Table of Contents
1. Fight for pay equity across all three Rutgers campuses (Newark, Camden and New Brunswick)
2. Gain automatic yearly cost-of-living raises every year plus merit/FCP raises
3. Address salary compression so that long-term faculty don’t lag behind newer faculty
4. Win equal pay for equal work for part-time lecturers (PTLs); this involves a fractional salary structure with the minimum payment for a course set at $7250
5. Establish disability/sick leave separate from family leave and have it cover all faculty
6. Change the sabbatical program to include one semester of leave at 100% pay after six semesters of accumulated service or one year at 100% after 12 semesters of accumulated service for all faculty
7. Establish a PhD-level Educational Opportunity Fund
The pay gaps between Newark and Camden, on the one hand, and New Brunswick, on the other, are an open secret. They reflect the poverty in Essex County and throughout South Jersey, including Camden County. In the past, some justified this inequity on the basis of talent and competitiveness: New Brunswick, as the most “highly rated” campus, attracted the most talented faculty and, therefore, paid a premium for them. That logic – if it ever held – does not apply to the current academic job market. A glut of recent PhDs, combined with nationwide austerity, has sent extremely qualified junior scholars to universities of every category. The three Rutgers campuses can no longer claim to sift scholars by potential or accomplishment. Instead, the salary hierarchy contributes to prejudice, balkanizes the institution, and impedes retention and recruitment. It is time to even the scales among our campuses and unify Rutgers as a single talent pool.
The Union’s study of University salary data reveals a systemic, statistically valid discrepancy among tenure-track faculty in the three schools of arts and sciences (as shown below). On average, the given Camden faculty earn 80% and the given Newark faculty 90% of the salaries of their New Brunswick peers. The Union is working to address these disparities and will propose one-time equity corrections.
As a matter of dignity and fairness, the salaries of all who work for a living should keep up with inflation, allow for an improved quality of life, and recognize their unique and valuable contributions. Absent that security, one cannot plan for children, housing, or retirement. Recent faculty contracts at Rutgers have not addressed this issue directly. Instead, we have bargained for and obtained across-the-board raises that reflected recent events and the balance of forces between labor and management. In the 2018 contract, we would like to supplement that approach in part with a systematic cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) as a foundation of their continued employment. When surveyed in the Fall, 96% of the membership supported this proposal.
COLAs appear in union contracts across a variety of sectors. To take one example from higher education, the AAUP chapter at Portland State University recently negotiated a particularly sophisticated COLA. As one might expect, their adjustment is pegged to the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (as published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics). The parties to that agreement went a step further: to protect both the Administration and the Union from wild fluctuations, the contract establishes upper and lower limits to the COLA. The precise language in their 2015-2019 agreement states:
“Bargaining unit members employed on a 12-month basis on January 1 in each year of this Agreement, starting January 1, 2017, shall receive a percentage increase to their base pay equal to the percent change in the CPI, provided that the percentage increase in CPI is not less than 1.5% or more than 3.5%. If the percentage increase in CPI is less than 1.5%, then the percentage increase in base pay shall be 1.5%; if the percentage increase in CPI is greater than 3.5%, then the percentage increase in base pay shall be 3.5%.”
We do not expect inflation to change greatly during the upcoming contract period. Between November 2016 and November 2017, the CPI stood at 2.2%, a figure almost exactly equal to the across-the-board increase in Year 3 of our current Union contract.
This COLA would supplement, rather than, replace other negotiated raises. Indeed, the COLA cannot stand alone, as, by nature, it fails to address salary compression or inequities by hiring date, gender, race, ethnicity, rank or school/campus among faculty. The COLA, in other words, would establish a universal salary raise, upon which some members might layer across-the-board raises, merit- or equity-based increases, and other forms of salary correction in a given year.
