Faculty and administration continue to negotiate for fairer contracts
There has been an ongoing dispute between Rutgers American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers and Rutgers University over faculty earning fairer contracts.
But a more nuanced issue within the extended debate between certain members of the faculty and the administration has been the “subject to” clause, a topic that was addressed by David Hughes, a professor in the Department of Anthropology, at a Board of Governors meeting on Dec. 9, according to a previous article in The Daily Targum.
Hughes said a “subject to” clause has been a component of workplace contracts starting from five years ago when faculty members were offered salaries or raises subject to allocation appropriation by the state.
“Would you ever sign a contract or show up to work knowing that your employer could violate that, subject to your employer’s availability of funds? I don’t think so, because that’s not the way businesses operate. That’s not the way adults make agreements with each other,” said Hughes in the previous article.
At the BoG meeting on Dec. 9, Hughes said faculty contract renewal was on the table and the “subject to” clause was being reconsidered again for the new contracts.
“The school reported that it had 700 million in reserves,” Hughes said. “That’s enough to pay all of our aggregate salaries and much more.”
He said many trusted the University to put the clause into effect only if it were on the verge of bankruptcy. He said if that was the case many people would happily take pay cuts and have their salaries withheld.
But in the current climate where the University has not reported bankruptcy, the “subject to” clause is “disrespectful to the staff,” Hughes said.
Sherry Wolf, lead organizer of the AAUP-AFT, said out of everything the group is willing for, the main concern the organization wants changed soon is the “subject to” clause. They are willing to negotiate on everything else, she said.
“We deserve the salaries that were promised to us,” Wolf said. “All we are asking is that we should have normal contracts where we have a strict salary and raises.”
Wolf said AAUP-AFT is not asking for too much or demanding something out of the ordinary by requesting an unchanging salary, yet the school refuses to remove the “subject to” clause.
Lisa Klein, president of AAUP-AFT, believes that in a little more time, they should be able negotiate a contract with Rutgers in which both sides will be content.
“We are currently in negotiations and our member activism is having a positive effect,” Klein said.
She said as an organization, it aims to negotiate fair contracts between the employers and the employees that AAUP-AFT represents.
E.J. Miranda, spokesperson for the University, said Rutgers cares deeply about its employees and are hard at work negotiating fair and reasonable contracts with many of the unions representing Rutgers employees. He believes there should be an agreement between the union and the university soon.
“We are being entirely respectful of the collective bargaining process and the negotiations at the bargaining table,” Miranda said. “We expect the employee unions and the administration’s negotiating team to continue to work in the best interests of the university, its students and the communities we serve.”