Thursday, April 18, 2019

Rutgers Faculty reach deal to avoid strike

NorthJersey.com reports that a deal was struck late Tuesday night between Rutgers Universtiy and the AAUP-AFT which represents 4,800 tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty, and graduate and teaching assistants members. While still needing to be ratified by the AAUP-AFT membership, the deal manages to avoid the first strike in Rutgers' history.

The deal is historic in establishing equal pay for equal work for female faculty on the university's Newark and Camden campuses, a guarantee, enforced by binding arbitration, of a workplace free of harassment and stalking, intellectual freedom extended to social media, $20million for diversity hiring, and a revision to Rutger's policies opening the door for the university to sponsor non-tenure-track faculty for permanent residency. The new agreement will also raise pay significantly for graduate workers.

AAUP-AFT was also pushing for more full-time faculty a guarantee of a $15 minimum wage for student workers, it is unclear where the final contract lands one these demands.

AAUP-AFT members voted last month by 88% to authorize a strike if an agreement could not be reached. While this contract managed to avoid this strike, the union had begun training members to lead picket lines and had printed strike placards in preparation. According to NJ.com, it is not clear how a strike would have impacted the school right before finals, graduation, and the end of the spring semester as the university had not announced contingency plans.

Rutgers still has contract negotiations with 16 unions, including one representing 3,000 part time adjuncts, which have members who have been working without contracts since last fall.

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