Takeaway: Read below to catch up with what’s been going on in bargaining this summer—and find out how you can get involved in our contract campaign.
We hope you’ve been having the restful summer that we all deserve. We wanted to take a few minutes of your time at this halfway point in our break to give you an update about the bargaining sessions with the administration that have been taking place weekly since mid-May.
We were ready with a strong set of opening proposals (you can read them here) that incorporate our demands for a salary increase that keeps pace with inflation; job security for all faculty; guaranteed funding and support for grad workers; race, gender, and campus equity; one united faculty; and more. Unfortunately, the urgency we feel about addressing these issues has not been reciprocated by management, which after two months of bargaining hasn’t responded to any of our substantial proposals.
Last fall, President Holloway established a new Office of University Labor Relations to “minimize moments of contention and increase the opportunity for the administration and the unions to work together.” So far, however, what we’ve seen from the new OULR are the same old tendencies to delay and avoid opportunities to “work together.”
A prime example of this is the issue of funding extensions for graduate students whose work was disrupted by the pandemic and who don’t have funding to continue at Rutgers. We brought this urgent need to the administration’s attention in February and were assured that the problem would be addressed at the department or school level. We know it wasn’t. We’ve raised the issue repeatedly in bargaining, but the administration rejected our proposal to work together on a central program to ensure every grad who needs it has funding.
We will continue confronting management about this issue because we know that organizing and pressure can win. Over the past month, grads in the Graduate School of Education who resisted their school’s Hunger Games-style attempt to make them compete for a single fellowship have all received funding extensions in different forms. This wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t spoken out publicly, supported by other grads and our union. If you are a grad facing a funding cutoff next year, we need to hear from you; please fill out this Google form and describe your situation.
Our contract expired on June 30 without the administration making a meaningful attempt to reach a new agreement based on our proposals. The terms of the old contract will remain in effect, so you will have union protections and benefits this fall. However, we won’t get a raise until we reach a new agreement (whatever raise we ultimately negotiate will be paid retroactively back to July 1). After accounting for high inflation, we will all be feeling the consequences of an effective wage cut until we settle a new contract.
We need to step up our organizing in the fall to put pressure on the university to agree to a contract that meets our demands. Here are some resources for keeping up with what our union is doing—and some ways to get involved and organize with your colleagues:
- To get involved with your union, click here and fill out the form, telling us what you’re interested in doing and your ideas and suggestions for organizing.
- Stay up to date with the latest on our contract campaign by visiting our Contract 2022 Resource Center.
- Find out what we’re putting forward in bargaining by reading a summary of our opening proposals and the contract language we’re proposing.
- Know what’s happening in bargaining by reading updates from each session.
- Listen to the “From the Table” updates from our union’s RU Listening? podcast team highlighting key issues in bargaining (you can watch each episode here on YouTube).
- Welcome your new colleagues to Rutgers, talk to them about our union and why they should join, and share this membership form with them.
- Download graphics and flyers about our contract campaign to use in emails or on social media, or to print out and post on office doors and bulletin boards.
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
See the updates from each bargaining session.
Read about the proposals we’re putting forward in bargaining.
Find the latest messages to members and union statements here.
Read our FAQ: Know Your Contract, Know Your Rights!