The Rutgers PTL union pioneered the organization of adjunct professors, and the time is right for our union to again lead the way in fighting for and winning significant improvements in pay, benefits, and working conditions, as part of a broader movement that advocates for students and the community as well as faculty.
I have taught U.S. and New Jersey labor history in the Labor Studies department for the last seven years, and my book, Condensed Capitalism, examines how the workers at Camden's Campbell Soup Company built a strong and democratic union. Before working in the academic world, I held a number of jobs in different industries, organizing a union in one and acting as union shop representative in another. My research and experience has taught me that when unions involve their members in active and democratic locals and advance a broad and forceful program, they can build stronger organizations and win significant victories.
To do my part to strengthen our union, I decided to run for the Executive Board last year. The past year on the board has been a rewarding and challenging experience. Our union made strong arguments for why we deserve transformative changes in our contract. To win such demands, however, we need a strategy to win, one that mobilizes our members, recognizes the power that comes from our essential position in the university, and unites in solidarity with the full-time union. But to get to that point, members need to feel a sense of ownership in their union and become more actively involved on a regular basis. As a member of the Executive Board, I have worked towards those goals, and I am heartened by the new movement among rank-and-file PTLs to build a fighting union. The next two years will be critical to transforming our union in preparation for the next contract battle. I will work vigorously to achieve that transformation.