See this page for more details as the new reappointment and promotion procedures are being implemented: NTT MOA and Its Implementation
After successful conclusion of special negotiations and approval of the Memorandum of Agreement by members in January 2014, the union has worked diligently with RU management as they incorporated the new contract terms into RU policy for the new non-tenure track title series. The new reappointment and promotion guidelines for all non-tenure track faculty have been released. On January 1, 2015, a joint labor-management letter sent to Chancellors, Vice President for University Libraries, New Brunswick Deans and Directors announced that documents with detailed instructions/guidelines can be found on the Rutgers University's Office of Academic Labor Relations webpages under Academic Promotions and Reappointments for Non-Tenure Track Faculty. Union members (together with members elected to union office and union staff) will monitor the implementation of the new career path process.
The issue of instability of employment has not completely gone away, but multi-year contracts are more possible than ever before. We have successfully negotiated improvements in job security, even though NTT faculty positions (by definition and design) lack the guarantees provided by the tenure system.
The union made the following gains:
- Proper evaluation, reappointment and promotion procedures.
- Job security that lessens precarious working conditions. Every NTT faculty member is now eligible for (though not entitled to) multi-year contracts; violations of the terms of employment set forth in letters of appointment may be grieved.
- We raised the salaries for lowest paid NTTs. Effective January 1, 2014, all Research Assistants and Assistant Instructors must be paid at least $39,058 if on an academic year contract or $44,963 if hired on a calendar year contract. Then, on July 1, 2014, the title Research Assistant merges into Research Associate and Assistant Instructor merges into Instructor. The title series for non-clinical, non-tenure track faculty are Research, Teaching, Professional Practice, and Librarian.
- One particularly egregious issue we eliminated with the MOA is the non-renewable contract.
- With the ratification of the new Collective Agreement that covers all full-time faculty (effective September 1, 2014 through June 30, 2018), other salary increases are being implemented. For example, the first increase is retroactive to September 1, 2014 for those who were on the payroll during the Fall Semester 2014. It is an Across-the-Board salary increase of $2,345 added to base salaries.
What is the significance of the end of non-renewable contracts?
The ending the use of non-renewable contracts is an important victory. During the campaign, Ann Gordon, who was the chair of the bargaining team, illustrated how RU administration's policy on non-renewable contracts had a distinctly "through the looking-glass" quality:
'a hill CAN'T be a valley, you know. That would be nonsense—' [said Alice]. The Red Queen shook her head, 'You may call it "nonsense" if you like,' she said, 'but I'VE heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!' -- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
In the world outside Rutgers University, the term “non-renewable” applies to the most popular books at the local library and to natural resources that cannot be replaced. Here at Rutgers, non-tenure track faculty know the term from their “Faculty Employment Agreement (UPF-5).” The employing dean chooses to check off either “Renewable” or “Non-Renewable.” Woe to the non-renewable.
Do not expect the words to have conventional meanings. Classifying an appointment as “non-renewable” is a powerful tool for which there are no rules. No one tells the deans, this case is a legitimate use for making a temporary non-renewable appointment and that one is an abuse. No one asks, if she is “non-renewable,” why are you reappointing her?
- We know it is common to dub some faculty members “non-renewable” employees, while employing them year after year after year.
- We know that long-term faculty members with “renewable” agreements can be surprised to discover their status changed to “non-renewable” without warning or explanation.
- We know that a switch to “non-renewable” may signal future termination without any requirement that notice be given or procedures followed.
“Non-renewable” faculty members lack standard protections. Here’s how the Academic Appointments Manual of Rutgers sums up what is lacking. “The appointment letter for a non-renewable position should clearly state the term of the appointment, that no evaluation or reappointment will be possible, and that no further notice of termination of employment should be expected.”
You can teach for decades at Rutgers as a non-renewable faculty member, without the right to advance notice of termination and without being evaluated. Non-renewables never acquire any seniority because if they work beyond their initial appointment, they are, by definition, not renewed. Sometimes it is the person who is non-renewable, sometimes it is the position the person (temporarily) fills that is non-renewable, and in the confusion the employer oversteps fair employment practices. With these negotiations, we have an opportunity to rid Rutgers of such capriciousness.
Who are the Full-Time Non-Tenure Track (NTT) faculty?
They constitute 29% of the full-time faculty at Rutgers, numbering well over 800 employees (the number fluctuates but has been on a steady upward trend for several years). Nearly 50% of the NTT faculty is female, significantly higher than in the tenure-track faculty. NTTs work in almost every department in the university. Most fall within four categories: instructional faculty, research faculty, clinical faculty, and librarians.
The Rutgers AAUP-AFT fully supports its NTT faculty and opposes the inaccurate notion that it is a transient population of employees on their way to “real jobs” or back to their home countries. Careers are built at Rutgers with many NTTs serving for decades, leading distinguished programs, bringing in grants and teaching our students. We still have more compensation issues to tackle in the next round of negotiations, which includes all the full-time faculty and the TA-GAs.