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Roosevelt University and the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization (RAFO) have signed a new three-year contract that paves the way for strong cooperation as the University continues on track with its Building A Stronger Roosevelt program.

“We have so many outstanding adjunct faculty members at the University, and we absolutely want to have the best relationship with them going forward,” said Roosevelt President Ali Malekzadeh, who hailed the collaboration exhibited by all during recent contract negotiations.

Signed Monday, Sept. 25 by Malekzadeh and RAFO President Joseph Fedorko, the new agreement applies to approximately 330 part-time instructors in the union from three colleges (Arts and Sciences, Education and Business.) With the new contract, members of RAFO now remain in the union for up to three years and have a provision establishing adjunct-per-course salary increases when full-time faculty are eligible for merit salary increases.

“This contract gives adjuncts more flexibility and security, and will allow RAFO, on behalf of its membership, to build from here,” said Fedorko.

Ratified by RAFO membership on Sept. 7, the new contract took shape in record time during talks held over the summer. The University’s bargaining team included: Tom Philion, dean of the College of Education; Amanda Wornhoff, assistant provost of core curriculum and assessment; Alexandra Wright, general counsel; Toyia K. Stewart, associate vice president of human resources; Shirley Mathai, human resources generalist; Sue Fay, vice president of human resources; and Anna Wermuth, lead negotiator and attorney with the law firm of Cozen O’Connor.

Comprising the bargaining team for union adjuncts were: lead negotiator Jennifer Wilson, RAFO President Joseph Fedorko, RAFO member Michael Pinsof, Grievance Chair Bonnie Smothers, Illinois Education Association Uniserv Director William Silver, as well as RAFO members Chris Broniak, Frank Brooks, and LuAnn Swartzlander.

Running through Aug. 14, 2020, the new RAFO agreement is the fifth for Roosevelt and its adjunct union. The two entities began working together with the first collective bargaining agreement in the fall of 2001.

Dear RAFO members,

On September 25, 2017. RAFO President Joseph Fedorko and Roosevelt President Ali Malekzadeh signed the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was ratified earlier this month by RAFO members. The three-year deal is now in force.

RAFO is proud to announce that, with the signing of the CBA, members will be receiving a 2% salary raise, effective now and retroactive to the start of the 2017-18 school year. The raise comes as a result of the CBA's provision in Appendix A in which salary increases are linked to increases in what is called the "merit pool" -- a budget figure used by Roosevelt to calculate salary increases for tenured and tenure-track faculty. A 2% increase was approved by the University and announced on September 15, and so adjunct faculty will receive this raise as well. The Appendix A posted at includes the new salaries for members.

Be aware that this increase is locked in and is not a one-time bonus. Also be aware that any salary increases for the length of this contract will be linked to merit pool increases in 2018 and 2019. RAFO will inform members of any such increases as they are announced.

We want to take this time to thank RAFO Lead Negotiator Jennifer Wilson and the RAFO team: Joseph Fedorko, Michael Pinsof, and Bonnie Smothers at the table: Frank Brooks, Chris Broniak, and LuAnn Swartzlander with valuable assistance with planning and preparation; and Bill Silver from the Illinois Education Association, for all of their work. A year and a half of strategic planning led to this agreement, and we are proud and thankful for their work.

Above, you will see a photo of the signature pages of the CBA and the revised salary structure. The revised "Appendix A" is available at If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a RAFO Executive Committee member or representative. And, as always, if you wish to contribute to the work of this union, also contact us. There is plenty to do, and this is an excellent time to pitch in.

In solidarity,

The Executive Committee of RAFO, IEA/NEA

From Chris Broniak, membership chair

I came across two items that at first glance might not appear to have much connection with each other.  But they dovetail on one idea:  how do we make sure we don’t lose sight of human values?  

The first item was an article from Chip Cutter, managing editor at LinkedIn, entitled “The Fading American Dream?  Maybe Companies Deserve More Of The Blame.”  It’s not only adjuncts that feel anxious about their financial situations; for the vast majority of Americans, it’s become increasingly difficult to feel confident about their economic futures.


The article is an edited e-mail conversation between Cutter and business journalist Rick Wartzman, author of "The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America."  In it Wartzman recounts the shift in U.S. corporations’ relations with its employees since the end of World War II.  In the conversation, Wartzman notes that


“… there is growing recognition [among many companies] that [the shift from stakeholder to shareholder value] has led to short-termism that's had bad effects on workers and others and companies not investing in their workers with higher compensation, giving labor a bigger share of a very large profit pie.  Corporate profits have been near record highs in recent years.  Workers just aren't sharing in the gains as they once did.”


