We’re headed into a campaign for a new contract, and in addition to getting ourselves organized on our campuses, we need to be working to change the anti-union labor laws that tilt the playing field in management’s favor.
We’re asking you to take action in support of the Responsible Collective Negotiations Act (S-3810/A-5862), which would help Rutgers unions and all other public-sector unions in New Jersey fight for the workers we represent and the people we serve. We’re working with our Coalition of Rutgers Unions and the New Jersey state AFL-CIO on this campaign. The Communication Workers of America (NJ’s largest public-sector union) has set up an email-writing campaign for all of our unions to use. Click here to write emails to your New Jersey senator and assembly members. If you don’t live in New Jersey, you may want to use your campus mailing address.
The Responsible Collective Negotiations Act (RCNA) would help public-sector unions like ours to expand the “scope of bargaining” with management—what can legally be negotiated and enforced. We need this new law to expand the number of “permissive” subjects of bargaining. Otherwise management can dismiss our demands on the grounds that they don’t have to negotiate on critical subjects such as layoffs, class scheduling systems, and much more. Unless we have enforceable language in our contract, we’re at the mercy of management on a range of issues. The RCNA would put more power in our hands.
The bill would also stop public employers like Rutgers from imposing their version of a contract unilaterally by declaring an “impasse” in bargaining. This is exactly the threat that stalled negotiations for our postdoc colleagues for nearly two years, leading to them working under a substandard contract without raises until this summer.
The RCNA is common-sense legislation that levels the playing field in public-sector negotiations and here at Rutgers. But we’ve already seen what we’re up against during the legislature’s earlier deliberations on the bill. Public employers, including our university, are trying to defeat this legislation by distorting what it contains and claiming it would put a greater burden on taxpayers. Rutgers lawyers’ even claimed last spring that our students would face “increased tuition costs, increased fees, and similar increased costs” if the bill passed. This is a straight-up anti-union lie.
Supporting this legislation is part of getting ready for our contract fight—we need to win the RCNA to increase our leverage at the bargaining table. Please send a message to New Jersey legislators telling them to support the Responsible Collective Negotiations Act.
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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