Dear Union Brothers, Sisters, and Siblings:
This message is to let you know about recent developments between the Coalition of Rutgers Unions and Rutgers management.
Recently, our member unions have been approached by management to discuss extending our existing contracts. In the interest of improving our relationships with the new Rutgers leadership, we have agreed to meet to hear what management has to offer. We want you as a union member and the entire Rutgers community to understand the context in which we do so:
- The impulse for us to extend contracts is based on the ongoing crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are interested in maintaining and improving health and safety protections put in place during the crisis, such as: expanded telecommuting options, hybrid work schedules, weekly health and safety labor-management meetings, and better vaccination and testing protocols. These are still not covered by our contracts.
- There is no fiscal emergency at Rutgers—on the contrary, Rutgers is flush with cash. Recent investigations by North Jersey.com and the Daily Targum underline what our unions have concluded: Rutgers management has hoarded COVID relief funds from the Federal and State governments instead of aiding students with real needs and saving our jobs. Enrollment remains strong, as does funded research. At the same time, the administration tolerated huge losses and debts in Rutgers Athletics—amounts far greater than what they saved by declaring a fiscal emergency and canceling our raises—and then went to incredible lengths to hide and downplay the financial mess.
- Unionized workers and our students can’t keep subsidizing top management, which hired more high-level managers while they were laying off the most vulnerable workers. If we come back to the table, it’s to bargain for equity. If we decide to negotiate about extending contracts, any agreement will be put to a vote of all our memberships.
- We can’t wait forever. Rutgers labor negotiations regularly drag out for a year after the contract expires. Talks on a contract extension could be a way to reset this pattern—if management will agree to come to the table regularly, with a team empowered to make decisions. As we talk contract extension, we will also talk about a reasonable schedule for our full contract negotiations.
President Holloway has declared his intention to repair the relationship between his management and labor at Rutgers. It’s a fine idea. Let’s make this a time of action, not just ideas.
What You Can Do
- Attend the University Senate meeting today (Friday) at 1:10 p.m. (click here for the Zoom link).
- Come to our outdoors, in-person speakout at the Board of Governors meeting in Campus Center on the Camden campus on Wednesday, October 6, at 11:30 a.m. (click here to let us know you’re going).
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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