days per month. The annual leave year runs from September 1 to August 31. You may roll over a maximum of 45 annual leave days each year. Your eight weeks of annual leave is personal time, for vacation, scholarship, and personal development. There should be no expectation about using this time for professional purposes. You are also entitled to regular holidays with pay (14.7). Current holiday calendars can be found on the Human Resources webpage of your college or at CUNY HR.
In the CUNY Libraries, attending professional meetings, trainings, workshops, and conferences is generally considered part of your job. There are several kinds of “professional” activities for which you may be away from the Library on professional leave, including:
You should not be charged annual leave for engaging in such activities, though you may need permission from your chair or supervisor.
Library Faculty have the same expectations for scholarship and creative works as all CUNY faculty -- see examples of our scholarship in Academic Works and see also the CUNY Council of Chief Librarians Statement on Library Faculty Scholarship and Academic Freedom. The contract has provisions for a variety of leave time to engage in scholarship and creative works.
As new untenured faculty, you have 24 contact hours (1050 clock hours or 150 work days) of reassigned time to be used during your first five years of employment. No application is necessary; however, it should be scheduled in consultation with your department chair or supervisor. New faculty reassigned time is to advance your scholarship and meet requirements for reappointment and tenure. This reassigned time may not be waived (Article 15.2.e-f).
Library Faculty, tenured and untenured, may also apply for Professional Reassignment Leave of up to 5 weeks in one academic year. This leave is specifically for Library Faculty to engage in research and writing projects that will enhance their contribution to CUNY and must be approved by the departmental personnel and budget committee (Article 25.4).
Tenured Library Faculty and Lecturers with Certificates of Continuous Employment are eligible to apply for Fellowship Awards (Article 25.3) after six years of continuous service. This time may be used for research, improvement of teaching, or creative work in literature or the arts. You may apply for one of three types of fellowship leave: (1) a full year at 80% of the biweekly salary rate, (2) a one-half year leave at 80% of the biweekly salary rate, or (3) a one-half year leave at full pay. For Library Faculty who take a one-half year fellowship leave, the dates are either August 1-January 31 or February 1-July 31. Annual and sick leave accrues during the period of fellowship leave.
In the contract, temporary disability leave is what we casually refer to as sick leave, and is earned only after a full calendar month of service (16.3.d). Sick leave accrues at a rate of 1.67 days per month for a total of twenty (20) calendar days of sick leave per year. You can accumulate up to a maximum of one hundred and sixty (160) calendar days.
You can use up to three days of accrued temporary disability leave annually for the care of an ill family member. (16.2.b) See also FMLA below.
Immediately prior to retirement, you may take “Travia” retirement leave which is half of your accumulated unused temporary disability (sick) leave “up to a maximum of one semester, or the equivalent number of school days” (Article 16.4). Travia leave may begin at any time, i.e. Library Faculty are not constrained by an academic semester.
Evaluations are based on total academic performance, including librarianship, scholarship, and professional service.
At least once per year, there must be an annual evaluation conference held and memorialized by your department chair or supervisor. The evaluation should provide you with guidance as to your performance and where you may need improvement in order to achieve reappointment and tenure. The chair or supervisor must write an evaluation memo for you to read subsequent to and reflecting the discussion at your meeting. You can add a written response for your file (Article 18.1 and 18.3.b.3). This written record is very important for untenured faculty, and you should review your personnel file at least once a year. If your evaluation conference is not scheduled by March 1, you have 10 business days to request one be scheduled.
If you are teaching a credit-bearing course, you are entitled to be observed in the classroom at least once each semester by your department chair or a member of the observation panel assigned by the chair. You must be given at least 24 hours notice. This is followed by a post-observation conference and you should be provided with a copy of the post-observation conference report. You can add a written response for your file.
If you are not teaching a credit-bearing course, there is no observation. However, you may wish to document your teaching for your personal personnel file in other ways: through instruction related commendations, instructional materials, self-evaluations or documentation of professional development in the area. Given the variety of faculty roles within the CUNY Libraries, teaching may be more or less a part of your job.
You have two personnel files, an administrative file and a personal file. The administrative file is only accessible to the committees and individuals responsible for making decisions on appointment, reappointment, tenure and promotion. The personal file is accessible by you and contains personnel information, copies of your annual evaluations and any responses, records generated by the college such as personnel action forms and memoranda of discussions concerning your professional performance and any other documents you submit such as awards etc. You have the right to inspect your personal file and we urge each non-tenured and non-certificated full-time faculty to examine your personnel file once each academic year to ensure that it contains all relevant material and that no material has been placed in the file without your prior knowledge. Under the contract, the college must provide you with an opportunity to see any documents before they are placed in your file and requires that you initial the document before it is placed in the file.
In your first year of service if your initial appointment date is September 1 you must receive notice on or before April 1. If in your first year of service your initial appointment date is February 1 you must receive notice on or before May 1. In your second or subsequent year of service you must receive notice on or before December 1 (Article 10.1).
