The Coalition of Rutgers Unions (CRU) is comprised of nineteen union locals representing over 20,000 Rutgers employees across the Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, and RBHS campuses. The CRU proposed a work-sharing program to the current lame-duck university administration on May 15 that would save at least $100 million for the university by the end of July while preserving every job and maintaining health benefits for all employees and their families during this public health crisis. Our hope is that President Robert Barchi, Board of Governors Chairperson Mark Angelson, or President-designate Jonathan Holloway will step forward and provide the leadership so disturbingly absent at this critical moment.
The member unions of the CRU are:
American Association of University Professors–Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey (AAUP-BHSNJ) represents faculty at Rutgers/Rowan Universities. These faculty teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, scientists, and health professionals. We also advocate for the common good, including our students, patients, and other Rutgers colleagues.
“It is unacceptable during a national pandemic for an academic health center such as Rutgers University to take health care away from so many of our most vulnerable employees.”
—Jeffrey Levine, Professor of Family Medicine, RWJMS
Part-Time Lecturer Faculty Chapter–AAUP-AFT (PTLFC-AAUP-AFT) represents adjunct faculty, known as Part-Time Lecturers, on the three Rutgers campuses. These faculties teach over 30% of all Rutgers classes, with no health benefits provided by the university and little job security.
“This spring, PTLs, who earn on average $5,500 per course, responded quickly over spring break to the university’s request that we transition our courses to an online format. We did this for our students so that they could complete their semesters. PTLs were rewarded for their hard work in the midst of the pandemic and the complete disruption to their courses with an email on April 2nd informing us that, come fall semester, hundreds of us could expect to be laid off. PTLs are now among the hundreds of other low-paid, dedicated, long-time employees at the university who have been, or will soon be, fired from their jobs. What does this mean for the university and its students? It means larger classes at a time when smaller classes are needed. It means fewer courses and the loss of dedicated teachers and mentors. Rutgers did not have to do this. This action saves little money and comes at too high a cost to the quality of education at Rutgers.”
—Amy Higer, President, PTLFC-AAUP-AFT
Committee of Interns and Residents–SEIU (CIR-SEIU) is the largest resident physician union in the country, representing doctors-in-training at Rutgers and across the state. Our members work up to 80 hours a week on the front lines of hospitals and clinics caring for patients and communities throughout New Jersey.
“During a time of national crisis where systemic racism has reached a tipping point, where our country is finally coming to grips with the reality of cruel oppression of its own black and brown citizens by entrenched institutions, Rutgers is considering dealing a devastating financial and emotional blow to some of our most vulnerable employees, many of whom are members of the same communities under siege. The university has both a social and moral responsibility to care for our colleagues by using creative methods to stop layoffs and preserve both livelihood and meaning that comes from putting in an honest day’s work.
“In seeking to lay off hundreds of necessary employees, including its custodial and dining staff, Rutgers demonstrates its ignorance to the multiple vulnerabilities to which those employees will now be directly exposed. During a global economic collapse, laid-off staff will be without employer-based health insurance that might otherwise keep them from financial ruin if they fall sick. During widespread civil disobedience against systemic racial injustice, the university is telling its black and brown staff that they are disposable. If one aspect of the university’s mission is to teach students to ‘serve […] in a global society,’ Rutgers must serve its employees during this crisis.”
Union of Rutgers Administrators–AFT (URA-AFT) represents administrative and professional employees at Rutgers University across the three main campuses of Newark, New Brunswick, and Camden, as well as others who work in programs in off-campus locations. Our members work on every facet of Rutgers’ operations as administrative assistants, business coordinators, and academic counselors; and in dining, housing, maintenance, and many other departments. We are vital and play an integral role in the seamless operations of Rutgers on a daily basis.
Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1031 represents supervisors at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS). These titles range from supervisors of maintenance and construction, and of environmental services, as well as departments that deliver medical care, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, the dental school, and academic areas.
“Rutgers has many workers who provide important services to the university. We do this during a pandemic, during hurricanes and snowstorms, and during normal working times. The CRU has offered RU a work-share plan that saves money, continues uninterrupted operations, and avoids layoffs. Furloughs protect jobs and maintain health benefits. RU is responding by sending out layoff notices. Shame on them! The RU fiscal situation can be resolved and layoffs can be avoided.”
—Kathy Hernandez, Vice President, CWA Local 1031
New Jersey Education Association–Rutgers (NJEA-Rutgers) is composed of faculty in the School of Health Professions who are directors of their academic programs, some of which are Medical Laboratory Science, Physical Therapy, Radiologic Imaging, Clinical Nutrition, and Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Services.
“Eliminating health insurance for employees living in the epicenter of the US COVID-19 pandemic is egregious.”
—Catherine Otto, President, NJEA-Rutgers
Rutgers Emergency Services–International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 5082 consists of Emergency Response Lieutenants, NFPA 25 Fire Inspectors, and Fire Inspectors serving all Rutgers-owned and -leased properties throughout the state of New Jersey. Its members have continued to provide continuous coverage to the university throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s disheartening that Rutgers Emergency Services-International Association of Fire Fighters Local 5082 members, after giving tirelessly of themselves, now have to worry about the possibility of losing our jobs, our income, and our benefits—especially health benefits in a time where we are in a public health crisis.”
—Andrew Kubinski, President, Rutgers Emergency Services-IAFF Local 5082
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 68 represents Maintenance, Construction and Critical Utility employees at Rutgers University, and we stand in total solidarity with our fellow Coalition of Rutgers Unions brothers and sisters.
“As our members are also susceptible to layoffs, we are disappointed in Rutgers for not taking any consideration in what the impact would be to employees and their families who are laid off and losing health insurance in a time where so many employees have passed from COVID-19.”
—Michael D. Lewis, Business Representative, IUOE Local 68
Rutgers American Association of University Professors–AFT (Rutgers AAUP-AFT) represents faculty, graduate workers, researchers, and professional staff on each Rutgers campus, as well as extension faculty based in each county of New Jersey.
“The administration has begun to lay off over 1,000 of our co-workers who are disproportionately brown and black. We know that it is these communities that have paid the highest price during this pandemic, and now our people-of-color colleagues will be without a job and health insurance. We are stunned by the callous calculation behind these layoffs. At this moment of national reckoning around the structural nature of racism, and standing at the national epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rutgers has chosen to be part of the problem and not part of the solution.”
—Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) Local 5089 — Rutgers Nurses and Health Professionals in the New Jersey Department of Corrections
Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) Local 5094 — Professional staff on the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences campuses
Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1040 — Rutgers supervisory employees for health services in the New Jersey Department of Corrections
Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 153 — Security officers on the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences campuses of Rutgers
Doctors Council–SEIU — Medical doctors in Rutgers student health centers
Teamsters Local 97 — Facilities, maintenance, health care, and technical staff across the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences campuses of Rutgers and in the New Jersey Department of Corrections