Rutgers University’s unionized employees are working without contracts, following the expiration of a June 30 deadline for reaching an agreement on new pacts.
David Hughes, vice president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT faculty union and a professor of anthropology, said no labor unit yet has signed a new contract and employees are working under terms of their expired pacts.
“That is 20,000 workers without contracts,” Hughes said. “The tangible effect is we are on an informal salary freeze. The non-material effect is we are now working without the usual respectful negotiation between managers and workers. Management has not even responded in writing to some of our most pressing proposals such as affordable tuition, new faculty and teaching assistant positions, gender and race equity among the faculty, and a tenure track for teaching intensive faculty.”
Employees represented by the AAUP-AFT also are seeking a minimum pay of $15 per hour for all Rutgers employees. No immediate work stoppage is expected.
“This would be an inopportune moment to strike because most of our work takes place in the spring and fall,” Hughes said. “The most powerful tool we have is to withdraw our work unless they provide a contract. That is the way our members will be thinking in the fall. If we strike, it would be to provide the best possible learning environment for our students.”
Rutgers spokeswoman Dory Devlin said negotiations are ongoing and all issues related to employee contracts will be discussed. She declined to confirm that Rutgers employees are operating under terms of the earlier contracts.