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RBHS faculty union pushes for parental leave policy

<p>&nbsp;Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) signed a piece of legislation with the aim to expand paid family leave for workers in New Jersey.</p>

 Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) signed a piece of legislation with the aim to expand paid family leave for workers in New Jersey.

The American Association of University Professors Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey (AAUP-BHSNJ) released a new advertisement to urge the University to establish a parental leave policy for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) faculty, according to a press release. 

Diomedes Tsitouras, executive director of AAUP-BHSNJ, said scientists, clinicians and physicians at RBHS are not given the same benefits as faculty within the other schools at Rutgers, according to the release. 

“Rutgers health science faculty are the only Rutgers faculty without a parental leave policy,” Tsitouras said in the release.

The ad features Yarrow Willman-Cole, who works with both New Jersey Citizen Action, a social justice organization, and New Jersey Time to Care Coalition, an organization advocating for paid family leave. 

“Paid parental leave is really critical for improving the health outcomes for babies, moms and the family overall,” William-Cole said in the ad. 

Dr. Catherine Monteleone, president of AAUP-BHSNJ, said in the ad that medical professionals understand better than anyone the importance of taking time off for parenting.

“This is what we tell our patients all the time, and we want the same benefits for ourselves,” Monteleone said. 

The ad is part of a larger campaign by AAUP-BHSNJ to reform policies at Rutgers to help faculty, students and patients, according to the release. They said large pay inequality between administrators and faculty as well as the high rate of student debt for RBHS students show that the administration must reevaluate its priorities.

The Daily Targum reported earlier this semester that the AAUP-BHSNJ has been deadlocked in its contract negotiations with the University. Since the union’s members work as medical professionals as well as professors, they are not able to pressure Rutgers with actions such as a strike. 

Dory Devlin, a University spokesperson, said negotiations between AAUP-BHSNJ and Rutgers are ongoing.  

“Mandatorily negotiable terms and conditions of employment will be discussed at the negotiating table with the appropriate bargaining team representatives from the administration and the union,” Devlin said. 

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