Bargaining Update: December 19th, 2022
Rutgers Adjunct Union member Randy Pearlstein, who teaches in the New Brunswick Creative Writing program, wrote these notes on the “large open” session this past Monday. We invite members to be notetakers at future sessions.
Although management acknowledged current contracts and changes happening at Universities across the country, they were not prepared to move in those directions.
Bryan Sacks, our vice-president, began the session addressing the administration’s counter to our Article 4: Equal Work for Equal Pay. They had received our proposal in June. They countered it, mainly striking everything.
They proposed a 2.25% raise for the first six months of the contract and a 2% raise each of the remaining 3 years. No PTLs would receive any raise for the Fall 2022 term.
With inflation above 7% this counter-proposal would amount to a proposed pay cut for 95% of PTLs. In addition it would be a wholesale rejection of our principle of equal pay for equal work. We reminded them of the fact that PTLs do virtually identical work to our full time non tenure track teaching faculty and we want to be considered as equals.
A number of our members spoke during the session to address Equal Pay for Equal Work. Amongst them, Cynthia Saltzman who is a 30 year faculty member and University Senator since 2011, described how her workload and responsibilities mirrored those of her full time colleagues.
Other union members gave testimony about how they had fluctuated between NTT and PTL contracts while teaching the exact same classes and doing the exact same work. But when they worked as PTLs, they were paid much less. Standard of living increases were not being addressed and the current proposal from the administration would serve to freeze and normalize the status quo. After 43 years of teaching, Karen Thompson, another University Senator, has a $35,000 salary which is still more than many PTLs.
Members in our Caucus Room were unified and resolute in the demand for Equal Pay for Equal Work. Our members believe that a stronger contract, with the administration recognizing that we are NTTs, would improve our work in the classroom. The current model is not serving our students.
Universities are already providing the health care and other benefits that we are seeking while Rutgers is not. When management was asked if they had been following what has been going on around the country at other schools and what they would be doing to incorporate those principles of equality and change, they did not yet have an answer. They see the changes at other schools but are not yet making those changes here at Rutgers.
Randy Pearlstein, Creative Writing, New Brunswick