Read the full PTL Tentative Agreement
After more than a year of forceful activism by our members and fierce tenacity by our team at the bargaining table, we are thrilled to say that we have won truly meaningful pay increases, career advancement for PTLs and multi-semester appointments for the first time, increases to the professional development fund, priority of appointment for long term PTLs, a professional evaluation process leading to advancement, protections against discrimination and harassment, a stronger grievance procedure, and other significant protections. This transformative contract makes great strides to finally recognize our professionalism and our vital contributions to the university.
In preparation for this round of negotiations, we researched best practices and uncovered a disturbing national trend of increasingly precarious faculty. Nationally, 70% of faculty positions are contingent, including adjuncts and non-tenure track faculty. That trend is mirrored here at Rutgers where PTL faculty have continued to be vulnerable and underpaid despite teaching more than 30% of all courses. While we successfully negotiated significant gains in prior contracts, we knew we had more work to do. In this tentative agreement, we make notable and exciting steps forward.
Here are some highlights of our Tentative Agreement (TA) for 2018-2022:
A Path to Career Advancement
For the first time, we have won a career path for PTLs. We now have three (3) levels of advancement—PTL, PTL 2, and PTL 3. After 12 semesters, PTLs are eligible to advance to PTL 2 with a 9% increase in base pay. After an additional 12 semesters, PTL 2s may advance to the next level of PTL 3 with an additional pay increase of 9% of base pay. This is in addition to the negotiated across-the-board (ATB) wage increases. We made sure that the accrued semesters required for advancement need not be consecutive nor within the same department. Those PTLs who are immediately eligible for advancement to PTL 2 or PTL 3 will be evaluated during the Fall 2019 semester and will receive an increase in Spring 2020.
Significant Pay Increases
The contract has across-the-board (ATB) wage increases of more than 12% compounded over the life of the contract (3% retroactive to Fall 2018, 3% Fall 2019, 3% Fall 2020, 2.5% Fall 2021.) Those who advance to PTL 3 will see a raise of 33 percent over the four years, while those who advance to PTL 2 will see a raise of 23 percent over the life of the contract. Nearly 1,100 PTLs, approximately 40 percent of the part-time faculty, will be eligible for advancement over the course of the contract. PTLs who were employed for at least 12 semesters prior to Fall 2018 and advance to PTL 2 will earn a salary of at least $6,636 per 3 credit course by the end of the contract. Similarly situated PTL 3s will earn a salary of at least $7,234 per 3 credit course by the end of the contract.
Achieving greater job security was one of our important negotiations goals. We have achieved the proverbial foot in the door by winning language that requires two-semester appointments for PTL 3s who have taught at least one course each semester in the prior 6 academic years of consecutive service. This is the first time we have achieved firm multi-semester appointments as a part of our contract.
Priority in Appointment
In prior contracts we achieved protections for our longstanding PTLs with 10 semesters of service in terms of priority of appointment. We have defended and strengthened our ability to grieve a violation of this important protection, including during a break in service of up to four semesters.
A Stronger Grievance Procedure
This contract now has a stronger grievance procedure to redress wrongs. Priority of appointment is now grievable, even if a PTL has a break in service of up to four semesters. PTLs who are seeking advancement will now be able to grieve issues connected to their evaluations. Now, violations of discrimination and harassment are grievable to binding arbitration.
Enhanced Professional Development Fund
In prior contracts, we negotiated a Professional Development Fund (PDF) that reimburses PTLs for conferences and classroom materials related to teaching excellence. This is a highly valuable resource for PTLs. In this agreement, we have increased the PDF to $300,000 over the life of the contract and made sure that PTLs could apply retroactively for reimbursement for the 2018-19 academic year.
Professional Evaluations Process
For the past three years, we have participated in a Joint Committee on Evaluations and Career Advancement negotiated in our last contract. It was our goal to improve the evaluation process for PTLs as a means to achieve meaningful career advancement. We have new language in this agreement that provides a fair and efficient evaluations process which is meaningful and leads to advancement.
Protections Against Discrimination and Harassment
We have achieved new contract language to ensure that our workplaces are free from discrimination and harassment enforced with binding arbitration.
This new agreement moves PTLs forward in very essential ways. While we did not realize all of our ambitious proposals, we will continue to fight. The Union fought hard to achieve health benefits language in this contract and though we did not win contractual healthcare, we vow to continue this fight in other forums, including with the state, in coalition with other unions. In the coming years, and in future contracts, we will continue to build upon the work we’ve done to achieve greater equity on pay and status with our colleagues. A word of thanks to our full time faculty and TA/GA colleagues for standing with us to the end as well as to those other unions in our coalition who provided support and still need our support as they look to complete their own negotiations.
You will have the opportunity to attend meetings and other ratification discussions to ask questions and get more information on this groundbreaking new contract. We are proud of our achievements in this contract, and we urge you vote YES on the Tentative Agreement once ballots go out.
President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, PTL Chapter
Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, PTL Chapter