Rutgers professors hold rally to demand new contract, pay increase
Professors at all three campuses of Rutgers University rallied on Tuesday to make it known that they have been without a contract for six months.
The teachers spoke out against the way they say they have been treated by administrators.
“We will not stand by while they offer us pay cuts and layoffs, and then call our missed milestones and delayed graduations a personal failure,” said one demonstrator.
They also say they do not like the current pace of contract negotiations.
“They say they want solutions, but for five months they have said ‘No’ to every single one of our solutions,” said one teacher.
The faculty says they want cost-of-living adjustments, more pay relative to inflation and equal pay for equal work. They say this is especially true for graduate workers who make about $30,000 per year for teaching full-time while also researching.
“Currently my class is 75 students. I am paid $5,700 for the class,” says graduate teacher Ihsan Al-Zouabi. “Adjuncts don’t get health benefits or any other sort of benefits.”
Equal pay for equal work also refers to the disparity in pay between teachers depending on the campus where they work. While a teacher at Rutgers Newark or Camden is making one salary figure, the same teacher at the New Brunswick campus is making more money.
“They agreed to in the last contract equity pay system for Camden and Newark employees to make sure their salaries are equivalent to the other campus it has not happened,” says Kyle Riismandel, director of the American Studies program.
A spokesperson for the university said in a statement, “We continue to negotiate in good faith and on a regular basis with Rutgers' unions. All mandatorily negotiable issues related to those employee contracts will be discussed at the negotiating table with the appropriate bargaining team representatives from the administration and the unions.”
The staff says that if a decision is not reached soon, they may strike. They say that they want a new contract before the next Rutgers Board of Governors meeting in February.