Info Sessions and Meetings Today:
- 10 a.m.: Information Session | Click here to RSVP
- 12 noon: Information Session (Grad Focus) | Click here to RSVP
- 3 p.m.: Information Session | Click here to RSVP
- 5 p.m.: All-Union Town Hall Meeting | Click here to RSVP
- Full schedule of info sessions and meetings this week
Tonight, after an all-Coalition town hall meeting (featuring our own Naomi Klein; click here to RSVP), ballots will go out to members via email for our ratification vote on the tentative agreement. Watch your inbox for an email from Election Runner; it will contain your ballot and voting instructions. You’ll have until Monday, April 5, at 5 p.m. to vote.
We’ve written to you daily this week to get you information about the tentative agreement and union resources to help you understand what it means for you. Today, we want to tell you why we’re voting yes—and why we hope you do, too.
We think this tentative agreement is a critical step forward on the core demands of our people-centered alternative to the pandemic. We didn’t get everything we wanted. In particular, while we forced the University to create a grad extension program and then won improvements in the program announced by Rutgers in early March on the three campuses, the improvements aren’t enough to fully fix a confusing and inadequate process. That said, we were able to secure a commitment for the program to run through Spring 2022, and we won vital protections and enforcement for many of our most vulnerable TA/GA members.
Overall, we think the tentative agreement makes gains for the members of all our Coalition unions—and where it falls short, it puts us in a better position to fight for more in the future. Here are the highlights:
- Our staff colleagues have a no-layoff guarantee through January 1, 2022.
- Authority for hiring PTLs was returned to the deans, effectively overturning the hiring freeze that led to job cuts in the fall and spring.
- The grad extension program was expanded to include Spring 2022, and our TA/GAs who qualify will keep their union salary and benefits. Management didn’t commit in writing to granting extensions to any grad who needs them, but the tentative agreement puts our union—full-time faculty and grads together—in a position to fight for universal extensions (watch this video made by our grad leaders for more).
- We won back our raises and TA/GA minimums that were canceled when the university declared a “fiscal emergency.” We will get these on a deferred basis, but management wanted to eliminate them altogether.
- Management won’t be allowed to declare a fiscal emergency this fiscal year or next, through the end of our contract on June 30, 2022.
Just as important to us as these specific gains is the bigger picture. Our Coalition of Rutgers Unions stood together, fighting for a people-centered alternative for more than a year, and for the first time, we forced management to negotiate with us as a Coalition. Our proposal for full-time faculty to furlough under a work-sharing proposal that protects their income by filing for a short-time benefit through the New Jersey unemployment system is a concrete example of what it means to stand up for the vulnerable—because an injury to one is an injury to all.
We’re not voting yes because we think we’ve won and we’re done with organizing. If this tentative agreement is ratified, we need to start working now to win more. But we’re proud of the accomplishments contained in this tentative agreement and see its ratification as the next step in those struggles. In challenging the Barchi administration’s declaration of a fiscal emergency, we’ve demonstrated to the Holloway administration that we are now stronger as a union, as a Coalition, and as the workers who make this university work!
Voting starts tonight. In the meantime, please take advantage of all the resources for understanding the tentative agreement:
- Full Schedule of Information Sessions and Meetings
- Infographic: What We Fought For
- Highlights of the Tentative Agreement
- Full Text of the Tentative Agreement
- Work-Sharing and Furloughs FAQ
Lastly, please come to our all-union town hall tonight (click here to RSVP).
Todd and Becky
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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Find the latest messages to members and union statements here.
Watch Todd’s video on the battles for our union today.