We’re sending our love and solidarity to all of you at the end of another challenging semester, along with our best wishes for the holidays and our break. Please take time to recharge; we’re going to need all of us working together to win the strong contract we need and deserve.
Management has dragged out bargaining for half a year past the expiration of our contract, which means we’ve all gone without a raise at a time when inflation is higher than it’s been in decades. They finally responded to our proposal on salaries more than six months after we made it, but their paltry counteroffer works out to a significant wage cut after accounting for inflation—including for graduate workers, who already earn far below a living wage.
Close to a hundred of you responded when we asked you to tell us what you think of this offer. Here are just a few of your comments: “The administration should be embarrassed to have submitted this proposal.” “The notion of a ‘beloved community’ is being thrown around by the administration, but deeds speak louder than words.” “The next time I get recruited by another institution, I will seriously consider leaving Rutgers.” “Time for a strike to show them we’re serious.” (Click here to read more of what you and your colleagues told us.)
The good news is that faculty, postdocs, and graduate workers from California to New York City are winning major victories, especially for the most vulnerable, lowest-paid workers. But it took the biggest strike wave in the history of higher ed to win. We need to be ready to show management we’re just as “serious” here in New Jersey.
You can get prepared for the organizing ahead by going to Strike School over the break. During the second week of January, we’re re-running the Zoom and hybrid workshops that more than a hundred of you attended in the fall. Click here to sign up.
Otherwise, we hope you can rest and relax over the rest of the holiday season—because we have a fight ahead of us when we come back for the new semester in January.
We kept our messages to a minimum over the past two weeks so you could deal with the end-of-semester rush, but here are some developments you might want to read about:
Faculty salary equity: The administration finally agreed to settle the pay equity lawsuit filed by five brave female colleagues and the union and to make changes to the Salary Equity Program generally. The agreement for a revised process isn’t perfect, but we’ve taken a step forward. We’re holding info sessions in the coming weeks to assist faculty at any stage in the program.
Bargaining for the Common Good: We were joined at our bargaining sessions last week by our community partners in Cosecha, New Labor, and other organizations to introduce our new contract proposal on “For the Common Good of the Beloved Community.” Though President Holloway couldn’t attend, he instructed management’s representatives to acknowledge the importance of bargaining to address the urgent needs of our students and communities.
Management’s “Conduct Unbecoming” proposal: In late November, management proposed expanding their power to discipline faculty members and graduate workers for vaguely defined violations such as “conduct unbecoming.” This is a chilling step by the administration amid the wave of right-wing attacks on tenure and other higher ed practices.
#OneFaculty: We’re one step closer to uniting nearly 10,000 faculty, postdocs, and graduate workers in one big union across Rutgers. AAUP-BHSNJ, the union that represents our 1,500 medical faculty colleagues in RBHS, won a ruling from the state that clears the way to merge their contract into ours. Disappointingly, President Holloway’s administration is still resisting a similar proposal from the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union and from postdocs in our own unit.
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
See the updates from each bargaining session.
Read about the proposals we’re putting forward in bargaining.
Find the latest messages to members and union statements here.
Read our FAQ: Know Your Contract, Know Your Rights!