President Teresa Politano wrote today to Part-Time Lecturer union members:
Dear PTL Colleagues,
I hope you are enjoying the beginnings of summer. As president of the PTLFC at Rutgers, I wanted to share a few announcements:
- We have signed up nearly 450 new union members since last year. This is not a typo!
- A record number of candidates are running for a position on the PTLFC board. Ballots will be mailed next week. I promise you will be impressed by the qualifications of the candidates. Please be sure to vote.
- Our joint labor/management committee work remains a priority over the summer. Thank you to those who filled out surveys; our research, for both the career development committee and the health benefits committee, is ongoing.
It’s true that in the past year, we have set more concrete organizing goals and established a new direction for the union. This emphasis on organizing has paid big dividends, with a dramatic surge in membership.
But I also know that timing is critical, and I believe there has rarely been a better time to join the union. Nationwide, we see a growing frustration among the contingent academic workforce. Nationwide, we see universities increasingly choosing to fulfill their core mission with a freelance workforce, and increasingly choosing to ignore their responsibilities to offer fair compensation and benefits to those employees. The time to demand significant changes is now.
We do not support the corporatization of higher education, nor do we believe the Uber approach to the classroom, which comes at the expense of both the instructor and the student, is a best practice.
Our gains have been hard-won. The 5 percent increase that many longtime PTLs will receive this fall is recognition, for the first time, that we are an integral (and consistent) part of the university. Tripling the funds available for professional development is recognition of that as well.
Yet we have much work to do.
We believe that our committee work offers a real opportunity for significant advancement, and you should know that we built our teams with strength and unity in mind. Each team includes expert negotiators, full-time faculty members and professionals in the field.
We believe the surge in union membership will force Rutgers to take notice. And we believe our efforts to shore up alliances with the full-time faculty, with the non-tenure-track teachers, the graduate assistants and the teaching assistants, will bolster our fight as well.
We are building a new union at Rutgers, and we need your continued support.
President, Part-Time Lecturer Faculty Chapter-AAUP-AFT
PTL, Journalism & Media Studies (SC&I, New Brunswick)