If you receive a notice of non-reappointment, acting quickly is very important. Immediately contact your PSC college chapter grievance counselor to file a grievance while you simultaneously initiate the academic appeals process. There are strict time limits on filing both academic appeals (varies from campus to campus) and grievances (30 work days), which is why you must begin the process as soon after you receive notice of non-reappointment as possible. At the completion of the appeals process, if your appeal to the President is denied, you are entitled to request from the President the reasons for the denial of your appeal (Article 9). Once you have received presidential reasons, your grievance counselor will review the president’s reasons and make an assessment as to the merits of a grievance challenging your non-reappointment through the contractual grievance and arbitration process (Article 20).
See the CUNY Bylaws and CUNY’s Manual of General Policy for information about procedures for tenure and promotion. Your campus should have their reappointment, promotion and tenure procedures published online.
Library Faculty employed under the Lecturer title do not have research expectation and do not receive reassigned time and are not eligible for tenure as applies to Professoriate titles. Lecturers are eligible for a Certificate of Continuous Employment upon their 6th full-time appointment immediately preceded by five (5) years of continuous full-time service as Lecturer.
Article 20 of the contract has detailed information about procedures related to grievances, as does the PSC-CUNY webpage on the grievance process. Acting quickly is of utmost importance because grievances must be filed within 30 work days. In case of doubt reach out to your campus grievance officer or PSC-CUNY staff. Note that academic appeals (non-reappointment, etc.) are covered under Article 9.
It sometimes happens that you may be asked to meet with a supervisor or college official about a concern, issue or complaint. You are always entitled to know the purpose of any meetings you are asked to attend. Employees are entitled to have a union representative present during any interview which may result in his or her discipline. It is up to you to insist on union representation. The law does not require the employer to inform you of these rights. A potentially negative evaluation is not subject to Weingarten Rights.
From the PSC Website: If you are called into a disciplinary meeting, or a meeting you think might result in disciplinary action, you have the right to union representation. You may read your supervisor your Weingarten Rights: “If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative or steward be present at this meeting. If this discussion could lead to my being disciplined and you deny my request for representation, I choose not to answer any questions.”
You have the right to seek a safe and healthful workplace without fear of retaliation from your employer. This includes complaining to your employer, your union, or the appropriate government agency. The health and safety rights of CUNY employees and other public sector workers are protected by the Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau (PESH).
Non-teaching adjuncts may be excused for personal illness or personal emergencies including religious observance, death in the immediate family or similar personal needs which cannot be postponed, for a period of 1/15 of the total number of clock hours in the particular session or semester. Request for such leave, where possible, must be made in advance, in writing. If it is not possible to make such a request in advance, the department chairperson or
supervisor should be informed as soon as possible. The reason provided must be satisfactory to the chairperson or supervisor.
After 6 semesters (including summer semesters) within 3 years, adjunct faculty who have not moved in the salary schedule will be moved up one step. Substitute service immediately preceded by and immediately in that period followed by adjunct service is counted as continuous adjunct service for determining movement within the salary schedule.
Non-teaching adjuncts become eligible for health insurance after working at least 15 hours per week (CUNY-wide) for two consecutive semesters. Substitute service immediately preceded by and immediately followed by adjunct service counts as continuous adjunct service for the purpose of determining eligibility for health insurance benefits.
New non-teaching adjuncts shall be allowed to meet with union representatives (possibly as part of a university orientation) on work time within 30 days of hire, per Chapter 59 of New York State Laws of 2018.
The PSC-CUNY Library Faculty Committee is a great resource if you have any questions about your rights as a Library Faculty member. You can find current contact information for all the PSC CUNY Committees page.
Your Campus Chapter Chair is also an important resource and point of contact. You should contact your Chapter Chair if you have any general campus issues, questions related to local governance or process, or any concerns that have campus-wide implication. It is important that your Chapter Chair know of any issues affecting you or your colleagues in the Library as they communicate those issues directly to the PSC Leadership and Contract Enforcement. You should also attend your regular Chapter meetings in order to stay informed.
Your Grievance Counselor is a fellow faculty member who has had training in contract enforcement and the grievance process. You should contact your Grievance Counselor if you have questions about your rights under the contract, encounter any employment issues or actions taken against you that might have negative employment implications, or if you are asked to meet with any supervisor or official for purposes that are not made known to you.
It is extremely important that you contact your campus Grievance Counselor or someone in the PSC Contract Enforcement office if you feel that your rights have been violated or if you feel something has occurred that may be a contractual violation. You only have a limited of window of time in which to seek redress for a contractual violation so prompt action is needed.
Contact your Chapter Grievance Counselor or Chapter Chair. You can also contact the PSC office at 212-354-1252.
There are lots of ways to be involved! Two ways to get started include attending your local campus chapter meetings and exploring current union activity on the PSC website.
Prepared by the PSC-CUNY Library Faculty Committee, Fall 2018.