June 28, 2022 and we still do not have a contract.
HPAE local 5094 met on 6/28/22 for our fifth session of negotiations with Rutgers University. Our contract is set to expire July 1, 2022.
The University continues to delay productive negotiations at every session we have scheduled. At today’s session, the University did not have any additional responses to the reserved proposals and only presented one proposal on the management side. We presented a proposal on the Preservation of Work which directly speaks to the affiliation between Rutgers and RWJBH.
Our committee took turns speaking directly to administration across the table to express our frustration and disgust with the lack of progress with negotiations. The University attempted to interrupt us and prevent us from speaking but we insisted that we have the floor to represent not only our committee but our membership. We spoke about the struggles all our members are facing with increased costs of everyday items while the University responded by saying passing the contract expiration date is not something to worry about because we have traditionally negotiated for a retroactive raise.
The University continues to move backwards. Their presentation for their proposal on the Grievance process, seeks to strip our membership of contract rights that have been held for decades. The University proposes to eliminate your contract rights to a union representative to only what the law requires. Currently you are protected under the contract to have a union representative in the investigation of a grievance (protected by law), when being issued a discipline, and the University is obligated to inform you of your rights to have a rep there.
What is their reason for this? The University claims that HPAE files too many grievances for the University’s violation of this contract provision. The University’s solution for not following the contract is to eliminate the language and to strip you of your rights. We find that to be completely unacceptable.
In addition, the University’s proposal seeks to eliminate your right to mediate and resolve disciplinary matters directly with your department and departmental supervisor. The University proposes to eliminate the contract language which allows you and your representative to informally discuss grievances. Further, the University seeks to eliminate the first step of the grievance process which is held directly with the department, leaving the only option to file directly with the Office of Labor Relations. We reminded the University the Office of Labor Relations continues to be backlogged with grievances despite numerous meetings for settlements that have resulted in very few cases to be resolved.
Our next virtual session is scheduled for July 15 at 10am. We continue to have a strong showing from our general membership, and we encourage everyone to continue to attend when possible. We are meeting as a caucus prior to the session at 9:30am and are inviting all members in good standing to attend. Please register for the pre-meeting at this link.
You should not be on work time during your attendance at the session. We are asking for a commitment of 1 hour to show Rutgers we stand behind our committee in solidarity. You can use either your personal or Rutgers device to log into the sessions.
Our Contract Action team has developed a petition to show support to the negotiations team and to compel Rutgers to come to the table for constructive negotiations that will result in a new contract. Please click on the link below to sign the petition and show solidarity with your negotiations team.
HPAE 5094 Negotiations Committee – Justin O’Hea, Ryan Novosielski, Ana Delgado, Philip Wilson, Fatima Meadows, Jennifer Hunt, Kerry Butch, Christina Rozario, Dana LaClair, Charles Jackson, Saleena Ghanny, Susan Fenker, Robin Covington, Isabel Arroyo, and Mayra Barreto