Takeaway: The first faculty salary equity decisions are deeply disappointing. We need to talk about this as a union. Come to the first New Brunswick chapter meeting on Friday, October 1, at 1 p.m. (click here to RSVP). The following Monday, we’ll hold a pay equity town hall on October 4, at 4 p.m. (click here to RSVP). Come to an in-person, outdoors speakout and informational picket at the Board of Governors meeting in Camden on Wednesday, October 6 (click here to tell us you’re coming).
The long-awaited first decisions in our faculty salary equity program are out, and after analyzing the outcomes, we’re disappointed and angry: the first 103 applicants were shortchanged by at least $750,000 and probably close to $1 million in all by an administration that manipulated the pay equity process to pay out as little as possible (click here to read our press release). These decisions are over a year and a half late under the terms of our contract—and many of you who applied to the program are still waiting for your letters, because management has only issued these initial 103 decisions.
It sounded good when President Holloway announced at the University Senate that the initial awards would be over $1 million. But that works out to less than $10,000 per person for the first 103 faculty members—some of whom were underpaid by that much each year while at Rutgers. And according to our expert colleagues and union staff, the salary adjustments should have added up to nearly twice as much. And we shouldn’t forget: the nearly $1 million they took away from salary adjustments for these first cases is a drop in the bucket compared to the quarter-billion-dollar debt that the administration allowed Rutgers Athletics to run up.
The bad news doesn’t stop there. The mistreatment of our Camden colleagues continues. Camden faculty, whose salaries are far lower than those on other campuses, accounted for over 40 percent of the first pay equity decisions. Yet they had the lowest average salary adjustments of any campus—and by far the largest number of faculty whose recommended pay increases were $0! This is another insult heaped on many previous ones for our Camden colleagues, who have to meet all the same standards that we do.
We want to hear what you think about the implementation of the pay equity program. Come to the New Brunswick chapter meeting on Friday, October 1, at 1 p.m. (click here to RSVP). And we’ll hold a town hall on pay equity on Monday, October 4, at 4 p.m. (click here to RSVP), where you’ll hear from some of the early applicants who got their decision letters and from our colleagues who are nationally acknowledged experts on the subject of pay equity.
We also need to stand together with our Camden colleagues and send a message to the Rutgers administration and Board of Governors. We urge anyone who can to join us Wednesday, October 6, at 11:30 a.m. for a speakout and informational picket outside the Board of Governors meeting in Camden at Campus Center (326 Penn St.). Click here to tell us you’re coming.
If you want to know more about how our pay equity was undermined throughout the implementation process, here’s a summary:
- Applicants to the program chose faculty peers (called “comparators”) to show that they were underpaid. In the early stages of the process, these comparators were reviewed, and in many instances endorsed, by deans, who endorsed pay increases to bring applicants up to an equitable salary. All of this happened well over a year ago in the initial cases, but the process stalled at the top of the administration until this year.
- In a majority of the cases for which we have full information, the comparators endorsed by deans were switched, resulting in a substantial reduction in the final salary adjustments for most of those applicants. As our former president, Deepa Kumar, put it, “If you take out, for example, male comparators and replace them with lower-paid female comparators, you’re simply compounding the problem of gender pay inequity.”
- The administration also used a so-called “regression analysis”—provided by a consultant from the anti-labor law firm Jackson Lewis—to calculate the final adjustments, which also typically reduced what applicants received. This algorithm was deeply flawed, and again cemented existing inequities.
- Our experts found that the regression analysis alone reduced the total awards for the first 103 decisions by over $535,000. In the 49 cases for which we have full information, the comparator switches cost these applicants more than $218,000. If awards for the other applicants who got decisions were similarly lowered because of comparator switches, we think the total reductions in the awards were close to $1 million.
- Camden faculty came out behind in every measure. They accounted for 42 of the initial 103 decisions, showing the urgent need for equity corrections among Camden colleagues. Eight of those 42 got no salary adjustment at all—compared to five from all other campuses among the initial cases. The average salary adjustment for the 34 who received something was just over $6,800, less than half of the average award for those on other campuses who will get an adjustment. Despite Camden faculty asking for the lowest increases on average of any campus, they got the lowest percentage of what they asked for.
- This is the opposite of equity. What University Human Resources did by changing comparators and using a regression analysis was to bake in salary inequity. A program that was supposed to bring underpaid faculty members up to equal pay for equal work is consigning them to being underpaid into the indefinite future.
NO part of this is acceptable. We’ll be saying that directly to the Board of Governors on October 6, we’re filing a grievance over this flagrant refusal to implement our contractual pay equity process, the lawsuit against the university filed by five of our members will go on—and we’re going to make pay equity a central part of our campaign for a new contract.
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Find the latest messages to members and union statements here.
For union merch, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read our FAQ: Know Your Contract, Know Your Rights!