Historic Victories for Our Union

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

We have won a historic contract and have signed a tentative agreement that you will soon vote on. Over the past week, our “final warning” to the BOG, our preparations and readiness to walk off the job, and very late-night bargaining changed the game. At the very precipice of a strike, the Administration finally conceded to a contract with equity, security, and dignity. See below for a list of the concrete gains we have won for every segment of the full-time faculty and grad workers.

Equity raises: For the first time in our almost 50-year history, our union has made it possible for women and faculty of color to obtain pay equity. In short, we won provisions for equal pay for equal work, including for faculty in Camden and Newark earning less than comparable New Brunswick scholars. Faculty will apply through an expanded out-of-cycle process, backed up with an appeal process and the University’s commitment to pay raises from central funds. That last stipulation overrides the destructive budget model of Responsibility Center Management (RCM). All faculty are eligible to apply for an equity correction if you believe that you are paid less than your peers.

Significant salary gains: In addition to providing our members with the opportunity to achieve equity raises to redress gender, race and other forms of discrimination, we won significant gains for our grad employee members. In the first two years of our contract, their salaries will increase by $2,600 (10% for academic year employees). By the end of this contract period, TA and GA salaries will go from $25,969 to $30,162 for academic year workers.

All FT faculty will receive the following salary increases:

  • July 1, 2018  – $3,642
  • July 1, 2019 – 3% across-the-board
  • July 1, 2020 – 3% merit
  • July 1, 2021 – 2.5% across-the-board

For all members, retroactive payments will be processed going back to July 1, 2018.

Gender and Race Equity: We also won $20 million for diversity hiring. In another historic first, the University agreed to a committee composed equally of our members and members of management, co-chaired by the SPVAA and a person selected by our union. The Diversity Committee will be charged with planning systematic changes to our University’s approach to gender, race and diversity.

Protecting the jobs and expanding the rights of TA/GAs: We won important protections against the conversion of TAships to PTL positions. Before candidacy, any PhD student who teaches must be employed as a teaching assistant. We also bargained contract provisions to ensure that all grads who are performing bargaining unit work are in TA or GA positions. In addition, the Union bargained language requiring lactation spaces to be provided for all faculty and staff in compliance with the law – an essential protection for graduate student parents. Availability of lactation space is enforceable through our new contract.

Academic Freedom: For the first time in our history, academic freedom is recognized in our contract for all unit members and expressly applies to social media.

Infosilem: Also for the first time, the Administration agreed to negotiate over a software package – Infosilem – that raises grave concerns over faculty course scheduling.

NTT Faculty: We won meaningful job security for our NTT colleagues who until now had few, if any, protections against arbitrary non-renewals. An NTT faculty member cannot be re-appointed for a term shorter than her or his previous term. And after six years, she will receive a minimum three-year contract upon reappointment. Also, at any point, NTTs may be (re)appointed for a seven-year term. For the first time ever NTTs have a grievance procedure that empowers them to challenge non-reappointments and decisions not to promote. Finally, the University has shifted from its “no-green card” policy. Rutgers may now sponsor NTT faculty for permanent residency in the United States.

Protections against sexual harassment and gender and race discrimination: We now have a guarantee of a workplace free of harassment and stalking, enforced with binding arbitration.

Ten-year rule for Associate Professors: We formalized this important alternative route to promotion. External letter writers shall be instructed to give increased weight to teaching and service for faculty with ten years in rank. This is a significant gain for all Associate Professors, particularly for women who often do tremendous amounts of under-recognized service. Also, the ten-year rule will now reward teachers robustly for providing quality public higher education.

Principal investigators: In a victory previously won away from the table, Rutgers no longer charges GAs out-of-state tuition on grants managed by faculty. In-state tuition applies to all TAs/GAs, including international scholars.

Our work is not done! Our Union also represents Part-Time Faculty, who are in a separate bargaining unit and must negotiate a separate contract.  Our work is not done until our PTL sisters and brothers have won a fair contract, that appropriately recognizes their vital role in teaching our undergraduate and graduate students.  The AAUP-AFT will immediately turn to bargaining a contract for PTLs that mirrors the historic gains won by full-time faculty.

Ratification is next: It is now up to all our members to vote to ratify this contract. Ballots are being prepared. Please also attend chapter meetings next week (details will be sent soon) to discuss the details of our tentative agreement.

Solidarity with PTLS: Our full-time faculty and graduate members will continue to do everything in our collective ability to help win significant raises and health care for our adjunct colleagues, starting immediately. We call on our members, students and allies to join us Wednesday, April 17, for Solidarity actions on all campuses. In New Brunswick, join us at 4pm at the new Paul Robeson Plaza at Seminary and College Ave. In Camden, meet at 11:20am at the Walt Whitman statue in front of the Camden Student Center. In Newark, meet at 2:30pm on the steps of the Robeson Student Center.

In solidarity,
The Bargaining Team

Carlos Decena
Niki Dykstra
Lauren Frazee
Charles Häberl
David Hughes
Carla Katz
Deepa Kumar
Patrick Nowlan
Patrice Mareschal
Victoria Pacheco
BJ Walker
Steve Weissman