More than 400 CUNY adjuncts did not receive a paycheck for their work in August and September due to a glitch in the CUNY payroll system.
Many of the adjuncts were hired in August, shortly before the fall 2013 semester began. Oswald Frances, head of human resources, blamed the problem on a new payroll system and an excess of Electronic Personnel Action forms being submitted late.
The forms were submitted late because the adjuncts were hired so close to the beginning of the semester. Due to the state-mandated pay schedule, many adjuncts found themselves empty-handed on their first payday.
According to Queens College adjunct professor Anthony Galluzzo, this led to unpaid bills and having to borrow from others to make ends meet.
“When I finally did get that first paycheck, most of it went to repaying the debts I incurred in September and October,” Galluzzo said.
On Sept. 19, the first pay date, nearly 400 of the 1,070 adjuncts did not receive a paycheck. The number of those unpaid decreased on the second pay date — Oct. 3 — but there was still approximately 100 adjuncts that did not receive pay.
“It’s hard to make ends meet when your next paycheck isn’t guaranteed,” QC adjunct Sarah Hanks said.
Hanks said she has seen this problem happen to herself and several of her colleagues many times, even though adjuncts were led to believe their cases were isolated incidents.
In the past, any unpaid salary was included in the following paycheck. This resulted in some adjuncts being pushed into different tax brackets, which led some to lose their eligibility for food stamps.
CUNY responded to the adjuncts and told them they had the option of requesting an advance of up to 60 percent of their unpaid wages. According to the adjuncts, no one suggested an advance was an option until the issue occurred.
Many do not make more than $7,000 a year and since many adjuncts live paycheck to paycheck, every pay date is crucial.
The system glitch also affected the number of classes some adjuncts were registered for. Their departments did not always put through all the materials they submitted. It is common for an adjunct professor to be registered for one class, when in fact, they are teaching two or three. Galluzo believes the system was designed “with long-term employees in mind.”
Adjuncts are constantly exploited and given short contracts for little pay, according to a Raw Story article. Paycheck problems are one of the many misfortunes they face in the CUNY system.