Takeaway: The administration made another shameful proposal on salaries that amounts to a wage cut when inflation is taken into account. Please vote YES on strike authorization if you haven’t already—and talk to your colleagues about doing the same.
Today, all of the Rutgers unions bargaining new contracts were summoned to a special negotiating session, where the administration promised it would offer a “significant” improvement to their pathetic salary proposal made in December. What we heard was another insult—and a waste of time for the more than 100 rank-and-file members and leaders from more than half a dozen unions who scrambled their schedules to attend.
The university’s “significant” movement (click here to read their proposal) took place to the right of the decimal points: a 3% salary increase (instead of 2.25%) in the first year of the contract, plus a 1% one-time lump sum payment; a 2.75% increase (instead of 2%) in the second year; and a 2.5% increase (instead of 2%) in the third and fourth years.
That’s still a significant wage CUT once inflation is taken into account. There would be no additional increase for underpaid grad workers and adjunct faculty, leaving them further than ever from a living wage. To add insult to injury, the administration wants to defer raises each year—by three months instead of six—so you’d lose a quarter of this year’s paltry inrease. And they want to keep the power to declare a “fiscal emergency” to cancel any increases at all, while promising not to invoke an emergency for just two years.
Management’s representatives claimed they can’t remember seeing such a “generous” proposal on salaries. They must not be aware that educators across the country have been winning much larger increases: grad workers and postdocs in the University of California system, adjunct faculty at the New School, full-time faculty at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
But it took a strike for those educators and researchers to force their administrations to come up with raises that actually are significant. The administration just proved again why you should vote YES to authorize a strike if union leadership calls one because the administration fails to bargain a fair contract. If you haven’t voted yet, you should have received a reminder email from Election Runner at around 10 a.m.—check your inbox and spam folders and cast your ballot. If you can’t find an Election Runner email, contact us at email@example.com.
Once you vote, or if you have already, talk to your colleagues. Tell them why you voted yes, discuss this latest shameful pay offer, and sign up for a phone bank tonight and tomorrow. If people have questions, tell them they can look for answers in our 2023 Strike FAQ. You can download a “Vote YES” flier to post on bulletin boards and your office door.
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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