Coalition Press Conference: June 4, 3pm
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Members from the coalition of 19 unions at Rutgers, including workers who have received layoff notices, will speak out against the administration’s cruel policy of cutbacks to balance the budget during the COVID-19 crisis at a virtual press conference scheduled for 3 p.m. today via Zoom at this link to be livestreamed on social media.
The press conference will feature renowned Rutgers faculty members Naomi Klein and Donna Murch; officers from unions in the coalition, which represents 20,000 faculty, staff, and health care professionals; and employees and students who will have their lives upended by the university’s decision to choose layoffs over the unions’ people-centered approach to keep the community whole.
At a moment of health and economic crises—and in the midst of a nationwide uprising against racism and poverty—the administration is choosing to fire the most vulnerable campus workers, disproportionately people of color, rather than agree to the unions’ proposal for a humane approach, including their plan for work-sharing furloughs through July that would save jobs and protect the income of all members while saving the university as much as $100 million.
“Rutgers management has terminated our Memorandum of Understanding, having only put one idea on the table in the past month: a two-year suspension of our July 1 raises,” said Todd Wolfson, president of AAUP-AFT, the union representing full-time faculty and graduate employees. “Meanwhile, they have begun to lay off over a thousand of our coworkers who are disproportionately brown and black.”
“We know that these communities have paid the highest price during this pandemic, and now our people-of-color colleagues will be without a job and health insurance. We are stunned by the callous calculation behind these layoffs. At this moment of national reckoning around the structural nature of racism, Rutgers has chosen to be part of the problem and not part of the solution,” said Wolfson.
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Read an op-ed article by Amy Higer, president of the Part-Time Lecturer Faculty Chapter of Rutgers AAUP-AFT.
Read an op-ed article by Rebecca Givan, vice president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT.