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Part-Time Lecturers FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are PTLs in a separate bargaining unit from full-time faculty and TA-GAs?
2. Why should I join the Part-Time Lecturer Faculty Chapter (PTLFC) of the AAUP-AFT
3. What concretely do I get?
4. What do I pay?
5. How do I join?

1. Why are PTLs in a separate bargaining unit from full-time faculty and TA-GAs?

Rutgers' PTLs petitioned for a union election in 1988 and then voted overwhelmingly to become a union. Therefore, the AAUP-AFT represents part-time faculty at Rutgers in a separate bargaining unit called the Part-Time Lecturers Faculty Chapter of the AAUP-AFT. Full-time faculty are the employer of record for PTLs in most departments, so there would be a conflict of interest if both groups were in the same bargaining unit. 

The Rutgers Council of AAUP Chapters, AAUP-AFT has over 6,600 bargaining unit members and maintains a dual identity as a professional association and bargaining agent, enhancing the quality of education at Rutgers by representing member interests and protecting their rights as employees.

Thus, PTLs have our own voice and autonomy as a bargaining unit, yet we are in the same parent organization as the full-time faculty. Full-time faculty at Rutgers have had union recognition since 1970. TA/GAs were added to the bargaining unit in 1972.  Rutgers AAUP-AFT is the largest AAUP chapter in the nation and the largest in the AFT.

2. Why should I join the Part-Time Lecturer Faculty Chapter (PTLFC) of the AAUP-AFT, even when

—I'm only appointed for a short time, such as one or two semesters?

Although most PTLs are appointed term-to-term, the average stay is eight years and many of us have been teaching at RU for 20-25 years. One of the reasons we organized ourselves into the PTLFC in the first place was that PTLs received very little recognition for their long committed service in spite of being a "contingent" workforce. One important gain in the 2015-2018 Agreement is that a PTL in his or her first semester of teaching no longer will have to wait one semester before being eligible to join the PTL Faculty Chapter and have rights on the job, including the right to the union-negotiated minimum salary. PTLs also retain membership until three consecutive semesters have passed without teaching.

—if all PTLs are represented anyway?

The more official members we have, the stronger our organization. The force the union can bring to bear at the bargaining table and at grievances is directly proportional to our numbers. Though the PTLFC-AAUP-AFT represents you whether you join or not, that representation is much more effective if you join. The representation fee is required by state labor law and is automatically deducted from your paycheck, but "upgrading" to union membership means you want to improve the professional status of part-time lecturers who carry 30% of the undergraduate classes.

3. What concretely do I get?

Joining the union gives you a voice in contract negotiations and organizational policy, as well as a vote in contract ratification and officer elections.  Once your membership application is processed you will receive a packet of materials including our collective bargaining agreement, our organizational by-laws, a list of discounts available, along with other items. You will also begin receiving Academe, the national AAUP's journal, and national AFT's On Campus. You are part of making sure that PTLs, in spite of being contingent faculty, have an organization with mechanisms for making improvement: negotiations, advocacy, grievance procedures.

View this chart to see the gains in PTL professional working conditions that have been made through unionization.

4. What do I pay?

When you become a member of the PTLFC of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT, dues are a nominal 0.5% (.005) of your salary (that would be $24.63 a term if your salary is the minimum for a 3-credit course $4,926). Dues are deducted over the semester's paychecks — $2.26 per check, based on this 3-credit course minimum salary.

Even if you do not join, you automatically pay a representation fee that is 85% of the 0.5% dues, so you are already paying $20.94 per semester or $1.92 per pay period. This "agency shop" provision means everyone pays a fair share for representation, which everyone receives since all are covered by the union-negotitated contract that protects working conditions and compensation for part-time lecturers as a group.

Only full dues-paying members are involved in decision making. Strong membership means we have greater effectiveness in negotiations. Switching from representation fee payer status to full membership is a small investment for strong defense of your professional employment well-being and this underwrites quality education for our students. Faculty working conditions are our students' learning conditions.

5. How do I join?

Fill out a membership application form or contact the Part-Time Lecturers Faculty Chapter by phone (732) 964-1000, by fax (732) 964-1032, or by E-Mail
Note: We no longer need Social Security Numbers on the membership form; you may leave that section blank.

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