Bargaining Update: November 21, 2022
Rutgers Adjunct Union member James Robinson, who teaches in the New Brunswick Labor Studies program, wrote these notes on the “large open” session this past Monday. We invite members to be notetakers at future sessions.
- Salary Provisions (Article 4)
- Appointment (Article 6)
- Evaluations/Advancement (Article 9)
- Department Provisions (Article 7)
- Personnel Files (Article 8)
Our union raised a number of key issues with management. We received very few direct responses.
Bryan Sacks, our vice-president, began our bargaining session with Article 4 (equal pay for equal work). We want a salary based on a fraction of the minimum salary of a full time equivalent. The minimum salary for a three credit course would change from $5800 to $9909.
Management responded that equal pay for equal work would be a burden. The union countered that PTL instructors currently receive less than 1% of the entire school budget; despite the fact that we teach 30% of the classes. Our proposal would bring PTL pay to just over 1% of the overall school budget.
We continued the session highlighting our proposals within Article 6 (Appointments), and Article 7 (Department Provisions).
In terms of our terminology as Fractional NTTs, the administration noted that NTTs, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty, have different duties in some departments than PTLs. They noted that PTLs often have the same duties as NTTs as well. Bryan asked them how they would approach the similarities, differences or if they had a counter-offer. At this time management called for a 30 minute caucus. This appeared to be a tactic to drain much of our valuable negotiating time.
Upon returning to the bargaining session we repeated our proposal to recast our roles as Fractional NTTs, moving ahead from the historic Part Time Lecturer classification.
Executive Board Representative Heather Pierce discussed Article 9 (Teaching Evaluations) which envisions moving away from over-reliance on SIRS, with all its well documented biases, to a more holistic process for improvement and advancement. Examples from the corporate world were given. We discussed a wider scope in terms of the needs of students, gender and racial biases, and communications between departments and teachers.
Secretary Howie Swerdoff made the case for Article 8, Personnel Files, that people not having appointments in a given semester should still have access to their files, and also that they should be able to add their own documents to their files.
The administration ended the session asking a series of very specific questions, pulling out individual sentences rather than making clear responses to our proposals as a whole. When we asked for direct feedback or counter-offers to our articles, management appeared once again to kick the can rather than respond with engagement.
A variety of members gave testimonies that were clear and powerful. Our union representatives illustrated that the changes we are proposing are reasonable, have been accepted and are working well within other institutions.
Sherry Wolf, a longtime staff member from the Full-time union who is known by management’s negotiating team, was not allowed into the session because her name had not yet been added to the list provided to management. We felt this had nothing to do with security. We believed that the administration was delaying negotiations choosing to discuss process over substance. And they refused entry to Fauzan Amjad, the student government president, whom we had invited to give testimony on their resolution supporting equal pay for equal work (link). On what grounds?
There was also no reason given for their caucus. They appear to favor the status quo while we are working without a contract.
Next Open Bargaining Session: Monday, December 19 from 4-6pm
James Robinson, PTL, Labor Studies