By Rebecca Givan, New Brunswick Chapter, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
This was the 26th bargaining session. The first part of the session focused on three PTL articles: Article 7 on departmental support/space; Article 8 on personnel files; and Article 11 on professional development. There was some back and forth on these articles, and there are only a few remaining areas of disagreement. The administration has shown some willingness to move on these articles, while remaining unmoving on larger, more fundamental issues, like equal work for equal pay through the implementation of fractional appointments.
We then moved to articles in the full-time unit contract. The administration presented a counter proposal to the package of articles we proposed last week. On some key issues, they are still unwilling to move at all. For example, they are not willing to add caste to the anti-discrimination article, providing enforceable protection against caste discrimination. Similarly, they are not willing to agree to our modest proposal to create an advisory panel and a symposium on academic freedom. Both of these proposals represent aspects of a “beloved community” and seem to fit with the rhetoric put forward by this administration, and neither proposal has a cost to it. Yet management is not willing to accept our reasonable proposals.
On other articles included in the package, there was some positive movement. The administration agreed that grievances alleging a violation of the harassment language (in Article 9, covering allegations of harassment of a member of the negotiations unit) will be category one grievances. If these grievances go all the way to arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision will be binding (rather than advisory).
The administration also withdrew its proposed Appendix H, which would have allowed them to discipline faculty and grad workers through an expedited process, with a penalty ranging up to a suspension of six weeks without pay. This proposal included hugely broad reasons for disciplining our members, including the chilling “conduct unbecoming.” We made it very clear that we would not agree to such a proposal.
We are moving closer to a real back and forth on some proposals and may be able to reach some tentative agreements soon.
On our transformational proposals that would provide job security, a living wage for all, equal pay for equal work, and a fair pay increase, management still shows little interest in moving or reaching an agreement.