Our union IS our members. Rank-and-file members become the union’s elected leaders, decide the issues we fight for, determine our union’s vision, and vote on contracts and agreements with the university. Our membership gives us our power: WE can get things changed in our workplace.
Rutgers is “management,” we are “labor.” Your work may have very little in common with a steelworker’s, but the dynamic between boss and employee is universal. Workers in every occupation need to advocate for themselves to ensure a safe, respectful, and prosperous workplace.
Our dues are an investment in our future. The small dues deduction from our paychecks pays for the contract negotiations, legal representation, and organizing that win salary increases, which are literally a substantial return on your investment). Our dues pay for the lawyers and contract enforcement team who protect your job and for the union staff who help organize events and job actions. Full-time faculty pay only 1 percent of their annual salary in dues, less than most higher ed unions, automatically deducted from bi-weekly paychecks. TAs/GAs pay 0.8 percent of annual salary, postdoctoral associates pay 0.85 percent of annual salary, and adjuncts pay 1.25 percent of their semester’s wages. So, for example, a faculty member earning $80,00 per year pays $30.65 in dues per paycheck; a TA/GA making $35,335 a year pays $13.03 per paycheck; a postdoc earning the minimum salary of $56,963 a year pays $16.37 per paycheck, and a PTL 1 paid $7,788 for a 3-credit class pays $8.93 per paycheck.
There’s strength—and safety—in numbers. A few disgruntled employees may not get the attention of the university President, but 500 or 2,000 are a force to be reckoned with! Your sibling union members (a group that includes Department Chairs) stand with you when you need support and when you speak your mind.
You, too, can be an activist! Many union members are happy to pay their dues, sign an occasional petition, and vote in the union’s elections. But many want to become more involved. Fill out this contact form to get involved in your union. Union membership gives you the opportunity to get involved in many worthy causes, both in the workplace and in the community. Union members support our colleagues, we fight for environmental protection, and we challenge social and economic injustice. If you’ve ever wanted to get involved in a social justice issue but didn’t know where to begin, Rutgers AAUP-AFT is an excellent starting point.
We’re all in this together. The old song “Solidarity Forever” asks, “What force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one?” Join Rutgers AAUP-AFT and you’ll never have to find out—“for the union makes us strong!”