By Danyel Ferrari, Chair, Media and Narrative Committee, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
- For this session of bargaining, we revisited the #OneFaculty union proposal. The units of PTLs and full-time faculty and grad workers again clearly stated that a unified union would be better for all of our university workers and our students. We were met with resistance from management, who stated there were unspecified “concerns.”
- We presented the proposed inclusion of Graduate workers on Fellowship funding packages in the unit based on the similarity of work performed by grads classified and funded as TAs and GAs. Representatives of the Office of University Labor Relations (OULR) stated the article needs greater clarification on how grad work is classified.
- OULR continues to say that their data on the need for grad extensions does not match the union’s data, and they continue to say they need more time to investigate the need for universal funding.
- Our union presented on the cost-of-living increases for grads called for in Article 8, stating the need for an adjustment based on the MIT living wage calculator for the region. Also mentioned were the impacts on PhD offer acceptance, with faculty GPDs noting that we are losing out on the PhDs we want as they elect to attend other programs in the area with funding packages that offer more livable and longer funding. We stated that we would be willing to implement this aspect of our contract immediately, rather than waiting for the whole contract to be negotiated.
- Finally, the union proposed the need for more formalized and substantial support for caregivers. While management’s representative generally expressed concern for parents of young children, no clear response to the need for increased support was stated.
Our unions presented a united front and supported the unification of the units for the betterment of our whole community with demonstrated success in the past. We presented data on the need for the demands on grad funding extensions and Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), and the members who spoke about their experiences in the last years reflected our union’s commitment to all workers in and beyond our university and building a university that truly does care for the community. After OULR declined to clarify what their specific concerns were during this meeting, management and union leadership both agreed to set another time to present concerns and have them addressed by the units, and OULR has agreed to consider further data.
During the session, management suggested that the unification of our units—something a majority of our adjunct colleagues, members and nonmembers, supported by signing merger cards—would not be voluntarily accepted by President Holloway and the university. They claimed the merger posed concerns and potential conflicts, but would not specify them. Similarly, OULR has pushed back on the data we have presented reflecting demonstrated need for continued grad funding support for those affected by COVID, since grads are already receiving non-reappointment notifications, and departments are trying to scrape together resources to fund those who are out of time. They also questioned the numbers demonstrating the need for a living wage for grad workers.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7. Stay tuned for updates!
The above is a report from the third 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.