By K. Sebastian León, Executive Council, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
This was the third bargaining session of 2023. Our previous session took place on February 6, where Articles 8, 25, 9, 10, and 11 were discussed. The February 6 bargaining session was hybrid, with a combination of in-person and remote/virtual participants. Today’s meeting was focused on a proposal package, containing Articles 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 21, 22, 25, and Appendices E and H. A summary of bargaining proposals and full text for most articles can be accessed here.
- Management transmitted their counters to Articles 2, 4, 6, 21, and 22 at the start of the bargaining session.
- On Article 4, the union has proposed that the word “caste” be included in the university’s non-discrimination policy. Management wishes to establish a task force to study the relationship between caste and current non-discrimination frameworks. This task force would include union representatives as full members.
- Management agrees to multiple components of Article 6 (UCD; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), but rejects all clauses in which “historically underrepresented” faculty appear.
- Category 2 grievances were discussed and debated.
- Caucus breakout rooms began at approximately 12:55pm, lasting approximately 40 minutes. Upon return, the union emphasized the rationale for its positions on the proposal package.
- Management does not want to speak to the necessity of masking during hybrid bargaining sessions, but is willing to wear masks to allow for more in-person participation by our team. While the pace of negotiations has been glacial in the past, there appears to be meaningful, albeit piecemeal, progress on Article-specific components.
- Bargaining dates for March 2023 appear to be materializing, with a combination of virtual and in-person meeting options in Winants Hall.
- Management indirectly conceded that existing data infrastructure (e.g., HR software) are structurally insufficient.
- Today marks yet another day without a contract.
- Management is stalling on a range of components on each Article.
- Management is treating the Bargaining for the Common Good proposal as a dollar-for-dollar matching fundraiser, and seeks to eliminate the proposal from the scope of bargaining.
- Management has not changed their position on eliminating terminal sabbaticals.
- Future bargaining meetings will range between online and hybrid options. In-person meetings will be masked (while not speaking) out of respect for the health and safety of various participants and their corresponding households.
- The union remains intent on adding caste to the university’s non-discrimination policy, consistent with the broadening of anti-discrimination protections that have taken place at other institutions of higher education (e.g., the California State university system). The union will prepare a counter to management’s counter on how to proceed with caste-specific non-discrimination protections.
- Graduate assistantships are going to be formatted as a binding MOA (Memorandum of Agreement).
- Articles 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 21, 22, 25, and Appendices E and H remain in negotiation in package form, whereby the rejection of any single article proposal equates to the rejection of all article proposals in the package that our team presented.
- The next bargaining session will be held on Monday, Feb. 13 with an emphasis on research and postdoctoral support.
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.