Once again, we are faced with a misleading “update” on labor negotiations from President Holloway, in which what he does NOT say is more instructive than what he does say.
- The Holloway administration has refused point blank to offer ANY additional salary increases to our graduate workers to raise their pay to a living wage. Instead, the administration wants them to accept an effective pay cut because of inflation, leaving them further behind. President Holloway has also rejected our proposals for grad fellows to be represented by our union, which would allow us to bargain over stipend amounts and health care. Raising grad worker pay helps little if we can’t also raise their stipends. And even as his update acknowledged “all the disruptions that the COVID pandemic caused,” Holloway has refused to consider an extra year of central funding for grads affected by COVID.
This position is indefensible. Graduate students are essential to Rutgers’ status as a top research university, and his unwillingness to even discuss their demands threatens not only to harm individual students and their families struggling with the high cost of living, but also to damage our graduate programs in the longer term. Given the successful graduate organizing and strikes close to home at New York University, Columbia, Princeton, Yale, and Temple, Rutgers will not be not be able to compete with its peers by offering substandard wages and benefits.
- The small additional pay increase offered to adjunct faculty not only lags behind inflation but doesn’t come close to providing equal pay for equal work with non-tenure-track colleagues who teach the same courses. Under management’s proposal, adjuncts would be paid just $6,936 for a three-credit class by 2026, thousands of dollars below our current proposal. Management also keeps rejecting our proposals for meaningful job security or access to health insurance. Adjuncts teach over 30 percent of undergraduate classes, mentoring tens of thousands of Rutgers students. The administration’s proposal would do little to end the precarious working conditions of adjuncts, and it would perpetuate a system that harms students.
- The administration is offering postdocs the same effective wage cut as everyone else for the first two years of the contract. They are proposing a small additional raise in years three and four to bring postdoc salaries to the NIH minimum salary, but this would leave them far behind the NIH pay scale, which takes years of experience into account.
- The supposedly “generous” overall proposal of 12 percent over four years for full-time faculty would still be a substantial pay cut once inflation is taken into account. They are offering lump-sum payments in the first two years of the contract, but those would not be added to our base salaries. This offer does not begin to approach the amount negotiated by faculty at other universities. Earlier this year, for instance, faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago won an 18 percent increase over four years.
- As we wrote earlier today, Holloway’s negotiators basically said no to our proposal for real job security for non-tenure-track full-time faculty—even to proposals that wouldn’t cost the university anything. In so doing, they refuse once again to recognize Rutgers’ large contingent workforce.
It is disappointing that President Holloway refuses to provide engaged leadership and speak forthrightly about what IS happening at the bargaining table. In a pattern that has become evident over the past two and a half years, he seems more concerned with optics than substance. As a case in point, President Holloway has not attended a single bargaining session since our contract expired, despite our repeated entreaties for him to do so.
To correct his misleading information, we urge you to talk to your students about the administration’s resistance to our core demands, including a living wage for all workers, equal pay for equal work, and a fair salary increase that keeps pace with inflation. To help inform your students, our Strike Manual section on “Canvas during the Strike” has a prepared message that you can post.
Finally, you received emails from the leadership of your campus chapters earlier today with information on our plans for escalating actions this week. If President Holloway and his administration think that they can mislead students, staff, and faculty into thinking an agreement is near, they are very wrong. Until management changes course to address our core demands, we have no other choice than to prepare for a strike to win fair contracts and a better Rutgers that truly values its workers and its students.
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Amy Higer, President, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union
Bryan Sacks, Vice President, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union
Howie Swerdloff, Secretary, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union
Donna Murch, New Brunswick Chapter President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Hank Kalet, Vice President for New Brunswick, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union
Manu Chander, Newark Chapter President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Caitlin Dudek, Vice President for Newark, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union
Jim Brown, Camden Chapter President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Paul More, Vice President for Camden, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union
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