By Nusrath Yusuf, Graduate Steering Committee/Executive Council, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
- This was the first bargaining session after the holidays and after the administration presented its paltry counter to Article 8, with a raise of 2.25 percent in the first year and 2 percent in the following three years.
- This was the first hybrid session for this unit. Our bargaining team members had a mix of attendees online and in person, while all but one of the administration’s team attended in person.
- The bulk of the session was spent with our bargaining team going over the full list of articles and the status of each article. We are currently awaiting counter-proposals to several articles. There was a short discussion about Article 25 (sabbaticals)
- The second half of the session was spent going over Articles 9, 10, and 11 and the grievance procedures outlined in these three articles.
This is the first session we’ve had so far that went on for four hours and was conducted hybrid. Previous scheduled sessions were for two hours and were all on Zoom. A lot of the first half of the session was going over logistics. The session started off with our union going over all the dates that were offered, and now several future sessions have been scheduled. Then our bargaining team reviewed the status of all the proposed articles. There was a short discussion about Article 25 (sabbaticals). Our team did a great presentation on this article, which covers the standards for taking sabbaticals at any point of a faculty’s career. Sabbaticals taken at any point of a faculty’s career—before tenure or even just before retirement, known as “terminal sabbaticals”—are all important to keep faculty active in the research process and in the broader academic community.
Next, both teams engaged in a discussion over Articles 9, 10, and 11. These articles are collectively going over the grievance procedures for our unit. One of the sticking points in this discussion was the “release language” that management wants a grievant to sign with the university once they have filed a grievance. Our team has been asking for this release language to be specifically limited to the current grievance and not to all future grievances. This is important, as we would want our members to retain as many rights as possible during any current or future grievance procedures.
The Office of University Labor Relations did not have any counters prepared for us this session. We are on month seven of negotiations, and it was frustrating to see that the conversations on various articles—particularly on Articles 9, 10, and 11 and our collective grievance procedures—have not evolved on several points from when these articles were last discussed.
The next session is scheduled for Thursday, February 9, and will address various articles covering academic freedom (Article 2), non-discrimination policy (Article 4), diversity (Article 6), university policies (Article 21 and Memorandum of Agreement on Infosilem), and conditions of employment (Article 22).
The above is a report from a bargaining session for our next contract. After each session, our union will provide an update, written by a rotating cast of member-observers who are sitting in on negotiations. Click here for a full archive of Bargaining Updates.