Takeaway: Please join us for the #March4RLivesRJobsRSchools this Saturday, September 26, at 3 p.m. in New Brunswick (meet outside Lincoln Annex School at 165 Somerset). This will be a masked, united action alongside students, other unions, and our community allies. Sign up to pledge to march here and ask colleagues and friends to do the same. Share our posts on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word, and if you can’t make it to New Brunswick, tune in at the union Facebook page for livestreams, pictures, and more.
We saw another stark example this week of the maximum pain Rutgers management is capable of inflicting for minimal and totally unnecessary financial gain. Even as the New Jersey legislature took up budget legislation that fully reverses threatened cuts to higher education, our colleagues among staff administrators in SAS were plunged into fear that they would be the next university workers to be laid off in the middle of a pandemic.
This is also a stark example of why we have to raise our voices. Our colleagues are telling SAS we will not to be complicit in these layoffs. And this Saturday at 3pm, our union is joining with Rutgers students, other unions, and the community for a masked, physically distanced #March4RLivesRJobsRSchools, Saturday at 3 p.m. in New Brunswick (gather outside Lincoln Annex School at 165 Somerset). We ask you to come out and join us if you can—and if you can’t, help us spread the word.
We wrote to you earlier this week about the nearly $100 million in restored funding that our unions and our allies secured through long hard work of reaching out to elected representatives and state officials. This scarce piece of good news makes management’s latest threatened layoffs all the more disgusting. Last week, we and other unions in our coalition began hearing about a plan of the SAS Dean’s office to “restructure” staff admins assigned to departments and programs, creating an impersonal centralized system and laying off 15 to 20 current staff.
This is a recipe for chaos. These are the people who make our departments run—yet we’re told management wants to get rid of or transfer people who are essential to all of us doing our jobs. The budget news from Trenton dispels the last shreds of the excuse that the university needs to tighten its belt. But if the administration wants to save, at most, $2 million from these layoffs, why don’t they take a hard look at their own bloated ranks?
At a joint town hall meeting held Wednesday night by URA-AFT, AFSCME Local 1761, and our members in SAS-NB, we heard from a URA member in an administration office who has already received a layoff notice after many years working at Rutgers. She spoke powerfully about what it’s like going to work and knowing the administrators she saw every day—people whose families she knows—ordered her firing. “Nineteen years of my life are gone,” she said. “This is such a huge blow to me. I just don’t understand how all this can happen.”
We can’t tolerate this—and we won’t. Our members are telling the dean’s office that we will not name names and help them identify staff admins to fire, as they requested. Our union will stand with URA and AFSCME 1761 in fighting these cruel and entirely unnecessary layoffs.
Management’s excuses for layoffs and cutbacks are vanishing fast. They have the money to stop all layoffs and reinstate the more than 1,000 workers who have lost their jobs so far; to extend graduate funding and deadlines; to abandon plans to demolish Lincoln Annex; to stand for racial equity and climate justice in deeds and not only words; and to settle contracts with medical faculty and other Rutgers unions that are more than two years overdue.
These are the demands of this Saturday’s #March4RLivesRJobsRSchools. Please join us if you can; we will gather at 165 Somerset in New Brunswick at 3 p.m. If you can’t, join the march virtually by following our Facebook page for livestreams and more. This is our first chance in many months to make a united show of our commitment to changing the future of Rutgers. We hope to see you there.
Todd and Becky
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rutgers AAUP-AFT Facebook page: https://facebook.com/RUaaup/
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @ruaaup
Find the latest messages to members and union statements here.
Read how Rutgers AAUP-AFT is confronting the crisis here.