We are writing to update you about what to expect next week, but first, we want to share the outrage from across the country in response to President Holloway’s injunction threat. By signing an open letter to Rutgers’ president, scholars are calling on Holloway to change course and negotiate a fair and just contract, rather than punishing Rutgers workers for exercising their right to organize and take job actions.
Online ads for the open letter have been published in the New York Review of Books, Chronicle of Higher Education, NJ.com, and the Daily Targum. It has also been widely circulated on social media with overwhelming support. We urge you to read the open letter and discuss it with your colleagues. You can add your name to it by filling out this form.
Separately, 60 Rutgers Distinguished Professors have written an appeal to President Holloway, publicized with an ad in the Daily Targum. It concludes: “President Holloway, we ask you to stand with the heart and soul of the University—its educators, students, and researchers. Instruct your negotiators to reach labor agreements that give real substance to the ‘beloved community’ rhetoric that you so frequently invoke.”
Next week, we will continue bargaining for a fair contract—and preparing to take action if the administration fails to move on our demands. We have made some progress on smaller issues, but the administration is still saying no to many of our core proposals. Their latest salary offer is a good example: an increase from their previous offer of less than 1 percent over all four years, and there is still NO additional increase for grad workers to lift them toward a living wage. Management bumped up their offer to adjunct faculty slightly on Wednesday, but it is far from equal pay for equal work. It’s barely enough to compensate for inflation, and without job security, any wage increase will be meaningless.
This is unacceptable. We will be prepared to strike if the administration fails to understand that we won’t be intimidated into accepting a bad contract.
Members are planning escalating actions on all three campuses for next week—be on the lookout for details locally. On Monday, April 3, at 6:30 p.m., we are organizing an Ask Me Anything session for our students that we’re calling “Union Office Hours.” Please tell your students to register for the Zoom link here; you can click here for a graphic to post on Canvas or in emails. We’ll be holding town hall meetings to discuss the status of bargaining. And throughout next week, we will be building up our structure and organizing with more Picket Line Training Sessions; click here to sign up.
One last thing: Rutgers’ financial statement for the last fiscal/academic year was released, and it shows the university is in better shape than ever. Unrestricted reserves increased again by almost 10 percent to $886 million. Tuition revenue is back above pre-pandemic 2019–20 levels. Spending on instruction increased by just 1 percent last year—while spending on administration leaped by 15 percent. The slogan for our protest at the Cook Campus appearance of Chief Financial Officer J. Michael Gower is more true than ever: Rutgers Has the Money!
Becky and Amy
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Amy Higer, President, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, PTLFC-AAUP-AFT