June 17, 2019 | 78° F

Teachers union plans protest for Board of Governors meeting on Thursday

Photo by Rutgers.edu |

David Hughes (second to right) says equal pay was an issue the union had been fighting for over a year. Faculty in departments within the School of Arts and Sciences across New Brunswick, Camden and Newark have very different salaries despite holding the same job.

On Dec. 6, members of Rutgers' American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) faculty union will picket the University’s Board of Governors meeting as contract negotiations approach their 10th month unsettled. 

On the University’s Newark and Camden campuses, faculty are embattled in their own fight for equal pay. Last month, more than 200 faculty members, staff and students picketed Rutgers—Newark in support of pay equity across all University campuses, according to Patch Newark

Despite the fact that their New Brunswick counterparts currently earn more, David Hughes, vice president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT and professor in the Department of Anthropology, said this is an issue the Union has been fighting for a long time. 

“We have, for almost a year now, articulated our demands … We are fighting for wage increases and also corrections,” he said. "AAUP demands Rutgers fix the wages of faculty that are underpaid compared to their peers."

Results of a salary study conducted by AAUP found women at Rutgers—New Brunswick were paid 2.1 percent less than men, and those on the non-tenured track were paid 5.4 percent less than men. This gender gap was only found at New Brunswick, not Camden or Newark.

Hughes said faculty in comparable departments — in this case the School of Arts and Sciences — make approximately 20 percent less at Rutgers—Camden than New Brunswick, and 10 percent between Newark and New Brunswick. 

This mainly applies to tenured and tenure-track faculty. Non-tenured faculty are paid per class on a semesterly basis, and comprise a large portion of current undergraduate faculty. It is due to this that they are among those most affected by contract negotiations and have virtually no job security come mid-December.

“Many people in my position (tenured faculty) are kind of like frogs in boiling water, where it gets hotter and hotter and hotter and eventually you are safe to the point that you are either going to jump out of the pot or die. Faculty are getting to that point,” Hughes said. 

Faculty have been worked under expired contracts since March. This does not mean faculty are without a contract or pay, but that the terms of new contracts have yet to be agreed on. Any raises and unissued pay is retroactive from the time both parties settle on a contract to the end of the previous contracts. 

At a University Senate meeting earlier this semester, President Robert L. Barchi said Rutgers settled with two unions — nine percent of the unionized workforce and, at the time, hoped negotiations would end soon, according to The Daily Targum

Hughes said 2 out of 24 contracts have been settled, and approximately 90 percent remain. 

“We are owed a response, we have been asking for a response on this since May. We thought we were going to get it yesterday (Nov. 29), but at the last minute, they said it’s not ready … So this is why we’re a bit at the end of our rope,” he said. 

Christian Zapata

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