Contract negotiations with Rutgers’ administration have been underway for nearly six months. We are still far apart on wages and the administration continues to reject proposals to provide us the same tuition remission and parking benefits as our Rutgers Legacy counterparts—gains that a majority of members indicated are important. Complicating matters, the administration insists that any wage increase must be “subject to” appropriations by the State Legislature. Rutgers used this provision to justify a wage freeze in 2010 for Rutgers Legacy employees.
We met with management on January 23rd and January 27th and used most of the last session to draft a comprehensive package of non-economic proposals that will be submitted to management at our next session scheduled for Wednesday February 11th. We are attempting to narrow down the outstanding issues so we can focus on the economic proposals. It addresses a myriad of issues including job protections, discipline, Union Rep training and geographical reassignments.
We are in communication with our sister Rutgers unions and closely monitoring developments at their bargaining tables. To date, only one union has settled with the University and the union coalition continues to coordinate our efforts to achieve our common goals.
A Labor Management Committee (LMC) meeting with the union coalition and the administration is scheduled for Tuesday, February 10th. We’ve proposed to discuss “alignment” issues pertaining to the “MOA” and a process for resolving these issues jointly as opposed to one bargaining unit at a time—something the administration so far has opposed.
Later this month, our negotiating committee will be launching a straw poll to help determine our next steps at this stage of our campaign. We want to know what you are willing to fight for and what actions you’ll take to win. There will also be a multi-union rally in Newark on March 10th as part of a final push to settle our contracts. A strong turnout is absolutely necessary if we are to keep up this fight: your attendance at this rally will be crucial. More information will be forthcoming when it becomes available.