The Rutgers administration is reacting to the COVID-19 health and economic crisis by making the most vulnerable people in our community—students, faculty, staff, and beyond—suffer the most. Get the facts about the administration’s “fiscal emergency” and reopening plans—and what Rutgers AAUP-AFT and the Coalition of Rutgers Unions are doing about them.
What You Can Do to Help
- Support the September 26 #March4RLivesRJobsRSchools
- Stand in solidarity with our PTL colleagues
- Tell us what you think about Rutgers’ reopening plans.
- Watch the union’s webinars on remote teaching.
- Join your union if you’re not already a member.
A People-Centered Alternative
#March4RLivesRJobsRSchools on September 26
Our union is returning to the streets as part of a broad alliance of workers, students and the community for a masked, safe #March4RLivesRJobsRSchools through downtown New Brunswick on September 26 at 3pm. Please join us to send a message to the university administration and its government and corporate partners that #WeRNotDisposable.
Click here to read about the march, how it was organized, and what you can do to support it.
Here’s What We’re Fighting For in Ten Words
Rutgers University is at a turning point, with a new president taking office and faced with twin health and economic crises in the shadow of a national awakening around issues of racial justice. The Coalition of Rutgers Unions, representing 19 unions and 20,000 workers, has put forward a people-centered approach to prevent layoffs, protect the vulnerable, and safeguard public higher education.
Click here to read our infographic spelling out what we’re fighting at Rutgers.
Questions and Answers about the “Fiscal Emergency”
On Monday, June 8, the Rutgers administration sent notifications to nearly all of the 19 unions in our coalition that a fiscal emergency now exists, and it is exercising its power to break certain provisions of our contract. The university is required to give us 21 days’ notice of the specific actions it intends to take upon declaring a fiscal emergency. Management has indicated that it intends to “withhold” our raises—due on July 1—that were negotiated in the last Rutgers AAUP-AFT contract.
Click here to read our answers to your questions about the administration’s action.
Stand in Solidarity with Our PTL Colleagues
By issuing a hiring freeze on PTLs and ordering departments to cut PTL budgets by 20 percent or more, Rutgers management has needlessly created a teaching shortage for the fall while punishing the vulnerable among our colleagues.
We Filed Suit over the Financial Black Hole of Rutgers Athletics
This summer, our union filed a lawsuit to force management to come clean about the huge sums of money it funnels to an athletics program that continually loses money—including a total of transfer of more than $100 million this past year alone. This financial drain from the university’s core missions of learning and research has always been a problem, but it’s unconscionable in the era of the pandemic. We can’t have a badly needed discussion about Rutgers’ priorities unless the university honors our requests for in-depth financial data about Rutgers Athletics.
Click here to read the union’s statement about our lawsuit.
We’ve Filed Grievances against the University
In early July, Rutgers AAUP-AFT filed three grievances over management’s violation of the contract we won last year, including canceling the raises due to us on July 1. We’ve filed similar grievances on behalf of our EOF counselors.
- One grievance protests that the university violated the Faculty Compensation Program by failing to finish processing of applications for merit award increases. Faculty members completed the work necessary for the implementation of these merit pay increases, and we believe deans and chancellors should complete the process, too. You should be able to know what your pay increase would be, even if we are still arbitrating the fiscal emergency and the withholding of the increases. Click here to read this grievance.
- Another disputes the university’s June 8 declaration that a “fiscal emergency” exists at the university. Click here to read the full grievance.
- The third grievance addresses the administration’s failures in implementing the new salary equity program. There have been egregious delays in putting the program into effect, and we have serious concerns related to how applications are being evaluated. We believe this unacceptable delay was in part because of the advice of the union-busting law firm Jackson Lewis. Click here to read this grievance.
Coalition Statement on Layoffs and the “Fiscal Emergency”
The Rutgers University administration has notified nearly all of its unions that it is taking the first steps toward implementing a fiscal emergency, thereby jeopardizing the futures of our 20,000-plus union members, their families, and communities throughout New Jersey. By declaring a financial emergency, Rutgers is tearing up our contracts and unilaterally attacking our unions and our most vulnerable members. It is also turning its back on the plan developed by our coalition to confront the COVID-19 crisis with a work-sharing furlough program that would prevent layoffs and program cuts, protect the most vulnerable, and bolster the university’s financial health.
Click here to read the full statement.
The Future of Rutgers
Tell Us What You Think about Rutgers’ Reopening Plans
The Rutgers administration has produced a report on reopening the university, drafted with almost no input from faculty and staff or our unions, which fails to address many basic questions. This is unacceptable given the stakes for all of us in these decisions. We want your input about specific health and safety concerns to raise with the administration—and we want to hear from you if you are being asked to perform unsafe work, which you have a right to refuse.
Click here to read more about the latest developments and tell us what you think.
Our Union’s Remote Teaching Webinars
Your responses to the remote teaching survey we launched this summer were indispensable in forming the demands we’re taking to Rutgers management to ensure quality online learning conditions for our students and teaching conditions for our members. In response to your concerns about planning for online teaching, we organized a series of Remote Teaching Best Practices Webinars to share knowledge about confronting the unique challenges of remote instruction.
Click here to watch recordings of each of the three sessions and to access supporting materials.