Bargaining update #1 (June 13, 2022)

The following bargaining update was emailed out to members on June 16, 2022. We will continue to post bargaining updates to the website and email out the most important updates as we continue with contract negotiations.

Dear colleagues,

The first bargaining session for our next contract took place last Monday afternoon. The administration has not yet committed to a regular schedule of sessions nor have they provided a date for our next bargaining session. They did agree to a special session to discuss our merger with the FT/grad unit, where they are expected to raise any concerns they have. We have only a tentative date for that thus far (June 22).

After each bargaining session, our union will provide an update, written by a rotating cast of member-observers who are attending negotiations. I’ve written the first report. Since we don’t want to overwhelm you with emails, we’ll only send out messages for essential updates. But there will be a report after each weekly bargaining session, and you’ll find all of them at the Bargaining Updates section of our website. If you have any questions, email us at ptl@rutgersaaup.org.

In solidarity,

Matt Midgett, At-Large Camden Representative, PTL-AAUP-AFT

Bargaining Update #1 – June 13, 2022

Takeaways 

  • After a 20 minute delay to the start of our bargaining session on the administration’s behalf, 6 of our members, along with 4 full-time faculty colleagues, presented our Summary of Proposals, combining personal anecdotes, regional and national statistics and trends, and our guiding philosophy that equal work should be equally compensated. A combination of PTLs, tenured and non-tenured full-time faculty, and graduate workers totalled over 50 individuals present on our behalf. 
  • We emphasized our continued demand for the administration to recognize the democratic expression of both our union and the full-time faculty/graduate workers union by accepting the results of this past Spring’s merger campaign and treating us as the #OneFaculty we are. President Holloway and administration officials have refused to immediately recognize the merger, though the administration has promised to meet with us to discuss their concerns. We have a tentative, unconfirmed date of June 22 for this discussion.
  • We recalled President Holloway’s previous admission that adjunctification is a problem and outlined the core proposals crafted from Fall 2021’s contract survey that we believe will work to solve this problem: pay parity with our non-tenured full-time colleagues, multi-year job appointments that will not only strengthen but create job security, and a proposal for health care coverage for PTLs teaching half-time or more. 
  • We offered the administration an opportunity to ask any questions regarding our proposals that they may have. They informed us that they had not yet had a chance to look over our proposals as a group but wondered what all our proposals—which simply address our unjust treatment—would cost should they agree to them. 

Positives

This session marked a strong entryway for our union onto the stage of open bargaining. Cameras were on, flooding the three pages of Zoom screens with both our union members and their union background. We offered ambitious proposals that work together to bring an end to our contingency and return respect to the labor we accomplish by paying us a livable wage, providing us with access to health care, and rethinking our evaluation system with a holistic approach. These presentations were given by our members who know our working conditions better than anyone else. 

Our post-bargaining meeting allowed members who didn’t speak during the bargaining session a chance to provide their perspective on how things went. Many felt the right tone was struck on our behalf and were eager to attend the next session. 

Negatives

The administration has yet to provide us with a date for an agreed upon meeting to discuss their refusal to recognize the merger between our union and the full-time faculty/graduate workers union. In addition, they did not provide us with a date for our next bargaining session nor did they let us know when they will provide such a date. Outside of minor clarification questions the administration’s only question addressed the cost of agreeing to these proposals. Though not unsurprising, it’s frustrating to hear that the administration still understands our lack of basic human and labor rights as an issue of balancing the budget, rather than as being about the quality of education for our students. We currently make up less than 1% of the budget, and Rutgers’ “rainy day fund” of net unrestricted reserves increased by more than $200 million over the course of the pandemic. In other words, Rutgers has the money to pay us a fair wage. Moving forward, we must insist the administration stops treating us as a drain on resources and starts investing in quality education. 

Upcoming

Though we have not yet been provided our next bargaining session date, we will keep our members updated as the administration communicates with us. In the meantime, we encourage you all to join us at the Board of Governors meeting in New Brunswick next Tuesday, June 21st as we fight for our recognition as #OneFaculty. 

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