Part-time professors at Tufts University in Medford have signed off on a new contract with the school, giving them a significant pay raise as well as stronger job security.
The three-year deal finalized Friday will give such employees a 22 percent pay raise, as well as offer teachers teaching three courses a year to be eligible for health, retirement, tuition reimbursement and other employee benefits, according to union officials.
Last year, Tufts University adjuncts became the first in the Boston area to unionize.
Under the new deal, adjunct professors will also be guaranteed an interview for available full-time positions, an enhanced performance evaluation process and a $25,000-a-year fund devoted to professional development.
More than 95 percent of Tufts' 200 adjunct teachers approved the new deal, which will go in effect on Jan. 1.
"It really is a demonstration of what we can achieve, what can be done to provide the kinds of benefits, job security, compensation, as well as what we think a person in a professional field should be able to expect," said Andy Klatt, who has lead the unionization charge as a part-time Spanish and translation teacher of 18 years at Tufts.
By September 2016, the final year of the contract, all Tufts part-time faculty will make at least $7,300 per course, and those with more than eight years of service will earn at least $8,760 per course, officials said.
Previously, faculty were paid as low as $5,115 per course, and even senior professors were paid as low as $6,138 per course.
Professors will now also be compensated for work outside the classroom such as advising, mentoring and independent studies. And, if the university cancels a course taught by a faculty member who is on a three-year appointment, the professor will still be fully compensated, while professors with shorter appointments will receive $750.
Tufts spokeswoman Kimberly Thurler said by email that "negotiations were focused on ensuring that our part time faculty recognize that we respect the work they do for Tufts and their contributions to our educational mission.
“The contract resolved important issues involving course assignments, compensation and security and strengthened the avenues for evaluation and accountability for performance,” Thurler added.
Since last year adjunct professors across the greater Boston area have rallied together to push for union contracts.
In September 2013, Tufts adjuncts became the first local group to join the Service Employees International Union. A month later, Bentley University in Waltham was two votes short from unionizing, but are planning to hold another vote sometime soon.
In February, adjuncts organized at Lesley University in Cambridge, followed by Northeastern University adjunct professors in May, but faculty at both these schools are currently still in negotiations.
As well adjunct professors at Boston University say they plan to vote soon on whether to unionize, and campaigns to unionize are underway at Simmons College.