In our negotiations for a new contract, we set ambitious goals for social justice proposals that would center our students and the community beyond Rutgers campuses. Unfortunately, because of the administration’s resistance to these proposals, we fell short of what we wanted to achieve.
One success, however, was the establishment of a Rutgers Beloved Community Fund to benefit residents in the communities surrounding our campuses. During negotiations in Trenton, Governor Murphy and his staff committed $600,000 in funding for the Fund, which we can reapply for each year. We would work with our community allies to establish a 501(c)(3) organization to administer this money.
Shamefully, the administration backed out of any commitment to the Fund. But our unions will go forward with this initiative and show our commitment to “bargaining for the common good,” as such demands are known in the labor movement.
When you get your Tentative Agreement ratification ballot tomorrow morning, there will be another question to answer. We will seek members’ support to ask those represented by our union to make a voluntary contribution to the Rutgers Beloved Community Fund. We would ask for a contribution of the first $50 (more or less) from your retroactive payment on this year’s salary increase, on a suggested sliding scale based on income.
This isn’t the end of our fight to bargain for the common good. Using contract negotiations for this purpose may be new, but it is the future of higher ed labor. Watch and share this powerful video made with our community allies that illustrates our commitment to continue the struggle.
We will continually remind the administration that they, too, owe a debt to the communities that contribute so much to Rutgers. We will organize to pressure them to cancel outright any outstanding fees, fines, and parking citations owed to the university—and to freeze housing costs for university property and work for affordable housing.
This is the way we work for the Rutgers we ALL deserve: our students, the communities around our campuses, staff, graduate workers, postdocs, counselors, and adjunct and full-time faculty.
Rutgers AAUP-AFT, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, and AAUP-BHSNJ
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