Welcome back! We are returning to the classroom this Fall with strong new contracts, thanks to our collective organizing during the Spring contract campaign and first-ever strike by academic workers at Rutgers. We hope you’re as proud of these contracts as we are: the gains we made, especially for the lowest-paid and most vulnerable educators and researchers at Rutgers, have set a new standard in US public higher education. If you want to refresh your memory, click here to read the highlights of the new agreements.
Just as important as what we won is how we won. We made the gains we did because hundreds and ultimately thousands of our members mobilized to take action. We came together across our different ranks and overcame the divisions and obstacles the administration put in our way. Our new contracts are a celebration of that unity and hard work.
But there’s a saying in the labor movement: the better the contract, the more there is to defend. President Holloway’s administration spent the summer systematically violating our contracts and sparking anger at their undemocratic and insulting behavior. Here are some of the lowlights:
- A cruel, cynical, and completely unnecessary tuition increase that will place new burdens on our students and their families.
- The removal of Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor despite her strong support from faculty, students, and the Newark community.
- Late appointments letters and arbitrary course cancellations for adjunct faculty, with administrators citing non-existent rules to impose course-load limits and enrollment minimums, undercutting salary gains and impeding advancement.
- Chief Financial Officer J. Michael Gower’s attempt to push the cost of our salary increases onto departments and schools, in violation of the administration’s contractual responsibility to centrally fund raises for grant-based faculty, postdocs, and grad workers.
- Rejections of a majority of applications for COVID funding extensions for graduate students, also in violation of our contract.
- Merger of the medical schools over the opposition of students, faculty, and the communities they serve, which resulted in a no-confidence vote in President Holloway by the University Senate Executive Board.
- More violations of the faculty salary equity program, with Camden faculty again disproportionately shortchanged.
We’ll be writing to you in the coming weeks about what we’re doing to stop the Holloway administration from undermining our contract victories. Here are two dates to mark on your calendar now: Friday, September 22, when President Holloway gives his State of the University address before the University Senate in New Brunswick; and Thursday, October 5, when the Board of Governors meets in Newark. You can click here for flyers to post in your building about our contract highlights and the unnecessary tuition hike.
Rutgers AAUP-AFT, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, and AAUP-BHSNJ