Management challenged us to poll our members about whether we would accept a contract with the “subject to” language used to freeze our salaries last time, so we polled you. Ninety-eight percent of more than 1,000 full-time faculty and graduate student employee members responded with a resounding No!
Despite the overwhelming objection to language used to renege on our salary increases in 2010, management is standing its ground. So must we. As one faculty member commented on the poll, “The ‘subject to’ language renders the contract a non-contract.”
Though no institution should be able to renege on a contract with its employees, Rutgers’ position is particularly untenable given management’s own report to the state that in 2014 they have healthy profits and cash flows as well as $700 million in unrestricted funds, up $100 million from last year (click to see the new report for 2014 by Dr. Howard Bunsis).
With a current cash surplus of $35.5 million, rising enrollment and tuition, and only 21 percent of Rutgers’ funding coming from the State, management's position is further undermined. Keep in mind, these are not union numbers, they are taken from Rutgers’ own 2014 audited financial statements (link to new report for 2014).
The other remaining issue in contention is the salary increase. The union negotiating team has presented our bottom line proposal which we believe is a more than reasonable basis for a settlement. (See table below for details.) This proposal, when combined with new increases for Assistant Professors at reappointment, a new process for special increases for Full and Distinguished Professors with continued high levels of research productivity, and significant increases to the minimums goes a long way to repairing the damage done to morale by the salary freeze of 2010 and to recognizing and maintaining the excellence of the faculty. By providing a substantial merit increase in the second year, it provides the opportunity for serious recognition of faculty accomplishments in the 5 years since the last merit consideration. And it is sufficiently close to management's proposal that it should be easily achievable.
Unless management concedes on the "subject to" language and on salary increases, the union has no choice but to escalate our organizing in the New Year.
Hope you are able to get some rest over the break, enjoy the holidays, and come back ready to challenge management’s priorities.
Lisa Klein, President
11 Stone Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Office phone: (732) 964-1000
Fax: (732) 964-1032