We held our third negotiations session with Rutgers management on October 7th. Here’s how things stand:
We want fair wages: Our initial proposals call for an average of 6% annual raises through a combination of across the board increases and step movements. Rutgers management has still not made a wage proposal.
We want parity with Rutgers legacy employees: We’ve proposed tuition remission for employees and their dependents as well as reduced parking costs and increased sick days. Rutgers wants a give back on vacation time. They said no to increased sick time and we are still awaiting their official proposals on parking and tuition.
We want job security: We’ve worked for years to win contract language that protects seniority in the event of a layoff and we want to protect those rights and improve them. We also want further protection from subcontracting. Rutgers wants to gut our seniority rights. They’ve proposed elimination of bumping and to make layoffs based on evaluations instead of seniority.
We have many other items on the table including proposals regarding union rights and grievance procedures that would strengthen our ability to enforce the contract.
We reached some tentative agreements (still pending signature) on a number of “housekeeping” items. Our next session is scheduled for October 24. Management has indicated they may have a wage proposal for the union at that time.
As you may have heard, Rutgers has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) separate from the contract negotiations with three different UMDNJ “Legacy” unions: the Teamsters, the security guards (OPEIU) and the Operating Engineers. The MOA affects a number of issues related to payroll policies, calculation of the daily rate of pay, attendance policy, tuition remission for dependent children only, and changes to the holidays.
Management is pressuring HPAE and other unions to agree to the same MOA. However, we feel the MOA contains a potentially significant economic concession. We are not negotiating in a vacuum. These decisions should be made at the bargaining table and we can’t let them pressure us into making a bad decision by trying to divide us. We want a fair contract now and are ready and able to negotiate the full contract with the University.
Let’s keep the pressure up! Join us next week on October 23rd for a University-wide Day of Action as staff and faculty from different unions throughout Rutgers mobilize for simultaneous lunchtime pickets across multiple Rutgers campuses. We are calling on President Barchi to respect faculty and staff with the fair contracts we deserve. Click here for more information and locations.