Our union IS our members. Rank and file members become a union’s elected leaders; members decide the issues to fight for; members determine our union’s vision; members vote on contracts. Membership gives us power: we can get things changed in our workplace.
Rutgers is “management,” we are “labor.” Your work may have very little in common with a steelworker’s; however, the dynamic between boss and employee is all but universal. Workers of every variety need to advocate for themselves to ensure a safe, respectful, and prosperous workplace.
Our dues are an investment in our future. The small dues deduction from our paychecks pays for the contract negotiations, legal representation and organizing that win salary increases (literally a substantial return on your investment). Dues pay for the lawyers and contract enforcement team who protect your job, and for the union staff who help organize events and job actions. Full-time faculty pay only 1% of annual salary, less than most higher ed unions, automatically deducted from bi-weekly paychecks; TAs/GAs pay 0.8% of annual salary; PTLs pay 1.25% of a semester’s wages; and Postdocs pay a mere 0.85% of annual salary. So, for example, a faculty member earning $80,00 per year would pay $30.53 per paycheck; a TA/GA making $29,426 a year would pay $10.85 per paycheck; a PTL 1 paid $5,493 for a 3-credit class would pay $3.21 per paycheck and a Postdoc earning the median salary of $48,500 would pay about $14 per paycheck.
There’s strength–and safety–in numbers. Five disgruntled employees may not get the attention of the university President, but five hundred or two thousand are a force to be reckoned with! Your sibling union members (a group that includes Department Chairs) stand with you when you need support and when you speak your mind.
You, too, can be an activist! Many union members are happy to pay their dues, sign an occasional petition, and vote in the union’s elections. But many want to become more involved. Union membership gives you the opportunity to get involved in many worthy causes, both in the workplace and in the community. Union members support our colleagues; we fight for environmental protection and we challenge social and economic injustice. If you’ve ever wanted to get involved in a social justice issue but didn’t know where to begin, Rutgers AAUP-AFT is an excellent starting point.
We’re all in this together. The old song “Solidarity Forever” asks, “what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one?” Join Rutgers AAUP-AFT and you’ll never have to find out, “for the union makes us strong!”
Ready to join? Click here. Still not ready? Please email Senior Organizer Sherry Wolf for a one-on-one discussion at [email protected] or call the Rutgers AAUP-AFT office at 732-964-1018 to talk about it with one of our friendly organizing team members, Sherry, Jacob, Kathleen, Mark or Emily.