NEW BRUNSWICK - More than 100 Rutgers faculty members and students protested outside the university Board of Governors meeting Thursday and spoke out during the meeting demanding equal pay for instructors on the three campuses in Newark, Camden and New Brunswick.
Currently, faculty at the Newark campus are paid 10 percent less than those at the main campus in New Brunswick, and the Camden faculty earn about 20 percent less that their New Brunswick counterparts, said Robert Snyder, director of the graduate American Studies Program at the Newark campus and the head of the faculty union for that campus.
"We're one university. We have to go for the same benchmarks for faculty advancement, but somehow, abracadabra, the pay is less. In Newark and Camden, we had to build an infrastructure. We deserve the same pay," Snyder said during the protest that was held before the start of the meeting in New Brunswick.
About two dozen protesters entered Winants Hall for the meeting. When university President Robert Barchi began with his opening statement, the protestors shouted over him.
"Oh Bob Barchi. Oh Bob Barchi. How outrageous your wage is," the protestors shouted to drown out the president's comments.
During the meeting, when board members were considering a resolution to build an academic success center for student support services, instructors took the opportunity to offer comments and spoke for support for the faculty, requesting higher pay for part-time lecturers and more job security for faculty.
"We know you have the money because you gave President Barchi a raise. We are worth more than him," said David Hughes, a professor of anthropology and vice president of the Rutgers Council of AAUP Chapters. "We need equality in Camden, Newark and New Brunswick. Raise the salary for teaching assistants," said Hughes, who continued speaking even after the microphone for public comments was turned off.
Hughes said part-time lecturers are now paid $5,200 per semester. The faculty contract, he said, expired in July. Negotiations began last March, he said.
University officials said in a statement that negotiations are continuing.
"All issues related to employee contracts will be discussed at the negotiating table with the appropriate bargaining team representatives from the administration and the unions," officials said.
Agreements have been reached with five of the 24 Rutgers labor unions, the university said. Two unions, Teamsters Local 97 and OPEIU Local 153, reached agreement for the period 2018-2022 that provided for wage enhancements, alignment and streamlining of FMLA leaves, alignment of sick leaves and alignment of bereavement leaves. The wage increases for the period 2018-2022 are 3 percent for year one; 3 percent for year two; 3 percent for year three; and 2.5 percent for the final year, the university said.
The Rutgers police superiors union FOP Local 164 reached an agreement for the period 2014-2019 that merged the two police superior unions, consolidated the contractual provisions for the former units, and provided wage enhancements for the employees.
An agreement was also reached with IUOE Local 68. If ratified, the agreement will have a term of 2018-2022, the university said.
Negotiations continue with other unions.