The second item was a very short YouTube video named “What If Technology Were Designed For Human Values?”, from Time Well Spent, “a movement to stop technology platforms from hijacking our minds, and to start putting our best interests first.”  Just as many businesses have put shareholder value ahead of stakeholder value, most (if not all) technology has made efficiency its highest value, putting the interests of advertisers ahead of all others’ interests.


In both cases, other human values – kindness, friendship, generosity, compassion – are being pushed aside.  In both cases, those whose interests are being served are counting on both the marketplace and technology to keep the rest of us blissfully unaware of our humanity slowly being stripped away from us.


Don’t just “go with the flow.”  Decide what you want the world to be.  Choose consciously.


Fellow Adjuncts,

Welcome back to Roosevelt and the 2017-2018 school year.

Roosevelt’s restructuring continues apace, and there is no more visible symbol of the change than the fact that the adjunct office in the Chicago campus is now located in room 254. This is the office for all adjuncts, from those who have taught in the Auditorium Theatre building to those that taught exclusively at the Gage Building. All classes are now in the Auditorium building or the Wabash tower – and all adjuncts are now going to be in 254.

So is RAFO.

Our office has been relocated to room 254A – at the east end of 254. This gives RAFO an opportunity to hear from more of you as directly as we can, and for all of us to work together in ways that can help each other through the changes at Roosevelt. At the same time, it allows us to both show the RU community why adjuncts are such an integral part of the school and for us to demand that respect to adjuncts is both deserved and earned by all of us.

Our membership meeting is September 7 from 1-6 p.m. in AUD 825, and we are asking all adjuncts who are full members of the RAFO bargaining unit to cast ballots on the tentative contract agreement which RAFO reached with the administration this past July. We are also asking that ALL adjuncts become full voting members of RAFO so that you can participate in union decision-making (such as contract ratification) and help build new leadership and directions for the union, all while monitoring the university as the work to stabilize and eventually grow RU continues.

Roosevelt promotes a mission of social justice. RAFO truly works to make that mission real for all adjuncts, and for RU and in academia writ large. Higher education continues to be under stress in this country, and schools like Roosevelt serve as important entries for the students it works to graduate. Adjuncts are just as essential, and RAFO is here to make sure that we continue to be recognized.

So when you come to the adjunct office, knock on our door and say hi. We need to hear from you as the school year begins and throughout the year.

Welcome back.

In solidarity,

The Executive Committee
Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization
Illinois Education Association/National Education Association

We have a Union Contract.

RAFO and the 2017/2018 Contract Team completed the contract negotiations on behalf of the RAFO Executive Committee and all of the Unit Bargaining Members. Here is a list of the most crucial advancements in our working conditions.

  • Article 1 - Expanded the time it takes for a Union Member to fall out of the unit to three full years. This means that if an adjunct faculty member does not teach for one or two years straight, they can still return to RU at the same pay rate when they last taught a course.
  • Article 2 - RAFO will be able to have two Senators from each college represent the adjunct faculty. We have increased our representation by 50% over the last two contracts giving the union a bigger voice within the university.
  • Article 3 - RAFO increased the amount of funding for Professional Development by 9%. The Executive Committee will approve additional grant opportunities and reimburse representation on the various union committees.
  • Article 4 - RAFO moved forward the deadline for Fall course assignments by 30 days. The new deadline for Fall course assignment notification is now May 31 instead of June 30.
  • Article 4 - RAFO eliminated the condition that adjunct faculty members teach within the previous two terms to receive a six hour course load.
  • Article 4 - Adjunct faculty members may take a one year leave every five years without any impact to their standing in the university or on the pay scale.
  • Article 7 - RAFO increased the Mandatory Duties rate to $49 per hour. Also, we added that the university make every effort to provide mandatory duties, such as a department meeting, by video conference mode.
  • Article 7 - Tuition Remission has increased up to 50% for all adjunct faculty, their spouses or partners, and their children.
  • Article 7 - The class cancellation fee for Step 3 and 4 adjuncts increased from 20% to 22%.
  • RAFO and Roosevelt University agreed on a “me too” clause to determine any pay raises for the duration of the 2017-2020 contract. If any faculty receives a raise in any amount, then RAFO members will receive a raise in the same percentage amount. This will augment the salary scale and become a permanent increase within the contract.