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January 24 Contract Bargaining Update: Bargaining Has Stalled, We Need to Talk

Submitted by Sherry Wolf on Sun, 01/27/2019 - 14:46

Takeaway: Please find below a summary chart of our bargaining proposals and management’s less than adequate responses so far. Mark your calendar for chapter meetings the week of Feb. 4 (details below) on all campuses to discuss where we are in bargaining and what we need to do to win a good contract.

Over winter break, the administration’s bargaining team came back to the table with two types of responses: less than adequate or absolutely nothing. They have stonewalled all of our proposals regarding TAs/GAs. They refused to provide more funding to departments to increase the number of TA/GA lines (as well as Tenure Track lines); moreover, they blamed the drift to adjunctification on the faculty rather than on their economic model. Compared to our Big Ten peers, Rutgers-NB has by far the highest number of adjuncts/PTLs, the second-lowest number of Tenured and Tenure Track Faculty, and the lowest number of supported graduate students. These are the priorities of a corporate university: defunding research and teaching while spending on high salaries for coaches and administrators and their golden parachutes.

Like a corporation, Barchi’s team refuses to bargain when faculty and grads are in attendance at our open bargaining sessions. They have stated in no uncertain terms that observers are not welcome. They want small group bargaining because they cannot look so many union members in the eye and defend their indefensible proposals. We, however, will continue to be transparent, accountable and democratic (see the chart below for a summary bargaining update).

Our faculty and grad department representatives met over the break to work out a plan of action over the Spring and we will be sending you a non-binding anonymous poll with a list of escalating actions—from civil disobedience to a strike authorization vote—designed to put pressure on the administration. Distinguished Professors Michael McKeon and Nick Belkin explained it all to the Board of Governors in December: when faculty are not treated with respect, we are driven to demonstrate how important we are to the university by withholding our work. A strike authorization vote expresses in no uncertain terms that we will not accept an unfair contract. Clearly, we have a lot to talk about so please prioritize attending your local chapter meeting.

RSVP to for Chapter meetings:
New Brunswick: Tuesday Feb 5, 10:30am–12:30pm, 11 Stone St., our union
Newark: Wed, Feb 6, 2:30-3:50 pm, Location TBD
Camden: Thursday, Feb 7, 12:45-2:00pm, Location TBD

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