Takeaway: Please vote on the dues increase ballot coming soon from Election Runner so that we can continue to organize and win gains for faculty and grads in the years to come. We are proposing a dues increase from the current rate of 0.75% to 1.0% for full-time faculty and from 0.6% to 0.8% for teaching and graduate assistants. Vote will be open from Monday, May 6-Tuesday, May 14.
The last year has been a momentous one for our union. In June, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Janus case, a case intended to undermine unions and the supporters of public education. As expected, this decision hurt us financially. Previously, faculty and graduate workers who were not union members paid a fair share of dues for the benefits they received. The Janus decision excused non-members from paying, even as they continue to receive the benefits. This billionaire-funded anti-union ploy, combined with subsequent free-riding, has undercut our revenue dramatically. Though hundreds of full- and part-time faculty and grads have opted to join since the Janus decision, many remain non-members.
Our approach to this challenge was to demonstrate the importance of our union to the lives of all faculty and grads. We mounted the most ambitious and successful contract campaign in the history of our union and settled a contract that advances academic freedom and protects us from sexual harassment. We secured pay equity provisions and pay increases for all full-time faculty and grads, and we continue to work with the state to reduce the cost of our health care premiums as well. We have built on decades of work and taken our union several steps forward.
In order to keep doing this work and to build on these successes, the Executive Council (EC) voted unanimously to recommend an increase to our dues. At 0.75% of salary, we currently pay the lowest union dues of any faculty union of which we are aware. The EC would like to raise the rate for full-time faculty from 0.75% to 1% of salary and from 0.6% to 0.8% for grads. This proposal would place us in line with, or lower than, the dues rate of our unionized peers and will allow us to enforce our new contract terms and continue to fight for equity, security and dignity for all. Our PTL chapter, for example, collects 1.25% in dues from PTLs to do its very important work.
What do other faculty union members pay?
University of Vermont – 1.0% of salary
University of Florida – 1.0% of salary
Temple University – 1.1% of salary (tenured) and 0.85% of salary (untenured)
University of Michigan, Non- Tenure Track Faculty – 1.6 % of salary
University of Oregon – 1.1% of salary
Montclair State University – 1% of salary
SUNY, The State University of New York – 1% of salary
CUNY, City University of New York – 1.05% of salary
Why is a dues increase necessary?
The proposed increase allows us to build on and implement the provisions negotiated in our new contract. This work includes:
- Utilizing the new equity provisions and securing pay increases for faculty through the new equity process.
- Ensuring that non-tenure track faculty receive the job security and promotion opportunities to which they are entitled.
- Holding the university accountable for diversifying the faculty through the $20 million hiring initiative for which we campaigned.
- Enforcing doctoral students’ rights to full assistantships, rather than adjunct or hourly appointments prior to advancing to candidacy.
- Counseling and representing junior faculty in their quest for tenure and ensuring that all faculty receive access to fair promotion procedures.
- Providing effective representation to protect academic freedom.
- Negotiating over Infosilem to ensure that faculty needs, including research, advising and child care, are recognized in course scheduling.
Our new contract is historic. Now is the time to implement and enforce the important new rights we have secured, and to continue to advocate for a university that serves its students by providing high quality education. Our current dues rate has been at the same level for 11 years.
- Our members last approved a 0.10% dues increase in 2008.
- For the faculty member earning the average current salary this increase amounts to about $11 per pay period.
- Membership dues are calculated on our base salary only, not summer salary.
While we were able to secure our ambitious new contract with dues much lower than those of our peers, we did this by relying on the reserves we had built up over time, and on extraordinary extra effort by our union staff and leadership. This dues increase provides us with resources at a similar level to our peer unions and will allow us to build on and implement our bold new contract, with a stable and secure financial foundation to support our work.
On behalf of the elected officers and the unanimous recommendation of the Executive Council, we encourage you to vote yes on the dues increase. Look out for the Election Runner ballot coming later today.
Deepa, David, Becky and Rob
Deepa Kumar, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
David M. Hughes, VP, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Treasurer, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rob Scott, Secretary, Rutgers AAUP-AFT