In the 1990s, Rutgers rapid rise in national status lead to salary compression and other distortions. In an effort to attract top candidates, the Administration began to pay higher salaries to new assistant professors than it was paying to longer-serving assistant professors and even tenured associate professors. The resulting salary compression affected tenure-track, as well as NTT, faculty. One consequence of the salary freeze of 2010 is that new faculty hired afterwards received increases while their colleagues were still catching up on payments from the previous contract period, further compounding the situation. Meanwhile, some of the existing faculty – especially those both mobile and without family obligations – obtained out-of-cycle increases. The across-the-board and merit-based increases since 2014 have not corrected these tendencies. In short, the conventional salary scenario – in which a 10% gap separates the professorial ranks – stands in disarray. The chart below documents this relentless increase in underpayment (prorated per capita). Currently, hundreds of tenured and tenure-track faculty earn less than 91% of the mean for their rank and unit (unit defined as the school or quadripartite division for the three schools of arts and sciences). The Union is setting out to address this discrepancy.
Win equal pay for equal work for part-time lecturers (PTLs); this involves a fractional salary structure with the minimum payment for a course set at $7250
Part-time faculty earn poverty wages. This is true across the nation. Part-time faculty are treated as if they are freelancers, with no job security. They are paid piecemeal, by the course, which in no way reflects either the scope of the work or the expectation of their responsibilities.
Fractional appointments for PTLs would resolve this pay inequity. Some of our peers in the Big Ten have already implemented the concept of fractional appointments.
Fractional appointments, where part-time salaries are calculated at a commensurate fraction of the full-time equivalent salary for a teaching position, would assure that PTLs earn professional pay. They would assure that part-time faculty are part of the professional team of instructors in each department, and assure as well that standards of teaching excellence continue to be met.
We believe in One Faculty. If an instructor is hired to teach at Rutgers, full-time or part-time, he/she deserves professional pay.
In order to be at their best, faculty and all University employees should have the essential support needed for balancing work and family responsibilities.
The Union’s contract for full-time faculty and graduate employees currently guarantees six weeks of recuperative paid leave after birth and an additional eight weeks for those with classroom and committee service obligations (the eight-week release from classroom and committee service obligations is available for all new parents). Currently there are grant-funded research faculty and graduate employees who do not enjoy these guarantees. In the interest of equity and fairness, the Union will be working to expand and extend current family/parenting benefits to all in our Union.
With regard to one’s own or a family member’s illness, there currently exists no sick leave accrual provisions in the contract. Departments/units have historically relied on a “closed ranks” process to cover the duties of faculty members who need to take time away due to an illness. While this system has provided flexibility and coverage over the years, it falls short in terms of guaranteed sick leave and protections needed. Further, approval for time off because one is too sick to work or needs to care for a sick child shouldn’t be discretionary or able to be denied arbitrarily — or dependent upon “available” funds in a department or unit. The University must financially support a system that provides guaranteed and fair access to time off.
The current eligibility requirements for sabbatical leaves are as follows:
Assistant Professors (tenure-track): One semester of leave at 100% salary after six semesters of accumulated service.
One semester of leave at 80% salary after six semesters of accumulated service.
One semester of leave at 100% salary after 12 semesters of accumulated service.
Two semesters of leave at 80% salary after 12 semesters of accumulated service.
When asked to diversify the Tenure-Track faculty, Rutgers administration frequently refers to a narrow “pipeline” of scholars of color. In this view, too few doctoral students of color complete their degrees and come on the academic job market. Certainly, first-generation and low-income students – and their families –are often loath to gamble on the long-odds on investment in liberal arts training and graduate school. Hence, the Union would like to change the odds and enlarge the pipeline. We would propose to do so by expanding New Jersey’s Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF). Established in 1968, this state-run program has allowed tens of thousands of low-income New Jerseyans to successfully complete college. Along with other state and federal aid, the grant helps cover their tuition, mandatory fees and other expenses and provides each student with a dedicated advisor for her entire undergraduate career. We propose to extend this program to the doctoral level at Rutgers. In that case, the Administration would give a six-year funding package to any alum of an EOF undergraduate program in the state. We would name this program “EOF+6” and advertise it to all current and past EOF students. Thus, freshmen and women would identify a full decade of support, preparing them for a professorship. Over the long-term, EOF+6 could shape a more inclusive, representative faculty at Rutgers.