Three faculty unions ratify labor contract agreements with U. through majority vote
Today, three Rutgers faculty unions announced their approval of new labor contracts with the University after a membership-wide ratification vote, according to a press release.
The contracts' ratification follows the suspension of a historic five-day teaching strike organized by the Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT), the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union (PTLFC) and the American Association of University Professors at the Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey (AAUP–BHSNJ).
Ninety-three percent of ballot-casting members across all three unions voted to ratify a tentative agreement — the outcome of months of negotiations between University negotiators and the unions' bargaining representatives.
In a press conference at Paul Robeson Plaza on the College Avenue campus, union spokespeople heralded the new contracts' financial compensation structures and increased job security for lecturers, full-time faculty, graduate workers and other instructors.
The unions' leadership emphasized the University community's support during the contract campaign process and discussed ongoing contract negotiation efforts for other Rutgers employee unions.
Additionally, the union leaders discussed their proposal to establish the "Rutgers Beloved Community Fund" with voluntary contributions from members and an annually recurring monetary commitment from Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.).
Rebecca Kolins Givan, the president of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT and an associate professor at the School of Management and Labor Relations, said the University administration rescinded its offer to match $250,000 of the union's contributions to the proposed community fund.
"We want Rutgers to step up and do the right thing," she said. "We're optimistic — we need to settle the open contracts for 6,000 staff first and then move forward. We know how to fight. We don't know if it'll take a strike every time, but we know that our members are willing to strike."
Liana Katz, the vice president for graduate workers at the AAUP-AFT and a graduate student at the School of Arts and Sciences, said she feels the unions have partially succeeded in their contract demands but continue to deal with inequity issues such as graduate workers making below a living wage, even after the approved raises.
She said she believes substantial progress is yet to be achieved for Rutgers students and employees despite the gains secured in the ratified contracts.
"To (undergraduates), those who are graduating, those who are still going to be here at Rutgers and to community members — this is your University. You make it what it is, along with all the workers here," Katz said. "We all have the power to create the University that we want to see together."