NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University officials say they are "making progress" with the labor union representing faculty, but still the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers - representing 4,800 full-time faculty and graduate employees - is considering a first-ever strike.
University officials say they have met 33 times with the union since March 2018 and are scheduled to be two more times by the end of this month,
"The parties are making progress and the university continues to negotiate in good faith," said Dory Devlin, a Rutgers spokesperson.
Devlin said agreements have been reached with six of Rutgers’ labor unions that have provided employees, in general, 3 percent raises in each of the next three years and a 2.5 percent increase in the final year. Rutgers has also reached tentative agreements with one additional staff union, which is currently engaged in the ratification process.
At this point, about 25 percent of our unionized workforce have come to an agreement or are in the process of ratification, Devlin said, noting "We are continuing to negotiate in good faith and on a regular basis with the remaining unions."
Union leaders say 88 percent of its members have given the green light for a strike - which, they say, would be the first in the history of the university and the first-ever among tenured faculty at a Big 10 school.
The union is calling for an improved ratio of full-time faculty to students, as well as equal pay for women faculty and salary increases for teaching assistants, who earn $26,000 per year. They have not had a raise since 2013, according to the union.
Other union priorities:
- Cost of living raises for all faculty, pay equity across the university's three campuses;
- Hiring and retention of faculty from historically underrepresented groups, transparency in promotion standards so more female faculty can rise to ranks of Full and Distinguished Professor;
- Five-year contracts for graduate employees, teaching tenure for Non-Tenure Track (NTT) faculty and longer-term appointments for Part-Time Lecturers;
- Academic freedom both inside and outside the classroom, as well as on social media and online; and communication;
- Lower healthcare costs, freeze tuition for undergraduate students, zero tuition for Ph.D. students, and expanded state funding of the Educational Opportunity Fund programs to increase student access, diversity and success.