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Our History

Rutgers faculty have been advocating for quality higher education since 1922 and first claimed collective bargaining rights in 1970

Having started as the first chapter at Rutgers of the American Association of University Professors in 1922, the full-time faculty voted to become a professional organization with collective bargaining rights under New Jersey State labor law in 1970. Our first affiliation was and continues to be with the national organization American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

National AAUP was founded in 1915 and Rutgers Professor Stanley Brasefield called to order the first meeting of the Rutgers AAUP Chapter at Rutgers College on November 2, 1922.

Graduate student employees—Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants—were added to the full-time bargaining unit in 1972, making our union one of the few in the nation to do so. The TA-GA Steering Committee within the union allows graduate student workers to come together to articulate their issues and select representatives to serve on the union's Executive Council and when a bargaining team needs to have TA-GA voices.

A second bargaining unit was created by the Part-Time Lecturer faculty in 1988, when this group of employees voted for collective bargaining rights. They have a separate Collective Agreement (contract) specific to their terms and conditions of employment. 

The Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) counselors voted for collective bargaining rights in 1989. They are a small number of full-time staff who have their own separate Collective Agreement, but they are included as members of the bargaining unit with the full-time faculty and the graduate student employees. Non-tenure track faculty are also included in this full-time bargaining unit, including those who are grant-funded and state-funded.

In 2005, the members voted to affiliate with another national organiation, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). We continue to be affiliated with the AAUP. This dual affiliation has faciliated joint organizing campaigns and a stronger faculty united on issues of concern at Rutgers.

In 2011, union members who teach during the winter session and/or summer session ratified the first contract to cover those instructors who teach during these two time periods that are not considered part of the "regular" academic year by RU administration.

Post-doctoral associates voted to unionize in 2011 and they ratified their first contract in February 2012. During the policy debate about restructuring higher education in New Jersey in 2012, we fought hard to keep Rutgers University one united university and won.

Currently, Rutgers AAUP-AFT represents more than 6,600 employees on all three campuses of Rutgers University—Camden, Newark and New Brunswick.

We defend quality higher education for our students, public policy initiatives that support research funds, and a healthy balance between athletics and academics.

To read the Bylaws of the Rutgers Council of AAUP Chapters, AAUP-AFT, please click here
To read the Bylaws of the Part-Time Lecturer Faculty Chapter of AAUP-AFT, please click here.

The Rutgers local faculty union is connected with faculty across the USA through our affiliation with the national American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

The national AAUP is celebrating 100 years of advocacy for the professional advancement of higher education faculty. "One Hundred Years - One Faculty" is the slogan for the celebration. Below: (left to right) AAUP first vice president Henry Reichman and president Rudy Fichtenbaum cut the cake at the centennial party on June 13, 2015. 

AAUP Foundation Centennial Year Logo


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