Bargaining Update for Rutgers University: August 24, 2022, and we still do not have a contract - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Bargaining Update for Rutgers University: August 24, 2022, and we still do not have a contract

HPAE local 5094 arrived on 8/24/22 for our tenth session of negotiations with Rutgers University. Our contract expired July 1, 2022.

We called for our membership to support the negotiations efforts and our membership came through at today’s session. We had over 70 people log into our caucus space and 40 were able to move to the Rutgers Zoom session. Instantly the University reacted to this show of solidarity between the general membership and the bargaining unit. We need to keep up this pressure.

It is now more important than ever to get involved and support your negotiations team. We need to you to collectively show Rutgers you stand behind our team. Click the link below to sign the petition and show solidarity with your negotiations team.

We were scheduled to bargain for a successor agreement on August 24, 2022, from 10am-1pm. We received a call from Rutgers (Abdel Kanan, Rutgers Labor Relations) stating the session would begin at 10:30am and the University would present a wage counter. We informed the University that a grievance counter proposal as well as a remote work proposal were still being reviewed and both parties agreed to meet for the University to present the wage counter proposal.

Our bargaining team and about 40 general members entered the virtual Zoom negotiations room, and the University instantly requested a caucus and questioned the bargaining team for Local 5094. We explained that the negotiations team had not changed, and that general membership were in the gallery as in the previous 8 sessions. Abdel Kanan then stated the University would not talk to so many people and the University then attempted to enter a breakout room to caucus. When that did not happen, the Rutgers negotiation team left the Zoom link entirely to caucus.

Mr. Kanan later called and stated the University would not be returning to the bargaining session because of the number of HPAE negotiations unit employees in the negotiations Zoom. We reminded Mr. Kanan that HPAE Local 5094 has been practicing open bargaining throughout these negotiation sessions without complaint or concern from the University. We also reminded him that our local practiced open negotiations in previous negotiations sessions for prior contracts without objection from Rutgers or UMDNJ before that. He dared HPAE to file PERC charges and then he hung up the phone.

We called him back to continue the discussion and clarify if Rutgers planned to return to the session. We reminded him that Rutgers and HPAE discussed attendance in the June 15, 2022, session, and the University very clearly stated “HPAE does not dictate who comes to our bargaining sessions” to which we replied, “the University does not dictate who comes to our bargaining sessions either.” It was mutually decided that either party may bring who they want/need to the table.

Mr. Kanan again dared HPAE 5094 to file PERC charges on the University’s decision to walk out of the virtual room and refused to bargain today due to the number of negotiations unit employees in the room. We do intend to file Unfair Labor Practice charges for refusal to bargain which will add to the current charges filed for failure to provide information (information we still currently do not have) and failure to provide bargaining dates. He then hung up again.

Our next virtual session is scheduled for Thursday, September 8 at 10:30am. In the 8/24 session we showed the University they are negotiating with our entire bargaining unit, and it scared them. We are meeting as a caucus prior to the session at 9:30m and are inviting all members in good standing to attend. You will receive the Zoom link for the negotiation session with Rutgers at the caucus.

This attempt to save face was an act of cowardice as it became obvious in our session that Rutgers is afraid to face our members and negotiate in good faith. We will continue to fight for a fair contract, and we need even more members to show Rutgers we mean business! The University ran away from 2% of our membership at our 8/24 session. Let’s show them we can pack the room and stand behind our team. Rutgers works because we do.

You should not be on work time during your attendance at the session. We are asking for a commitment of up to 1 hour (whatever your lunch/break times are) to show Rutgers we stand behind our committee in solidarity. You can use either your personal or Rutgers device to log into the sessions.

In Solidarity,

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